DI/DO drops a big, sloppy smooch on Durham. The Gurgling Cod has said "yes, but," once or twice. In particular, Watts Grocery in my one visit, was profoundly unimpressive, and raised some unsettling questions. Also, while Moskin gets excited about the transition from tobacco (bad) to strawberries (good), she is silent on the issue of NC's other major socially malignant agricultural product:
The food at Neal’s Deli is resolutely everyday and American — like breakfast biscuits stuffed with egg and sausage — but the eggs are steamed tender with a touch of pepper and parsley, and the wide, crisp biscuits are mixed from high-fat local buttermilk and organic flour from a nearby mill that’s been held by the same family for nine generations. The sausage patty is from Cane Creek Farm in Alamance County, where Eliza MacLean, an owner of the farm and a former veterinarian, advises farmers across the state on the transition from tobacco to pork. Every bit of that care comes through in the flavor of the finished product, a stunning bargain at $3.25.
There is no shortage of hogs in NC, but very few of them are raised under groovy conditions, so it's hard to feel good about this feel good story without a little bit more reporting. If this is the model for tobacco-to-pork transitions, then huzzah, but if Tar Heel is the model, not so much.
There is exciting stuff going on in Durham, to be sure -- the limited love for Piedmont, and exclusion of Locopops are unfortunate, for example -- but the article manages to seem both patronizing and symptomatic of the incipient Panisseization of food journalism.