For nine decades, Our State has made its way into homes across North Carolina, the United States, and the world. To celebrate, every month this year, we’re paying tribute to the readers who inspire us, offering a taste of our earliest recipes, and revisiting old stories with new insights. Follow along to find out how our past has shaped our present.
August 23, 1952 • When motorists traveling during the first half of the 20th century got hungry, roadside tearooms were their best option for a snack. Small dining spots like the Black Beauty Tea Room in Mount Olive — a Green Book destination owned by Black proprietors during segregation — were often close to gas stations and offered small bites, like these pie crust cookies.
Yield: 2 to 3 dozen cookies.
1 (2-roll) box refrigerated pie crust 1½ cups light brown sugar 2 large eggs 1½ cups pecans, chopped 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Thaw pie dough according to package instructions.
Place pie dough rounds on a lightly floured surface.
Mix together sugar, eggs, pecans, and vanilla. Spoon mixture on top of pie dough rounds, making sure to spread to the edges.
Using hands, roll each pie dough round into a log and cover with plastic wrap, twisting at both ends
to seal. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, up to overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375°.
Remove plastic from dough logs. Slice logs into ½-inch thick rounds, and place slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. Once cool, cut off excess sugar around the edges or keep for a more rustic look.
October 10, 1936 • This recipe was featured in the recurring column “Merely a Woman’s Opinion,” which, on this date, followed a rave review of the new novel Gone with the Wind. The original recipe suggests serving these squares at afternoon tea with coffee and cheese straws.
Yield: 20 squares.
¾ cup vegetable shortening 1½ cups light brown sugar 3 large eggs 3 tablespoons orange marmalade Zest from 2 oranges ½ teaspoon vanilla extract 2½ cups all-purpose flour 3 teaspoons baking powder ½ cup pulp-free orange juice Powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Using an electric or stand mixer, cream the shortening and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and continue mixing on medium speed. Add the marmalade, orange zest, and vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.
Add the dry ingredients to the shortening mixture, alternating with the orange juice.
Pour batter into prepared dish and bake for 40 minutes or until edges turn light brown. Let cool for 10 minutes, then cut into squares. Once squares have cooled completely, dust with powdered sugar.
November 18, 1944 • The original recipe recommends pairing these tea scones, a twist on the classic tea cake, with cream cheese sandwiches and Russian tea. Russian tea began appearing in Southern cookbooks in the early ’20s and was generally served with a slice of lemon and a maraschino cherry.
Yield: 8 scones.
2 cups all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons granulated sugar 1 teaspoon salt 4 teaspoons baking powder 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening ½ to ¾ cup whole milk 1 large egg, lightly beaten ½ cup raspberry jam Powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 400°.
Sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Cut the shortening into the dry mixture with a pastry cutter or two forks.
In a separate bowl, mix together the milk and egg. Add milk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix to form a wet dough.
Place dough on a floured surface. Lightly roll out dough to ⅛-inch thick. Cut out 3-inch rounds and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Place a small dollop of jam into center of each and fold over like a pocketbook roll (like you’re closing a book). Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Dust with powdered sugar while scones are hot. Serve warm or at room temperature.
June 5, 1937 • In the early 20th century, women often gathered for tea — either with friends in their homes and gardens or at tearooms — since, at the time, being seen at a restaurant as an unaccompanied woman could damage one’s reputation. Small sandwiches filled with a handful of ingredients were often served with tea, and in warmer weather, a cool, refreshing punch was a welcome addition.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings.
1 cup grapefruit juice 1 cup pineapple juice 1 cup orange juice 1 cup lemon juice 1 quart ginger ale, chilled
Mix juices in a large pitcher or punch bowl and refrigerate. Just before serving, add ginger ale.
Yield: 6 to 8 finger sandwiches.
½ cup mayonnaise 1 tablespoon ketchup 2 stalks celery, finely diced 3 tablespoons sweet onion, finely diced ¼ cup pecans, chopped 4 slices thin white bread, crust removed
Mix together mayonnaise, ketchup, celery, onion, and pecans. Spread mixture on 2 slices of bread and top with remaining slices. Lightly press. Cut into thirds or quarters. Serve immediately.
One of the last old-school fish houses in Onslow County stands sentry on the White Oak River. Clyde Phillips Seafood Market has served up seafood and stories since 1954 — an icon of the coast, persevering in pink.