The Making of an Issue: How Sweet It Is!

Want to know more about our February issue? Continue reading for details and insights on our stories that you may not find in the pages of the magazine. Enjoy!

Newsletter background FEB 2012

We met recipe developer, personal chef, and Franklin County native Wendy Perry at a food judging competition at the North Carolina State Fair two years ago. She won a blue ribbon for her homemade ketchup. We were intrigued — who makes their own ketchup? — and we were impressed by Wendy’s resourcefulness and inventive approach to food. When we decided to create five custom North Carolina cakes for our issue devoted to desserts in North Carolina, we couldn’t imagine anyone more suited to the challenge than Wendy. She enlisted the help of baker and Wilson County resident Teresa Williford, and the two women set to work, imagining what North Carolina would taste like if you could capture it in a cake. During the final tasting, the results blew us — and the entire Our State staff — away. We hope you’ll try our recipes, and let us know what you think by emailing

We loved John Murawski’s profile of one of our favorite places, The Regulator Bookshop in Durham. Did you know that, for years, The New York Times has relied on The Regulator’s list of top sellers to help compile its national best-seller list? What Regulator customers buy and read helps define the nation’s cultural, political, and intellectual mood.

Last spring, editor Elizabeth Hudson visited an aerostat facility in Elizabeth City. When TCOM’s safety and training coordinator Steve Chalker opened the doors to the hangar, he said, “Now, don’t fall over. Nothing prepares you for what you’re about to see.” He was right. Fully inflated blimps tethered inside the hangar made an 18-wheeler semi-trailer truck look like a toy. Elizabeth was so impressed with the facility and its history, she sent five-time Pulitzer Prize nominee Earl Swift to experience the place and write about it for our readers. His account, in this month’s Tar Heel History, is a fascinating look at a place most North Carolinians don’t even know exists.

When visitors picnic under the live oak in Wilmington’s Airlie Gardens, they carry on a social legacy a century in the making. In the late 1800s, Sarah and Pembroke Jones, who called their mansion Airlie, lived to entertain. They organized lavish parties and even provided decadent party favors for their guests: gold watches for men and diamond jewelry for women. The whirlwind of parties and extravagence led to the expression, “keeping up with the Joneses.”

Writer Sandy Lang and photographer Peter Frank Edwards set out on the road for a statewide tour of sweet shops for our “Baker’s Dozen” feature. In mid-travel, Sandy reported back to Our State: “Have you ever had lunch at the Rosebriar? Some of the cream pies have two or three inches of meringue on top!” We think Sandy found the assignment worthwhile.

Our State

About Our State

Since 1933, Our State has shared stories about North Carolina with readers both in state and around the world. We celebrate the people and places that make this state great. From the mountains to the coast, we feature North Carolina travel, history, food, and beautiful scenic photography.
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5 Responses to The Making of an Issue: How Sweet It Is!

  1. Anne Stewart says:

    Congratulations to Wendy Perry and Teresa Williford for five awesome innovative cake ideas. Nobody in our house will be losing any weight becuse I’m planning to bake all five. After reading Tommy Tomlinson’s article though, we’ll probably start with our favorite banana pudding recipe.

    • Wendy Perry says:

      Hi Anne,

      Thanks bunches for your kind words! It was a lot of fun working on these recipes and sharing familiar tastes and food traditions of my beloved NC with the readers of Our State.

      …from my kitchen to yours,

  2. Char Murphy says:

    Look forward to reading the February issue!
    January’s is marvelous, starting with the cover photo. My husband was a thru hiker on the AT and your pictures of the trail brought back many memories of “Grandpa Jim’s” hike and my role as his sherpa!

  3. Robin N. Stokes says:

    This is a short note to tell you how much we enjoy Our State in our home. My husband is in` prision for a white collar crime and I knew how much he enjoyed reading it when it came in the mail so I have sent the magazine to him. It is a real hit, they recycle and many look forward to the next issue and have many great things to say. The boys from NC really like a good slice of home. Thanks for helping make my husband feel a little better while he pays his debt to society in West Virginia. (please correct my spelling)

  4. Betty Hinkle says:

    I love Our State (and the magazine too) Look forward to receiving it each and every month..

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