Winter White Velvet Cake

Winter White Velvet Cake

January has me thinking “winter whites.” So I tweaked my GrandMa Perry’s Red Velvet Cake a little into this White Velvet version… served on my mama’s cake stand. I like to make it a day ahead and chill for cake to “ripen” and let all the flavor bloom and cake to moisten from the frosting.

Published in Carolina Country Magazine January 2020

A few months ago when creating recipes for the January issue of Carolina Country Magazine, my mind was thinking…  “Winter Whites.”  I strive to create 3 recipes that are a variety… not all sides, or sweets or main dishes.  And of course in January, we’re snuggled in from the chills of winter outside… in recovery mode from the holidaZe…  longing for stick-to-your-ribs comforting foods.  Hearty foods.  With something sweet and decadent to enjoy in our pajamas after supper and a long day getting back into the groove at work.

This month, I created an Eastern North Carolina BBQ Sauce Gravy… well, because what is more comforting that g.r.a.v.y.?  And for my friends who don’t eat much or any meat, a soothing creamy Roasted Turnip, Leek and Pear Buttermilk Bisque. Don’t let the turnips scare you off… they take on a new life when roasted and pair perfectly with the pears.  Stay tuned… I will be sharing those soon!

So what about that “something sweet?” I decided to see what would happen if I took my grandma’s Red Velvet Cake recipe, and made it “white.”  Well low and behold, I did just that with a couple of simple tweaks, and turned out one of the best damn cakes I’ve ever had…. let alone baked, since y’all know I’m the “non-baker” gal.  One of these days I’ll get around to putting Ma Perry’s original Red Velvet Cake recipe here. So for now, you’ll just have to settle on this white version! 

I recommend making it 1-2 days before you want to eat it… to give the butter brushing and creamy frosting some time to marry into the layers and make them more better.  That’s not to say you HAVE to do that… just that it takes the cake to another layer of moister deliciousness.  (Yes, I do make up my own words!) So here you go… maybe the best white cake ever, at least for this gal who isn’t a big sweets eater and would rather have pie than cake!  I think you will find this treat to not be overly sweet… “just enough.”  With moist layers surrounded by fluffy nutty coconutty goodness.

I can hardly wait for you to make it and give your reviews.  Please join us over in my facebook community for that!

Winter White Velvet Cake

A decadent moist cake awaits cutting… butter-brushed layers with creamy traditional Red Velvet Cake frosting but with a special addition of macadamia nuts too! Winter White Velvet Cake… the “new red velvet cake!”


And if you like this recipe, please take 30 seconds to click over to it on the Carolina Country web page and give it some stars!  Thanks bunches…

Winter White Velvet Cake

Ice, snow, whipped cream — January has me thinking “winter whites.” So I tweaked my Grandma Perry’s red velvet cake into this white velvet version and served it on my mama’s cake stand. Make it a day ahead and chill to let the flavors “ripen.”

Course: Dessert, Sweet Treats
Cuisine: American, Southern, Southern Desserts
Author: Wendy Perry
  • 1/2 cup solid coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 5 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup macadamia nuts, chopped (toss with ½ teaspoon salt)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Line three 8" or 9" round cake pans with parchment paper.*

  3. With mixer, cream oil with sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in salt and flour.

  4. Add vanilla and buttermilk to batter. In a small bowl, pour vinegar over soda. After it fizzes, stir and add to batter.

  5. Divide batter into 3 prepared pans. Bake 10–15 minutes until done and the cake separates from sides of pan (time will depend on pan size.) Brush one side of each layer with melted butter.

  6. For frosting, cook flour, milk and vanilla in a double boiler, stirring constantly until thick. Cool. In another bowl, whip sugar and butter at high speed until fluffy. Add cooled, cooked mixture and blend into fluffy frosting.

  7. Frost cake and scatter each layer and top with coconut and nuts.

Recipe Notes

*Either size pan will work. I prefer a 9-inch pan for thinner layers.

Merry & Bright Holiday Cheerwine Punch… with fruit-filled ice ring

Merry & Bright Christmas Cheerwine Punch



Published in Carolina Country Magazine  December 2019
I love North Carolina’s Cheerwine.  I play with it in all sorts of ways, like my Cheery Grilled Corn with Hoop Cheese Crumbles and Bacon Dust!

Cheery Grilled Corn with Hoop Cheese & Bacon Dust











And… I love punch! I especially love Cheerwine’s seasonal holiday punch. (Stock up before it’s gone.

Cheerwine Holiday Punch

Punch is so fun… and in this case, most festive. As a caterer for many years, I liked serving punch because it was one of those things that could be done for bunches at the time with little labor.
(Except the time one of my brides brought quarts of frozen green stuff just before the wedding and my poor mama ’bout killed herself and broke 2 choppers trying to break up that “hard as a rock stuff” up minutes before all those guests were headed for the punch bowl.)

There are so many kinds of punch, and although I enjoy those frothy vintage ones with sherbet floating in the bowl, they just don’t quench one’s thirst, defeating the purpose of something for that.  Many times, I would be given “Aunt So and So’s” fluffy (usually green) punch recipe to make for wedding receptions. I would always have to make sure there were pitchers of water (and extra cups) since, albeit delightful and family tradition, did nothing but makes folks MORE thirsty with all that sugar… buckets of SUGAR!

My goal when creating this delicious sparkly punch was to cover all bases. Something festive but also, not necessitating water because it makes guests “more thirsty!”  And too, I wanted something for all to enjoy… something the host/hostess could fix and let folks serve themselves and not have to fret over so they can enjoy the party too… (see the rest of this menu with my Gingerbread Banana PuddingGingerbread Banana Pudding







and Pork Tenderloin Sheet Pan Supper).Pork Tenderloin Sliders & Sweet Potato Sheet Pan Supper







The beauty of this punch is that it is “all-age friendly.”  But… you can simply sit out some vodka or rum (spiced rum is great!) and let the grown-ups make themselves an adult beverage should they so desire.  Snow Hill’s Covington House Vodka made with local Covington sweet potatoes would be excellent and a personal favorite!  Or if rum is your thing, you won’t go wrong with a splash of Johnston County’s Broadslab Distillery’s oaky Carolina Coast Spiced Rum (my personal FAVE spiced rum)!

Cheerwine’s Holiday Punch is just perfect for this thirst-quenching big bowl of “Cheery, Merry & Bright!”  You can skip the edible gold stars and flecks, but I highly recommend getting some. That can be found at craft stores or ordered online and at your doorstep in a day or two.  I used both gold flecks and stars… and having donated my punch bowls years ago, borrowed one of many available punch bowls and cups from my little rural country church. It’s fun to see all the punch bowls and tubs of punch cups they have tucked away in the equipment closet there in the church annex.  And when I was making this and needed a punch bowl, knew exactly where I would find several to pick from!  

Sooo…. throw yourself a gathering!  And make some of my Merry & Bright Holiday Cheerwine Punch… it will make your table so festive, and let you enjoy your party right along with your guests.  The ice ring can be done days or week ahead of time too… ready to plop into a punch bowl and add the other stuff. 

And from my table to yours…
Merry Christmas.  Happy New Year.
Cheerwine… and Cheers to fun gatherings for you and yours!

Be sure to come on over and join the merriment on my facebook community too!

Merry & Bright Christmas Cheerwine Punch

Having friends over for a holiday supper? No need to fret over multiple beverages … punch to the rescue! Let your imagination loose as exact measurements are not necessary.

Course: Beverages, Drinks
Cuisine: American, North Carolina Goodies
Keyword: Cheerwine, Christmas party, festive, holiday punch, punch
Author: wendy perry
ICE RING (can be made days ahead):
  • bundt pan
  • 1 46 ounce can pineapple juice
  • 1 10 ounce jar cherries with stems, drained and juice reserved
  • Strawberries, pomegranate arils, star fruit, pineapple wedges, cherries, rosemary
  • Edible gold stars and flecks, optional
  • 1 part Holiday Cheerwine Punch*
  • 1 part gingerale
  • 1 part lemon-lime club soda
  • fresh mint
  1. Layer fruits (including cherries) and rosemary stems in the bottom of Bundt pan. Gently pour in pineapple juice just to cover and then freeze. Mix cherry juice with pineapple juice, pour over frozen fruit layer and refreeze. Be sure to freeze as instructed. Most of the fruits will float, so if you pour too much for the first layer, they will be deep in your ring and not show up on top.

  2. Remove ring from freezer about 20 minutes before serving time. Run warm water over Bundt pan to loosen ring. Gently place ring into punch bowl.

  1. Pour Cheerwine, ginger ale and club soda over ring. Garnish with additional star fruit, mint leaves, rosemary, gold stars and flecks.

Recipe Notes
  • Variation: Offer spiced rum on the side for an adult version.

  • *Regular Cheerwine can be used if Holiday Punch is not available.

Pork Tenderloin Sheet Pan Supper with Sweet Potatoes & Caramelized Onions

Pork Tenderloin Sliders & Sweet Potato Sheet Pan Supper


Published in Carolina Country Magazine December 2019

When planning my recipes for the December issue of Carolina Country Magazine, my vision was to create three recipes that would provide a host/hostess with a complete meal for a small Christmas gathering he/she could enjoy and not spend the entire party in and out of the kitchen fixing and replenishing food.

I also wanted the recipes not to be labor intensive and could mostly be done ahead of time.  I’m pretty sure I accomplished all those goals… with a tasty well-rounded meal, each complimenting the other… while featuring a few of my favorite North Carolina products. 

Greet your guests with a beautiful bowl of Merry & Bright Christmas Cheerwine Punch! As noted on the recipe, you can offer some nice rum or vodka for those guests who prefer a “punch” to their punch!  See ideas for some NC rum and vodka over on the Cheerwine post!
Merry & Bright Cheerwine Christmas Punch







Now for the main dish… I used NC pork x 2… with the best bacon on earth, Cheshire pork… from Heritage Farm General Store… and pork tenderloin from my favorite little local grocery store in Louisburg… Moss Foods… slathered both before and during cooking with some Peggy Rose’s pepper jelly! The loins are placed atop a tray full of thinly sliced onions that carmelize in the pork drippings (YUM!) and are surrounded by seasoned NC Sweet Potato wedges… that also get kissed from below by those onion-y porky drippins.  Y’all, I can’t even begin to describe this lusciousness!  This can all be prepared a day or two before your guests are due, ready to pop into the oven and then served right off the tray with a basket of slider rolls for your company to self-serve.

Rounding out this perfect little meal… Gingerbread Banana Pudding!  Gingerbread Banana PuddingJust drop by a local thrift store and grab a cute hinged jar to make this in… details over on that post.


So there you have it! A complete meal that will surely impress your friends… and one that will let you have just as much fun as they will at your party.  

I wish you and yours the merriest Christmas and hoping you have a most blessed season.  Just don’t forget #TheReasonForTheSeason! 

Don’t forget to come over and like my facebook community for recipes and so much more! 

Pork Tenderloin Sheet Pan Supper with Sweet Potatoes & Caramelized Onions

You won't go wrong serving your holiday company this Peggy Rose's pepper jelly glazed-Heritage Farm bacon wrapped NC pork tenderloin.... nestled among seasoned NC Sweet Potatoes!

Course: Main Course, Supper
Cuisine: American, North Carolina Goodies, Southern
Keyword: nc pork, nc sweet potatoes, peggy rose's pepper jelly, sheet pan
Author: Wendy Perry
  • 3-4 small sweet potatoes, washed and dried
  • 2-3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3-4 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2-3 tablespoons oil
  • about 3 pounds pork tenderloin, silver skin removed
  • dried sage
  • cayenne pepper
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt
  • 1/2 cup hot pepper jelly, divided I use Peggy Rose's
  • 12 ounces bacon
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • chopped chives
  1. Slice potatoes lengthwise into wedges. Toss with oil, then add cumin, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss onion rings with oil and scatter on large sheet pan.

  3. Dust tenderloin generously on all sides with sage, peppers and salt. Lay on top of onions.

  4. Warm 2 heaping tablespoons of jelly in microwave for about 15 seconds and spread over tenderloin. Wrap with bacon and dust the bacon with black pepper.

  5. Place potato wedges on onions around pork. Roast for about 35 minutes until pork reaches 140 degrees by thermometer.

  6. Warm remaining jelly with balsamic vinegar and drizzle over pork. Let rest a few minutes before slicing.

  7. Garnish with chopped chives. Slice pork, top with the roasted onions alongside the savory roasted sweet potatoes.

Gingerbread Banana Pudding With Molasses Whipped Cream

Gingerbread Banana Pudding


Published in Carolina Country Magazine  December 2019

Who doesn’t love banana pudding?  Or gingerbread?  Well I thought it was time to share this goodie my catering clients have enjoyed for years… Gingerbread Banana Pudding!

This is such a fun dessert to offer at your Christmas gatherings… or anytime you have a crowd to feed.  All parts n’pieces can be done ahead of time to assemble just before your company rings the doorbell. You can find large hinged jars for a few dollars at your local thrift store… or just put in a glass trifle dish or small punch bowl. Just be sure to put it in a serving dish where folks can see all the delicious layers inside! 

Also included in this issue to round out a workfree party for you, this simple pork dish glazed with Peggy Rose’s Pepper Jelly…

Pork Tenderloin Sliders & Sweet Potato Sheet Pan Supper

Pork Tenderloin Sliders & Sweet Potato Sheet Pan Supper










and this sparkly punch!

Christmas Cheerwine Punch
with fruit-filled ice ring

Merry & Bright Cheerwine Christmas Punch











Sit out with other self-serve goodies so you, the host/hostess, can enjoy your party too!  Make your table festive with what makes your heart happy…. like I did here with my Ma Hocutt’s Christmas apron… one of many she had!
Run outside and snip some (free) greenery… turn on your Christmas tunes, and have FUN!

Be sure to join the festivities at my facebook community too!!

Gingerbread Banana Pudding with Molasses Whipped Cream

This southern favorite with a seasonal twist feeds quite a few folks, can be made ahead, and guests can self-serve. Find a fun, hinged, wide-mouth jar to make it in and wow your company!

Course: Dessert, Fun Food!, Sweet Treats
Cuisine: American, Southern Desserts
Keyword: banana pudding, gingerbread
Author: Wendy Perry
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil, liquified
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1/2 cup self-rising cornmeal mix
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon apple pie spice
  • 2 cups applesauce
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tall can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Molasses Whipped Cream:
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • molasses
  • 5-6 ripe bananas, sliced
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.

  2. Blend together eggs, sugar, molasses, coconut oil and extracts.

  3. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix into wet ingredients a little at the time until well incorporated. Fold in applesauce.

  4. Pour into baking dish. Bake 30–40 minutes, until the surface starts showing cracks. Let cool.

  5. For the pudding, mix all ingredients together and cook in a double boiler, whisking occasionally until thickened. Cool. If pudding is thick, thin a bit with milk as you want it just thin enough to seep down into gingerbread.

  6. For the whipped cream, whip 1 pint of heavy whipping cream to firm peaks. Drizzle with molasses and swirl in with a knife.

  7. Now you are ready for assembly! In a jar or deep dish, loosely layer cubed gingerbread, banana slices, pudding and cream. Repeat, ending with whipped cream.

Molasses Ginger Crinkles

Molasses Ginger Crinkle Cookies


For 5 years, I was House Chef for Our State Magazine. I did do several special projects where my recipes were featured (like my Carolina Cakes!), but the first few years I was in place mostly to prepare recipes chosen by their staff selected from hundreds of cookbooks sent in by readers for their Community Cookbook Series.

This is one of those recipes. Y’all know I’m not all that fond of baking, but wanted to share this recipe from “back in the day” today, on #NationalCookieDay! This recipe originally appeared in Our State in October 2014!  I really love this cookie recipe and it was one out of hundreds I prepared over the years that I have made a few times.  It’s a good basic molasses cookie recipe I think you will enjoy too!  Can’t you just smell them baking now?  Do make some and come tell us what you think over on my facebook community too!

Molasses Ginger Crinkles Recipe

...a perfectly spiced and seasoned crispy little cookie perfect for the Christmas season!

Course: Dessert, Sweet Treats
Cuisine: American, Southern
Keyword: ginger snaps, molasses ginger cookies
Author: Our State Magazine Community Cookbook Series
  • 1 1/2 sticked unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unpacked light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon coffee extract or pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped crystallized ginger

  1. Cream the butter, ½ cup of the granulated sugar, and the brown sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a wooden spoon and beat until light and fluffy.

  2. Slowly add the egg, molasses, and coffee extract, beating well to combine.

  3. Combine the flour, ground ginger, fresh ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in a separate bowl and stir to mix. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat just until combined. Cover the dough with plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight, until firm.

  4. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375˚. Combine the remaining ½ cup granulated sugar and the crystallized ginger in a small shallow bowl and stir to mix. Pinch off small pieces of the dough and roll them into 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in the sugar-ginger mixture to coat evenly and arrange on ungreased baking sheets, spaced about 2 inches apart.

  5. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the edges are set and the center is still soft. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes. Serve warm or transfer to a baking rack to cool completely.

  6. Store in an airtight container until ready to serve, or for up to 3 days.


Apple, Onion and Rosemary Tart with Cinnamon Honey

Apple, Onions & Rosemary TartI love a good tart.  Once I managed to get past letting puff pastry intimidate me and realized how simple it is to use, I’ve created quite a few.  This sweet and savory one was created for my client L&M Companies Produce a while back and is featured on their web page here!

Realizing it’s Apple Pie Day, and this is the closest thing to an apple pie in my repertoire, I decided to share this recipe with you too.  It’s basically a flat open faced apple pie I do suppose.

You can enjoy this as an appetizer, as a side dish, and pairs nicely with a salad for lunch. Or as an adventurous and outside-the-box dessert with coffee too.

I hope you will make this tart… and will come over to my facebook community where we’ll chat about this and all sorts of other goodies too.

Apple, Onion & Rosemary Tart

...a delightful sweet and savory tart to enjoy as an appetizer, side, with salad for brunch or as an outside-the-box dessert!

Course: Appetizer, Brunch, Dessert, Pie, Side Dish
Cuisine: Farmers Market, Garden Goodies, Southern
Keyword: apple, onion, rosemary, tart
Author: Wendy Perry
  • 1 17.3 ounce box frozen puff pastry,

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced and divided thinly sliced and divided
  • 2 red apples (such as Gala or Braeburn), cored and cut into ½” thick half-moon slices
  • 1 bunch bunch green onions,
    trimmed and cut into 1” pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 8-ounce carton cream cheese with chives, softened
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

  • 1 cup grated Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  1. Preheat oven to 400.

  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add ¾ of the sliced red onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and caramelizing, 4-5 minutes. 

  3. Stir in the apple, green onions, salt and pepper. Cook until barely tender, about 2 minutes.

  4. Unfold the 2 sheets of pastry and place end to end on sprayed large baking pan. Pinch middle seam together to make one large sheet. Pinch crust up around outside edge.

  5. Spread softened cream cheese over the pastry leaving a 1” border. Top with the onion-apple mixture. Scatter with the remaining uncooked red onion and rosemary.  

  6. Bake 30-35 minutes until browned. Remove from oven and immediately scatter with the grated cheese and nuts. Slice and serve while warm.

Carrying on a Carolina Tradition… the dying community “art” of the hog killin!


Hog Killin ~ Hopkins, NC

The work has commenced. The ladies have trimmed the “scrap” meat, and it’s time to add the seasonings… it’s SAUSAGE time y’all! The best you ever had…

Published in Carolina Country Magazine… November 2019!


Always eager to share my culinary adventures… foods and traditions of my life and growing up in the country, this tale and annual “ritual” I have grown up around is a story not often told. Folks love pork chops, ribs, butts and sausage, but some balk at what it takes to have such on their plates.  Those pork chops, like the vegetables we/they also eat, don’t just “appear” behind swinging doors at the local grocer.  Whether corporate farm-raised, or backyard grown and harvested, those are the places our nourishment comes from.

I realize that for some, parts of this pork harvest may be bothersome. So YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.  I have shared more of the day’s images here on my blog post beyond what is appropriate for or would fit in the magazine.

This is for me… as I addressed in my piece. But as I pondered, and prayed about “the deed” of putting down the hogs, and being a part of this day from start to finish, I found peace.  Generations before us have carried out this annual butchering… often on several community days on chilly, even really cold, winter days, to do as they just did “back in the day.”  This was just part of life… and necessary to feed their families throughout the year.  I can still remember my Ma Perry grabbing a chicken out back, ringing its neck, pluck’n and frying up the best chicken ever.  These things are part of my personal heritage, and I’m damn glad of it. 

Writing about this topic had to be handled judiciously.  And I think I accomplished telling the story… of the spirit of the little rural crossroads community of Hopkins, NC… with love and with a focus on its purpose, the love and spirit these friends and neighbors have for helping one another… and most especially, with the tale of multiple generations of the Jackson family carrying on this century-plus old tradition.  It truly made my heart smile that day to be a bystander, and watch as the “dance” was done… teaching a next generation all the intricacies from start to finish… culminating with a freezer and salt house full of the BEST pork you could ever eat.

I wish I had a patty of that perfectly seasoned, hand mixed sausage right now… with a little “crunch” just the way MY family made it decades ago.  There are some things that just need to carry on till eternity… and this is one of them!  I hope you will enjoy my story, and feel as though you were there with us.  Please do share your own such memories in comments below, OR come over and add them to this post on my facebook community!
And editor Scott at Carolina Country might like for you to share your own memories after reading the article too… send those to 

There were too many pictures from the day for the magazine… here are a few for you to enjoy!  But just know that if blood is bothersome, you’ll want to leave now.  Be sure you subscribed to my blog while here as one of these days I will add videos from the kill’n here. And subscribe to my YouTube channel where they will be eventually for you to enjoy as well.

The posse is all here...

The posse is all here…

Sun up on Jackson Farm

Sun up on Jackson Farm


Starting the scalding vat fire...

Starting the scalding vat fire…


Terry feeding the scalding vat fire...

Terry feeding the scalding vat fire… temp must reach 150 and no more than 158

the deed is done

the deed is done

hauling the hogs to the vat

hauling the hogs to the vat… each weight out 350-400 pounds!

scraping the hair has commenced

scraping the hair has commenced

all hands on deck for fast hair scraping

all hands on deck for fast hair scraping

preparing tools of the day

preparing tools of the day

the art of the butcher

the art of the butcher

master artisan teaching the next generation

…master artisan teaching the next generation

butcher time... work has commenced

butcher time… work has commenced

easy going... don't want to cut the innards

easy going… don’t want to cut the innards… because THAT would be a big stinky mess o’poop!

future chitlins no waste

future chitlins ~ no waste

bone cracker

bone cracker… more tools of the day

everybody has their job

everybody has their job at the kill’n…

working fast before the temp rises

working fast before the temp rises on this unseasonably warm January day…

neighbors helping neighbors

all hands on deck… neighbors helping neighbors

everybody knows the brains are Mr. Rudolph's

everybody knows the brains are Mr. Rudolph’s!

Feet anyone? No Waste

Feet anyone? No Waste

everybody trims scraps for sausage

everybody trims scraps for sausage… Love the old and the new… technology! lol

the fat ratio for sausage has to be just right

the fat ratio has to be just right for the sausage…

doin the dew and peanuts... quick break!

doin the dew and peanuts… quick break! Eat’n local NC Baker’s Peanuts

a generations old community sausage seasoning recipe

a generations old community sausage seasoning recipe passed down from Booger Hopkins

seasoned hands seasoned meat Mr. Rudolph

seasoned hands seasoned meat Mr. Rudolph Bunn

Three generations of Jacksons

Three generations of Jacksons…

grinding sausage

grinding sausage…

Sausage! The best you ever ate

Sausage! The best you ever ate!

got to fry up a test pan of sausage

Waddell Mitchell… got to fry up a test pan of sausage!

Lunch time... been simmering all morn on the wood stove

Lunch time… homemade soup’s been simmering all morn on the wood stove! Soup and saltines…


back to work... slow and steady filling link sausage in casings

Lunch over… back to work… slow and steady filling link sausage in casings!

as good as gold... link sausage

This right here is as good as gold… link sausage!

well deserved sit-down

…well deserved sit-down

The ladies pack'n up the sausage

The ladies pack’n up the sausage!

Wanda Jackson wrapping meat in freezer locker paper

Wanda Jackson wrapping meat in freezer locker paper… hundreds of pounds of meat!

everybody stirs the cracklins

everybody stirs the cracklins.. hurry up, we can hardly wait!

cracklins almost ready

cracklins almost ready… smells sooooo good!

fix'n the lard crock

…fix’n the lard crock

sun setting & the lard is rendered

…as the sun sets, the lard is rendered

the best cracklins ever

Y’all… the best cracklins ever!

Rural Folk. Rural Community.... traditions.... it doesn't get any better!

Rural Folk. Rural Community…. traditions…. it doesn’t get any better! Neighbor helping neighbor.


The Jackson Family

BIG thanks to The Jackson Family for letting me photo-journal this day…. sorry Rebekah couldn’t join us but she was there in spirit!

time to put the coat on and head on to the house

The torch has passed to Caleb… time to put the coat on and head on to the house!


I am most grateful to my friends, the Jackson family, and to the community folk who let me be a bystander on this day… to capture these images of what so many of us grew up with and around.  I hope you enjoyed the day I photo-journaled for you all.  The sense of community is alive in well in Hopkins… and little crossroads outside of Zebulon, North Carolina… my forever home.  May this time-honored tradition of neighbor helping neighbor survive this crazy world… and continue for generations to come.

As I close, I give thanks to the 2 hogs that provided the meat for this family and those of us who helped that day. As noted, we must be grateful, and teach future generations that their food doesn’t magically appear through those swinging doors at the grocery store. Much sacrifice is made for them to eat… and eat good food.  We honor and give thanks to these animals… the farmers that feed and tend them, and prepare them for the family table.  

Published in Carolina Country Magazine… November 2019!
Wendy Perry
Freelance Writer  & Culinary Adventurist

For more information visit my web age at
I would love to hear from you if you have other ideas of interest or if you have stories to be told for your publication. 

Cinnamon-Pear Energy “Cookie” Bites

Cinnamon-Pear Energy "Cookie" Bites

Published in Carolina Country Magazine September 2018

When fall arrives, one of the first things that comes to mind for me are pears!  My grandma had an “ole timey” pear tree where she would pick some up off the ground and make the BEST pear preserves.  Just simple… pears and sugar.  The slivers of pear were tender, yet had just a little bite to them… just right!  It’s hard to find those preserves anymore… seems like folks want to gussie them up by adding all sorts of spices and such… and for me, just doesn’t do a thing to make them better. Just give me simple.

A friend of mine, Joan, saw me looking (begging!) for some old-fashioned simple pear preserves like my Ma Perry made a couple of years ago on Facebook.  She has gifted me with some ever since. Now aren’t friends that can homemade goodies that share ’em with you just the BEST?

I recently came across one of these ole timey pear trees in a most unusual place.  So I asked the lady who owns the property if I could get some!  She told me to “get all you want!”  So I got some… but life got in the way… got too damn busy, and didn’t get around to making the pear preserves I intended to make.  🙁  One of those “maybe next year” projects, now that I know about this jewel of a tree!

So… back to my post and recipe!  

I just kinda threw these balls together one day to see what they’d taste like!  Not bad… so with a little tweak here and there, I got them like I wanted for last fall and Carolina Country Magazine.  These would be a fun way to get your children “playing” in the kitchen!  So round up the ingredients and make some.  They are perfect for tucking into lunch bags or just grabbing out of the fridge for a quick snack.

Enjoy… and see you over in my Facebook community!

Cinnamon-Pear Energy “Cookie” Bites

Fall is here, and so are fresh pears. Use these no-bake treats as “cookies,” perfect to tuck into lunch bags for everyone’s enjoyment.

Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: American, Garden Goodies, No Cook
Keyword: cookie bites, energy bites, pears
Author: Wendy Perry
  • 2 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups crispy rice cereal
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup peeled and grated firm pears with juice, (about 3 pears depending on size)
  • 3/4 cup crunchy almond butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 5 ounce bag sliced almonds, finely chopped
  1. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients.

  2. In a smaller bowl, combine pear with remaining wet ingredients. Pour over dry mixture and blend until evenly coated. (Using hands works best to make sure all ingredients are incorporated together.)

  3. Refrigerate for an hour.

  4. With hands or small scoop, roll into tablespoon-sized balls, then roll in crushed almonds. Store in airtight container in refrigerator up to 5 days.

Big Mama’s Sticky Biscuits… thumbprint pepper jelly treats!

Recipe by Wendy Perry for Peggy Rose’s Jellies!

As most of you know, I wear many hats around here. In addition to all my culinary pursuits and “jobs,” I also have a social media and marketing business… that primarily focuses on small local NC food products and restaurants.  My newest client happens to be a company with a lady at the helm I have known for years… crossed paths with at many a NC food event… and sometimes see when judging at the NC Specialty Foods Association contests.

I am now doing social media and marketing for Mrs. Peggy Rose Newsome…. aka Peggy Rose’s Jellies!  For some of my clients, I also do recipe development to help market their goodies.  I have a gazillion ideas of ways to use her jellies… champagne mustard, and cranberry pepper jelly sauce, so stay tuned.  I will occasionally share those here with you on my blog, but do come follow along on her facebook page where they will all land for starters.

I like to keep my recipes as simple as possible to encourage busy folks like yourself to actually make them. When I open a magazine or blog and see a recipe with a list of ingredients long as my arm, and with stuff I don’t have and don’t have desire to go hunting for, I just turn the page!  When this idea popped into my head last week, I just had to give it a try. And again, what was in my head worked like a charm!

These fun little biscuits only have 2 ingredients… well, three, counting black pepper. But they are so tasty… and good warm or room temp.   All you do is pick up a bag of frozen tea biscuits… (I use Mary B’s) put a few on a baking pan (I baked mine in my toaster oven!) and let thaw until soft… poke a dent with your thumb, and add a dollop (my favorite culinary word!) of Peggy Rose’s jelly… any will do… and pop into preheated (375) oven.  It took them about 12 or so minutes to get lightly browned.  The jelly oozed over the biscuits and made them all “sticky” and yummy!  As soon as I took them out of the oven, I gave them a few twists of freshly ground black pepper.  Folks, it just doesn’t get any easier that that!  Serve for breakfast… or alongside any meal!  Another great thing is that you can keep some tea biscuits in your freezer to make just a few at the time.

I’m really tickled that this idea popped into my frenzied brain!  This is a great example of how sometimes… less is more!  You can make ahead to serve at parties… for bridge club ladies… on your holiday tables instead of plain old rolls… tailgate tables and more.  Just let YOUR imagination run! 

So till next time, make yourself some sticky biscuits!  And come join the fun on my facebook community too.  

Mary B's Tea Biscuits

Image by HomemadeFoods

FYI… these are the frozen tea biscuits I use…

Mary B’s made by HomemadeFoods!







Seafood Bisque Casserole

Published in Carolina Country Magazine February 2019

For many years, I was a very busy personal chef… and was the first girl personal chef in the Triangle area.  During some of those years, I founded a professional association to teach others how to be a personal chef and manage their own businesses.  One of my personal chef client favorite dishes was my Seafood Bisque Casserole.  I had a couple of households that had me make doubles of this at each visit.  It can be served over any number of things… pasta, rice, creamy grits, in puff pastry cups… or my personal favorite, over creamy buttery mashed potatoes.

This is a nice comfort food dish for enjoying on a chilly night by the fire.  As we find ourselves here in fall and winter on the way, add these ingredients to your shopping list to have on hand to make when the notion strikes you.  

So find yourself the freshest local North Carolina seafood you can… and just make some!  Support your local seafood fishermen and woman… #shoplocal #eatlocal
#GotToBeNC Seafood #NCCatch

Be sure to come over and share if you do in my facebook community!  

Seafood Bisque Casserole

For those that enjoy a warm bowl of seafood bisque, you'll be sure to love this Seafood Bisque Casserole. Fully of shrimp, scallops and crab, this buttery creamy dish can be enjoyed over pasta, rice, grits, creamed potatoes or spooned into puff pastry cups.

Course: Main Course, Supper
Cuisine: American, Seafood, Southern
Keyword: bisque, casserole, crab, scallops,, seafood, shrimp
Author: Wendy Perry
  • 6 sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2-3 large shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled
  • 1 pound bay scallops
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 cup sherry, divided
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups milk, half-and-half or combination, room temperature
  • 1/2 pound cooked crabmeat (more if desired)
  • 2 cups grated Swiss cheese
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup minced parsley
  • 6 cups cooked pasta*
  1. Preheat oven broiler.

  2. Cook bacon in soup pot over medium high heat until crispy.

  3. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of drippings and add butter. Once butter is melted and sizzling, sauté shallots about 2 minutes. Add shrimp and scallops. Cook 3–4 minutes just until done, being careful not to overcook. Using slotted spoon, remove seafood from juices. Stir in salt, pepper and ¼ cup of sherry; reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes.

  4. Whisk flour into remaining sherry to make a slurry.

  5. Stir milk into simmering liquid. Once warm, whisk in slurry and continue heating several minutes, whisking until thickened. Return seafood to bisque and heat 1 minute.

  6. Spoon over pasta in a large baking dish. Scatter with crabmeat, cheese and crumbs. Place in oven on middle rack and broil 4–5 minutes to melt cheese and brown crumbs. Garnish with bacon and parsley. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

* If preferred, the bisque can be prepared as noted without the pasta to be spooned over grits, rice, mashed potatoes or into phyllo pastry cups.

Culinary Adventures of a State Fair Judge

Culinary Adventures @ NC State Fair with Lisa Prince

I always have such fun each year judging at the NC State Fair! Enjoy this tale…. “Culinary Adventures of a State Fair Judge”


Read… Culinary Adventures of a State Fair Judge Carolina Country Mag October 2017

I do declare! I had no idea until today I’d never shared this here on my blog.  So here you go.

This week, the NC State Fair opens… and I love the fair!  For a longggg time, I have had the fun opportunity to judge several of the daily cooking contests each year.  How lucky am I?  

Each day of the fair, there is a different cooking contest, most sponsored by one of our many awesome agricultural commodities here in North Carolina… and with pretty darn good prize money. I sometimes think I should give up judging and enter some of my recipes, but the annual “get-together” of old friends, colleagues in the world of us few home economists, local TV celebs and friends at the NC Department of Agriculture keeps me going back to my judges chair.

Since I’ve included all the goodies in my story, I’ll leave it at that.  So do hop over to Carolina Country Magazine, where you can read my article I wrote for them a couple of years ago.  I encourage you to enter next year. Just google “NC State Fair Daily Special Cooking Contests” about July or August. Get in your kitchen… fine tune your recipe(s) and enter!  Just make sure to read the rules and criteria of each carefully… because if you don’t adhere to that, your dish will be put aside and disqualified!
This year, I’ll be judging NC Vegetables… Apples, Pork and Beef!  Taste buds in training this week. 

So… get your fair on this week!  I hope to run into you there. 

Nope… “this is NOT ‘derby pie!'” HorseRace Pie perhaps??

"This is NOT 'derby pie Pie!"

I’m a pie gal… give me a piece of good ole pie over cake any day!  Like this not-derby “horserace pie.”  LOL
I didn’t know for years, and most folks still do not know, you cannot call your pie “derby pie.”  If you do, you might just have a lawsuit showing up on your doorstep. The Kern’s had foresight years ago to trademark “derby-pie” and have been known to aggressively protect it.  So while I share this pie I’ve made for decades with you, known for years as that but made a little differently, you will NOT hear me calling it “derby pie.” Imma not going to get all into that, but you can read all about the trademark those folks obtained here for those details. And more here too from the Smithsonian!

According to their web site, their pie has walnuts, and bourbon, neither of which you will find in my pie recipe. So I guess I was just confused for years since the recipe came to me with that name.  Maybe I’ll have a ‘name that pie’ contest!  

Just about everybody has their version of this simple and “wow-some” gooey-on-the-bottom chocolate pecan pie.  I’ve had this recipe for decades and no idea from whence it came. I just know it’s good, it’s quick and easy to make, and checks off several boxes… chocolate pie, pecan pie, and even brownie pie!  And best of all…
the recipe makes TWO pies… one to keep and one to share.

Do you have a version of your own?  Do come over to my facebook community and share it!
And till then…. make PIE! Just don’t be make’n no derby pie.

"This is NOT 'derby pie' Pie!"

I love pie. I love this pie. Simple. And covers many bases... pecan pie... chocolate pie... brownie pie... gooey pie! The recipe makes 2 pies too... so you can keep one and share one. Just make PIE and be sure not to call it "derby pie."

Course: Dessert, Pie, Sweet Treats
Cuisine: American, Southern
Keyword: pecan pie, chocolate pie, gooey chocolate pie, brownie pie
Servings: 2 pies
Author: Wendy Perry
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 stick butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 12 ounce semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 16 ounce chopped pecan pieces
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 9" pie crusts (not deep dish)
  1. Preheat oven to 350.

  2. Poke bottom of crust a few times with fork and place into oven while it preheats.

  3. Mix all ingredients together and divide into the 2 pie crusts.

  4. Bake about 35-40 minutes until set in the middle.

    Let cool a bit before cutting.

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