Welcome to NC Eats, an online resource for the history of food and eating in North Carolina. This website is designed for students--both young and old--to explore primary and secondary sources related to the revolution in eating that occurred in the United States and North Carolina between the 1910s and 1960s.
During this half-century-long period, Americans radically changed their relationship to food: nutrition became a matter of scientifically balanced diets designed by nutrition specialists; scientific developments allowed for industrial production of foods that were once grown locally or even in the family backyard; advances in preservation allowed far-away foods like pineapples and grapefruits to be shipped to supermarkets and bought by families in North Carolina; and the spread of kitchen appliances like electrical refrigerators, blenders, ovens, and freezers changed the role of women in the family. So, too, did eating preferences change. One look at old recipes for foods like "Jell-O horseradish relish" or "jellied ham in ring" show just how much has changed since the days when peanut butter and mayonnaise were delicacies of the upper class.
Where Should I Start?
In The Library you'll find quick reference articles about different topics in North Carolina and United States history. These help put the history of food and the North Carolina Extension Service in context.
Browse a curated collection of documents, photos, and films relevant to the history of food and eating in The Archive.
The Museum includes exhibits about the influence of the Extension Service on the food and foodways of North Carolina from the 1910s through the 1960s. The three exhibits are: Eat Your Vegetables: Nutrition & the NC Extension Service, Becoming Shoppers: NC Food Consumption and Production, and Drawing the Line: Segregation in the NC Extension Service.
In The Classroom, it's your turn! Here, you can learn how to do the work of a historian and create your own online exhibit.
Are You a Teacher?
We encourage you to put NC Eats to work in your classroom! The history of food and foodways in North Carolina incorporates many important themes in American history. Healthful Living educators might also consider using NC Eats to introduce students to food culture and the changing nature of nutrition advice.
You can find information about how the site has been designed for use by students here: For Teachers.