Mama Dip serves up Southern sensations

Victor and Marlene visiting Mama Dip's in March 2006

Marlene (left) and Victor Benard visit from Holland in 2006. Of course Diane had to put Roxy in the car post-photo.

T’aint nuttin’ better than okra and tomatoes, black-eyed peas, and fried green tomatoes. At least those are the sides I usually order at Mama Dip’s Country Cooking Restaurant in Chapel Hill, NC. That’s where Wessel and I take many houseguests, especially non-Americans and Yankees, who wouldn’t know a hush puppy if it up and bit ’em. Wessel, in fact, has made a habit of posing folks around the Mama Dip’s sign, so we’re posting a couple shots from his gallery.

Wessel (left) and brothers Liekle and Tjits Nijholt visiting Mama Dip`s in September 2008

Wessel (left) with more Dutch visitors, brothers Liekle and Tjits Nijholt, in 2008

While Dip’s has become such a big operation that it’s not quite the same as going to a little soul-food hole in the wall, it serves up some mighty fine grub.

Mama Dip is the nickname of Mildred Council, who is nearing 80. She grew up on a farm outside of Chapel Hill, and her first job was in town, as a family cook. Later she worked for a coffee shop, then cooked for Kappa Sigma fraternity.

Susan Guerber from Switzerland, enjoyed Dip`s chicken 'n' dumplings in 2008

Susan Guerber from Switzerland enjoyed Dip`s chicken 'n' dumplings.

In 1957 she starting working with her mother-in-law in a tiny take-out restaurant. The story goes that she opened her own Chapel Hill restaurant in 1976 with $64 — $40 for food and $24 to make change. Today, Mama Dip’s is internationally known for its Southern fare.

The fried chicken and Brunswick stew are great, to name a few, but the side dishes are what I come for: black-eyed peas, string beans with a little pork fat, pinto beans, vegetable casserole, yams, friend okra, lima beans, mac and cheese. I’m getting to hungry too write more.

Mama Dip`s  Family Cookbook

Mama Dip has written two cookbooks.

If you don’t live nearby and aren’t planning any trips to North Carolina (why not?!?), you can cook up your own Mama Dip’s creations from “Mama Dip’s Family Cookbook” and “Mama Dip’s Kitchen.” The “Chicken Pudding” is one of our favorites.

I’m proud to say that Mama Dip and I share a book publisher in UNC Press. Hmmmm…. maybe she’ll donate a recipe to my “Farm Fresh North Carolina“! Guess I’ll have to pop over soon and ask. While I’m at it, I’ll have me some country ham and biscuits with gravy. I’m thinking that I might have to get my banana pudding to go.

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One Response to “Mama Dip serves up Southern sensations”

  1. karel Says:

    Yes, mama Dip: Sweet memory

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