When was the last time you ate turtle stew?! Shortly after arriving in rural North Carolina as an artist-in-residence, I was invited to my first ‘Brunswick stew.’ As I took a gulp of teeth-numbing sweet ice tea, I was struck by the fellowship around the stew and fixins’, and the idea hit me: why not develop a community project inspired by the history of food in the area? FOOD FOR THOUGHT, documenting centuries-old agrarian rituals and recipes, became a testament to a passing way of life – and a manual for making your own turtle stew!


What is a ‘poke’ sallet? What was life like on a 1920’s farm? Hundreds of stories and photographs collected and archived from senior citizens resulted in the book, FOOD FOR THOUGHT: ROCKINGHAM COUNTY STORIES OF SUSTENANCE, containing old-timey recipes, photographs, and original stories about rural life over the last century.


Rockingham County Arts Council (with funds from North Carolina Arts Council Grassroots Program), Rockingham Community College Foundation, Rockingham County Historical Collections, Barber/Chevrolet/Oldsmobile, George & Betty Kirzinger, FNB Southeast, Madison Dry Goods


“Whether raising a barn, celebrating homecoming at church, killing hogs or priming tobacco…throughout the century, food was an integral part of most every Rockingham County event. So important that a group of Rockingham County citizens compiled a book of food memories that serves as a living history of the county.”
– Greensboro News & Record

“Interviews with farm families make this … book special. While Food for Thought focused on various aspects of food-from growing, canning, curing and cooking to preserving, fishing and hunting-it’s also about family, caring and growing up in different times.”
– The News & Observer