Posts Tagged ‘Brunswick Stew’

Five porker stars for Wilber’s Barbecue

June 2, 2009
Wilber's take out in full swing

It takes three Wilber's workers to keep up with Memorial Day takeout orders

Willllll-berrrrrs! Willll-berrrrs! That’s my cry whenever we drive to the beach from Durham, North Carolina, or anytime we get close to Goldsboro, home of Wilber’s Barbecue. (I try to sound like Mr. Ed talking to his pal Wilbur, but I do a poor imitation. At any rate, it annoys Wessel. Mission accomplished.)

When I moved back to eastern North Carolina after years in Florida and then Boston, I was happily reunited with barbecue made the right way — slow cooked over wood and seasoned with vinegar, not, I repeat not, with tomato-based sauce.

The cornucopia of Eastern North Carolina

This Wilber's waitress is a winner!

We all have our favorite BBQ joints, and Wilber’s is mine. I was thrilled to bring Wessel here. Somehow Wilber’s had stuck in my brain, although I moved from North Carolina at the tender age of 16, when I didn’t care what I ate as long as it had pasta and spaghetti sauce in it.

We most recently stopped at Wilber’s on Memorial Day, on our way back from the beach. It was just us and about 80,000 other customers doing the same thing. We got ‘cue to go, along with coleslaw, sweet tea, and hush puppies. Classic Wilber’s. The restaurant is totally old-fashioned, with as many locals as visitors. There’s always a brisk takeout business, but the table service here is great too — friendly and oh so country. Yanks might need a translator.

Dutch friends Tjits and Liekle demonstrate before and after effects of Wilers BBQ

A stop at Wilber's transformed the profiles of our Dutch friends Tjits and Liekle

Wilber’s also has great Brunswick stew, fried chicken, and other Southern specialities (pronounced spesh-ee-AL-i-ties).

We love sending our friends there, too, like the Dutchies, at left, visiting from the Netherlands last summer. They loved it, maybe even a little too much.

The word has been out on Wilber’s for a while now. As owner Wilber Shirley said in an interview with John Shelton Reed and Dale Volberg Reed of  the awesome book “Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue,” “we’ve been written up in right many magazines over the years.” (That’s an understatement.) All deserved, too!

I do have to say that after spending this past weekend at Fickle Creek Farm in Efland, North Carolina, which raises its hogs sustainably and environmentally, I am feeling a tad guilty about hawking a place that I’m guessing doesn’t really think right much about that stuff.

But there you go. My blinders are firmly in place, and I’m here to say: Willllll-berrrrrs! Willll-berrrrs!

Van harte gefeliciteerd, Wessel!

January 9, 2009
Wessel blows candles of birthday cake in 2008

Wessel blows candles of birthday cake in 2008

As faithful readers know, the Dutch go crazy for their birthdays. They congratulate not only the birthday boy/girl, but parents, siblings, and spouses. Wessel’s parents made their birthday call this morning from the Netherlands, bright and early, as always. :O They congratulated me as well. And now I must say, gefeliciteerd to you, too, familie Kok! Being someone who has always sought birthday attention (OK, fine, all attention), I love this Dutch tradition.

So each time there’s a birthday in our immediate Dutch family, Wessel and I do a blog posting with photos. Now the sad thing is this: I wanted this post to surprise Wessel, but he’s the photo editor. So, my dear partner in life, you’re going to have to later add your favorite photos to this. Sorry!

Maroccan medley, the 2008 birthday dinner

Moroccan Medley, the 2008 birthday dinner

This year Wessel and I decided to gift ourselves folding bicycles for our birthdays (mine was last month.) So we are still in the process of shopping around. We’re mostly fixating on Bike Friday, arguably the best folding bike maker but of course also the most expensive. I’m looking forward to the end of the shopping process and the purchase of our bikes!

Diane prepares Fish in a bag, the 2007 birtday special

Diane prepares Fish in a Bag, the 2007 birthday special

As usual, I’ll be making birthday dinner for Wessel. It’s a major production, especially since I have to do a practice run each year. Here’s the lineup since we’ve lived together: Brunswick Stew, Chicken Pudding, Roast, Fish in a Bag (from “Seasoned in the South” ), Moroccan Medley (thanks to Barry Yeoman), and, this year, the sixth, he again requested vegetarian. I finally decided on Moosewood’s Risotto with Spinach and Artichokes (I’m throwing in mushrooms too), as well as some side dishes, natch, and a cake (not sure which one yet) with 45 candles.

Dear Wessel, here are 17 things I love about you:

Your genuine kindness and concern for all living creatures, including humans.
Your photo skills, from execution to organization.
Your sense of humor, including bad puns and jokes.
Your firm buttocks and shapely calves.
Your physical fitness.
Your ability to change bicycle tires much quicker than I can.
Your command of several languages.
Your healthy appetite.
Your intellectual and constant thirst for knowledge.
Your affection for your annoying cat and your care for my dogs that you could easily live without.
Your willingness to fairly divide chores.
Your total, unwavering support of me.
Your many sides.
Your adventurousness.
Your honesty.
Your willingness to be vulnerable.
Your undying love for me.


your adoring wife