A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

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

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

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

Cabbage Concoction

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.


All hail Ham and Faye Matthews, North Carolina cabbage’s best-known — and perhaps only known — ambassadors. In 1985, the Harnett County couple stirred the proverbial pot with Faye’s creative concoction of cabbage and, ahem, New Coke — pure blasphemy in the state that birthed Pepsi-Cola, but we’ll excuse it this time.

As usual, necessity was the mother of this invention. On July 17, 1985, Faye was preparing a pot of cabbage and needed to add liquid, but her foot was in a cast from an accident three months earlier, and the faucet was all the way across the kitchen. To avoid antagonizing her injury, she grabbed the nearest liquid she could find — a bottle of New Coke — and dumped it into the pot.

Not only did the soft drink eliminate the cabbage’s signature scent, but it also gave it an enhanced, fizzy flavor — the best cabbage that Ham had ever eaten, he claimed. “A good pot of cabbage with not a burp in the pot,” he told The State in January 1986.

Faye dubbed her creation “Mountain Caviar,” and the couple began traveling across North Carolina and Virginia, touting the cabbage-and-Coke recipe. Their pro-cabbage propaganda even earned them a letter of commendation from the state’s then-Agriculture Commissioner Jim Graham, who praised their “superb efforts” as cabbage connoisseurs.

Of course, you can’t buy New Coke anymore, but Faye’s cabbage recipe would most certainly work with another soft drink. Perhaps Pepsi — we are North Carolina ambassadors, after all.

This story was published on Jun 27, 2023

Jimmy Tomlin

Tomlin has been a features writer and columnist for the High Point Enterprise since 1990. His writing has won numerous state, regional, and national awards.