Amy Rogers

Coordinator of WFAEats

Amy Rogers is the author of Hungry for Home: Stories of Food from Across the Carolinas and Red Pepper Fudge and Blue Ribbon Biscuits. Her writing has also been featured in Cornbread Nation 1: The Best of Southern Food Writing, the Oxford American, and the Charlotte Observer. She is founding publisher of the award-winning Novello Festival Press. She received a Creative Artist Fellowship from the Arts and Science Council, and was the first person to receive the award for non-fiction writing. Her reporting has also won multiple awards from the N.C. Working Press Association. She has been Writer in Residence at the Wildacres Center, and a program presenter at dozens of events, festivals, arts centers, schools, and other venues. Amy Rogers considers herself “Southern by choice,” and is a food and culture commentator for NPR station WFAE.

What’s your favorite childhood food memory? Watching my mother in a gorgeous cocktail dress sneak into the kitchen before a party so she could eat some real food.

What’s your typical breakfast? Coffee, with a side order of extra coffee

What can you always find in your fridge? Half-and-half. Because you can put it in coffee, tea, cereal, frittatas, and lots of leftover things like tomatoes, potatoes and shellfish to make cream-of-whatever soup.

Kitchen tool(s) you can’t live without? I lived and cooked wonderful meals for literally decades with only one chef’s knife. I now have others but rarely use them.

If you aren’t in the kitchen, where are you? Visiting farm stands, markets, cafes, friends’ homes – anywhere there’s food to be sampled and enjoyed.

Amy Rogers’ website

If you were scolded as a kid to finish all the food on your plate, you might not have much of an appetite to learn about reducing food waste. But this topic is critical to our daily quality of life and to long-term environmental sustainability.

WFAEats: Tomato Time

Jul 26, 2019
tomatoes
Jennifer Lang / WFAE

It’s here: peak tomato season! That’s when porch pots and backyard plots burst with tomatoes as tiny as grapes and bigger than grapefruit. Supermarkets and farm stands get overrun with them. Red, yellow, purple, striped, and speckled – they’re everywhere. And that can create a sticky situation.

When you just can’t stomach one more perfect tomato sandwich, what can you do?

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When it’s too hot to lift anything heavier than a cold glass to your parched lips, it’s officially summer sangria season. With lower alcohol content than many cocktails (and even alcohol-free for those who wish), this pleasant concoction of wine, fruit, and bubbles is at home everywhere from picnics to parties. Sure, lots of restaurants serve sangria, but it’s easy to make your own.

Burgers on the grill
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For something you can get at just about any backyard cookout, a good burger can actually be pretty hard to find.

A burger done right can be a juicy, smoky, perfectly fatty and delectable experience. A burger done wrong can be rendered tasteless, dry, and just about inedible.  

peppers
dfespi / Pixabay

You want to talk about hot? Check this out: The hottest pepper on the planet* is the Carolina Reaper, grown in Fort Mill, South Carolina.

That news may leave you cold if you’re one of the millions of people who can’t tolerate or simply don’t enjoy spicy food. But for fans of hot flavors, this raises the bar once again on the power of the pepper.

WFAEats: Bread Is Back

Jun 28, 2019
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If the thought of slicing into a just-baked loaf of bread makes your mouth water, here’s some great news for you: Bread is back and it’s better than ever.

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Want to hear something audacious and wonderful? Vegan cuisine is the hottest trend going right now. If you don’t believe it, consider this: When the Slutty Vegan food truck came to Charlotte from Atlanta last week, more than 1,000 people turned out and waited for hours in the hot sun to get food.

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In the summertime, there are two kinds of people: those who hide inside and those who march themselves outside to eat, drink, and cook.

No one can blame the insiders. But this piece is dedicated to the intrepid souls who brave the bugs and risk a blistering sunburn to make summer meals outdoors.

Spices, Food
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Spring gift-giving is a tricky thing. Jammed in all at once we’ve got Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, graduations, and the start of wedding season. And since no one needs another dust-catcher sitting on a shelf, we’re giving you a dozen fresh ideas for new books that will make great gifts.

Beer
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When April was officially proclaimed NC Beer Month, it gave me the perfect excuse to corral some friends and set out to investigate exactly what makes beer so wonderful.

As it turns out, just about everything.

jelly beans
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If Charlotte’s clouds of pollen have kept you in a fog, you may have overlooked the fact that Easter and Passover are coming up fast – on the same weekend, in fact.

Passover begins at sundown Friday, April 19. Easter is Sunday, April 21. They’re both deeply religious holidays that we celebrate with distinctive meals.

Women
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As Women’s History Month wraps up, it’s a great time to dine at eateries owned and run by women. The good news is that we have a whole bunch of them to choose from. Not just restaurants but bakeries, breweries, caterers, coffee-makers, and more.

Photo courtesy of Whereyat.com

This Tuesday, March 5, is Shrove Tuesday if you’re getting ready for Lent – famously known as Mardi Gras.

This celebration always features rich and decadent foods. That’s because people who observe Lent often forego foods they enjoy during the forty-day period leading up to Easter. 

King Cakes, round yeast breads sprinkled with purple, green, and gold sugar, are a holiday mainstay. But local bakeries can sell out if you don’t order in advance. 

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When you think about it, restaurants are a terrible place to spend Valentine’s Day. They’re crowded, expensive, noisy – basically, the opposite of a romantic setting.

But there’s a perfect place to host a special dinner, and it’s guaranteed to have your favorite table available. That place is home.

Hot tea for colds and flu
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If you’re not sneezing, wheezing, coughing and complaining, you can skip this entire conversation. But those of us dropping like flies from one of the viral bugs going around are desperate for something – anything – to ease the misery. 

WFAEats: Why So Salty?

Jan 18, 2019
Salt
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While making a simple dinner the other evening I reached for the salt and was faced with a conundrum: Which of the six within reach to pick? Cajun or Kosher? Celtic or Cornish with lemon and thyme? Gray, pink, or black from the Dead Sea?

That got me thinking about why we love salt – and sometimes acquire it in an aspirational fashion, like designer shoes or handbags.

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For a few years now I’ve been dishing up radical wisdom for how to make New Year’s food resolutions, but it hasn’t stuck. 

Despite my best advice, most of you are still out there swearing to cut out carbs or fats or sugar. You’re promising to count points, eat clean or green or something in between. And guess what? You’re going to fail.

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As the year draws to a close, lots of us are looking back and making lists of what was memorable. In a town that’s getting as culinarily complex as Charlotte, that gets harder to do each year. You already know about the famous restaurants and their iconic dishes, so here’s a look at some other food experiences you might not know about. Each of them left an impressive aftertaste.

Romaine lettuce field in Yuma, Arizona.
Jeff Vanuga / USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Here we are at the culinary crossroads between Thanksgiving and the Christmas-Hanukkah-Kwanzaa-New Year’s holidays. As if we didn’t have enough to worry about, there’s a hefty helping of alarming news to digest about unsafe foods and recalls.

Sean Sherman, right, and Faye George Greiner.
Amy Rogers / WFAE

On a foggy evening, deep in the woods at the Catawba Indian Nation, chef Sean Sherman explained his epiphany. He thought back to the moment early in his career when he realized, “There’s lots of great food all over the world – but zero restaurants that represent native foods.”

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