The Month of Their Ripening by Georgann Eubanks
UNC-TV's NC Bookwatch, with host D.G. Martin, airs Sundays at 11:00 am and Tuesday at 5:00 pm. You can also find Bookwatch episodes online at UNCTV.org. This week's guest is NC travel and food writer, Georgann Eubanks. From host D.G. Martin:
In each of the 12 monthly chapters of Georgann Eubanks’ recent book, The Month of Their Ripening: North Carolina Heritage Foods through the Year, she identifies a North Carolina heritage food that ripens or is seasonally available in that month.
In the February chapter Eubanks writes about goat milk; in March, shad; April, ramps; May, soft shell crabs; June, serviceberries; July, cantaloupes; August, figs; September, scupperrnongs; October, apples; November, persimmons; December, oysters;
What about January? Her January favorite food is snow and she quickly persuades that snow really is a food and a perfect choice. She explained simply, "In January there is little else in nature that presents itself to us that we can eat. Snow, however, is a dessert that literally falls from the sky, and when it does, North Carolinians… declare it a party."
She continues, "For North Carolinians, the ritual of making snow cream from the simplest ingredients—sugar, snow, vanilla, and cream—evokes a particular place and time for many of us."
Before the chapter ends Eubanks delves into history of snow and ice treats as far back as Alexander the Great and Nero. She warns us about the potential risks of snow contaminated by air pollution. She shares recipes from her friends and describes the debate about how many eggs, if any, and what kind of cream or evaporated milk is best to use.
In every one of the following eleven chapters Eubanks gives its month’s heritage food a warm, entertaining, and informative write-up.
Telling the stories of twelve North Carolina heritage foods, each matched to the month of its peak readiness for eating, Georgann Eubanks takes readers on a flavorful journey across the state. She begins in January with the most ephemeral of southern ingredients--snow--to witness Tar Heels making snow cream.