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  • Writer's pictureTeresa Conway

North Carolina - The Tarheel State

Updated: Sep 10, 2023

Unofficial Slogan: First in Flight

Suggested Slogan: First to Fight over Barbecue

Two Truths and a Lie

The Recipe - Tarheel Breakfast Cookies

North Carolina has three distinct geographic areas. Mountains dominate the western region, specifically the picturesque Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains. The Piedmont area (French for “foot of the mountain”) extends across the middle of the state and is home to the largest cities: Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greensborough. Coastal Plains dominate the east where the land is low and flat. The sandy soil and warm climate of the Coastal Plains enable North Carolina to grow more sweet potatoes than any other state in the nation. The tuber is officially celebrated as the state vegetable.

I love cooking with pureed sweet potato which adds an earthy flavor and substantial nutrition boost to any baked good. Two former University of North Carolina cross-country runners turned me onto this idea. Elyse Kopecky and Shalane Flanagan published a cookbook called “Run Fast Eat Slow” which includes a recipe for sweet potato breakfast cookies. I have made it countless times and only wanted to make a few tiny tweaks to honor the state where they first met.

In addition to cinnamon and ginger, I added freshly grated nutmeg to the dough because it pairs so nicely with sweet potato. The original recipe called for raisins but I went with dried blueberries because they are the official state blue berry. The state red berry is the strawberry and the state fruit is the Scuppernong grape. North Carolina’s house and senate backed different fruits in 2001 leading to fierce debate which was part of the state’s longest and most expensive legislative session. Despite calls for a veto, the Governor signed the grape/strawberry/blueberry compromise bill to put an end to it all.

I love these cookies. The dried blueberries are a great touch. These are gluten-free and vegan without sacrificing any deliciousness. I can’t wait to make them again.

Want to experience North Carolina for yourself? Then Teresa recommends ...

My husband and I visited Southern Appalachia to celebrate our 10-year anniversary, and we had the BEST time. Asheville is a fun city with delicious food and inspiring art. The Biltmore Estate is stunning. The Blue Ridge Mountains are breathtaking both in their beauty and in the effort needed to hike up them. The Dupont State Forest contains so many amazing waterfalls. I can't wait to go back. In the meantime, I’ll reread David Sedaris’s hilarious essay collection “Me Talk Pretty One Day.” The stories centered around his childhood in suburban Raleigh are particularly entertaining.

Time for the whole truth

Carolina is named in honor of the English King Charles I. Carolus is the Latin form of Charles.

(By the way, you can click on any of the 2 truths and a lie statements to visit the source of the trivia)

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