Sunday, May 31, 2009
Carolina Cook Out on the Yadkin River at the Bull Hole RiverPark
The South is all about family, friends, and food, and the Carolina Cook Out would have been a literal wash out if I didn’t have such wonderful people in my life. I can’t begin to say how much all my people did to make this Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 a special day to remember. So, I send a shout out to all my cook out buddies who shopped, packed, carried, grilled, and helped me find my kid who dove in the river after a drowning teenager and ended up down at the canoe landing. Be sure to read about the rescue.
Our Carolina Cook Out was on the Yadkin River near the old mill dam. The water is usually calm and shallow, but it was a raging river on the day of the cook out.
For anyone who is not familiar with Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24, it’s a monthly food-fest with 24 chefs in 24 cities around the world cooking over a 24 hour period.
I was selected this month to share a cook out here in North Carolina and let folks know about all the great products and recipes we have here in the Tarheel state.
After shopping and prepping and getting the truck loaded, I discovered that my battery had gone dead. Hum. That’s not good. So, my boys’ dad got his truck, and we reloaded everything and headed down to the Bull Hole in Cooleemee, NC.
Actually, the RiverPark is right across the line in Rowan County – my home county. I used to go there as a teenager – before it was a park – and always thought it was one of the prettiest places around this area.
Joel Leonard and his brother Lorin met us down the trail which must be a half mile from the parking lot and quite a trek getting grills, gear, and food down to the falls. The brothers were the head grillers for the cook out with Joel making his signature Joelburgers and Lorin was on the beautiful pork loin donated by Phil Crawford of Fresh Cuts in Asheboro.
Dueling Grillers. Joel and Lorin Leonard are experts at outdoor cooking and fun to hang out with too.
My 7-year-old niece was the assistant chef on the Joelburgers and Eli’s buddy Jacob jumped on the assembly line to build the burgers. Joel was great with the young people in the group and helped them get a taste of outdoor cooking. That's how we pass down our traditions in the South.
My niece is learning how to be a grill chef - helping Joel with Joelburgers.
Jimmy was going to do the chicken, hot dogs, and corn, but he had to head down the river to make sure our kid didn’t drown. Some men told me that the kids did get up on the bank, so I grilled the other meats and put on the mixed grilled Catdaddy Moonshine beans and hot dog chili. The beans and chili were made ahead so just needed to be heated.
I stayed busy grilling as you can see.
Chicken, hot dogs, and beans on the smaller gas tailgate grills.
My Mom and new step Dad Harry came next with cantaloupe from Wetmore Farms in Woodleaf, NC. It’s a family farm, and we’re just down the road so can get fresh produce which is really nice.
Mom organized the stuff at the picnic tables, since we had quite a jumble of coolers, bags and boxes. There’s always loads of food at a Southern shindig. And, some friends who couldn’t make it even sent stuff along. Bryan from the Bagel Shop in Asheboro sent bags of his homemade bagels which are too good for words. My sons sure get excited about Bryan’s bagels.
My girls showed up next. They aren’t my biological girls. I have sons. But, the three fabulous young ladies were work study students and on the college newspaper staff at Catawba College where I teach. They’ve all graduated now, but we keep in touch. And, they will always be my girls.
Hilah is great with a camera and took photos of the cook out. My sister did too which is quite a feat when chasing after three little ones. My nieces are cute and funny and always make family get-togethers even more fun.
Tara’s Mom made Southern potato salad and a beautiful coconut cake. With all the excitement and picture taking, I missed out on the cake. Bummer. Next time, I’m having dessert first to be on the safe side.
Speaking of dessert, everyone went wild for the Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake. That is such an easy dessert to make, but it is one of my favorites.
Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake is very easy to make and is always a hit at picnics.
I really did bring serving spoons. Where they were, no one knew. Oh well. That turner worked just fine.
We also had a big, juicy watermelon. It looked so good that a couple of little girls asked if they could have some. I cut them big slices. My boys said that their mother asked where they got watermelon, and they pointed at my sons. I guess the boys looked safe enough, so the girls got to enjoy their melon treat.
My son puts the watermelon off to the side of the dam on the Yadkin River to keep it cold.
These cute little girls enjoyed our ice cold watermelon too.
We also shared some food with a little dog there at the park. He thought, “Shoo. Go away” meant “Hey, come here, and I’ll pet you and give you a treat.” He was right, and he gave paws up to the Carolina Cook Out too.
I planned to do S’mores too, but I forgot and also I think everyone was “full enough to bust” as we say around here.
We washed everything down with Cheerwine in the glass bottles that I picked up Friday at the bottling company in Salisbury, NC. That’s our local soft drink and a favorite in the area. You can order Cheerwine online, and it’s definitely different from the average soft drink.
Cheerwine is a Southern soft drink and made right here in Rowan County.
Everyone pitched in to help carry everything back up the hill, and it was up the hill going back to the trucks. But, with extra hands, it didn’t take too long to wrap up and head on home where I’m sure the whole crowd slept sound after a very exciting Carolina Cook Out sponsored by Foodbuzz.