(Music plays) Uhhh let's think of some Christmas carols.
We've got Oh Holy Night .
We've got Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer, which is my personal favorite.
Jingle Bells .
âŞ Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.. (laughs) god.
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Chrismukkah, or you just get two days off from work, everybody gets wrapped up in the holidays.
And I'm no different.
So deck the halls y'all.
(Theme Music plays- The Avett Brothers "Will You Return") I'm Vivian and I'm a chef.
My husband, Ben and I were working for some of the best chefs in New York City when my parents offered to help us open our own restaurant.
Of course, there was a catch.
We had to open this restaurant in Eastern North Carolina, where I grew up and said I would never return.
(Music plays) (Music plays) So this is my life.
Raising twins, living in the house I grew up in, and exploring the south, one ingredient at a time.
(Music plays) At the beginning of December our staff takes a big painful deep breath in and they don't exhale again until January 1st.
We have to take advantage of the customers when they want to come to the restaurant and for a lot of folks that's during the holidays.
Every Christmas we do a whole new dessert menu so I thought that we would do a take on what I remember as a kid, like everybody in my mom's church would make Christmas candy.
Then they would put them in these Christmas tins and give 'em out to everybody.
It was kind of like a comparison like my snowball is better than your snowball.
So, what have you... what are your ideas?
Well the thing about the peanut butter balls.
I thought about doing, you know those citrus ummm wedges?
Ohh I know what you're talking about.
You kind of dry it and then cady the piece of fruit.
We were thinking about caramel and one recipe I found was apple cider caramel where they reduced apple cider.
It seemed really nice.
I like that.
One that we talked about on Monday was Haystacks.
Yeah we used to make haystacks.
I didn't know if you wanted to use chow mein noodles?
I didn't know if you wanted to use that?
So then, I was really proud of this.. so then I thought of the pretzel crunch and turn that into a haystack.
That's a good idea.
But I was really proud of myself with the pretzel crunch.
I'm proud of you, Kim.
Oh remember we've got to do a fudge of some kind.
Let's think of a flavor that's not represented.
And do a fudge with that.
Thank you m'am.
I've worked in restaurants pretty much my whole adult life and for restaurant people December is pretty much the busiest time of the year so I've never had my own Christmas tree.
I've never wrapped lights around my house.
But now that I have children and a home of my own and the urge to domesticate, I'm on a journey to find holiday traditions that speak to me and my family.
Now when we get to the bridge we're going to stand there and we're going to smile and we're going to take our picture, okay?
Around here the family photo Christmas card is a big thing and Ben and I have had a tradition of really amazing Christmas cards.
I mean I think that our first Christmas card was probably the best Christmas card ever made.
Theo and Flo sitting in little baby chef jackets.
I mean, really.
Okay, we got to focus on the task at hand daddy.
This year my kids have minds of their own and we'll be lucky just to get the two of them in a photo where they're both in the same frame.
Okay, what did we talk about that we were going to do?
(Kids whining) Stand right there.
(Kids whining) Wait!
Will you let us take it?
If you guys will stand here.
Stand there for one minute.
If you'll smile and say cheese then we'll get some chocolate when we get back to the house.
(Kids cheer) Okay?
Stand up Theo.
(Laughter) Get back here.
Hey, say cheese.
You want some chocolate?
Okay, one time I want y'all to hug each other and say cheese.
(Laughter) I'm ok!
(Music plays) So this is my sister, Leraine, my older sister and she was always the baker and primarily the cook in the family.
Mom always like to tell a story about Leraine that when she started middle school she would come home everyday after school and bake a cake.
(Laughter) That's how I gained so much weight but...
But I remember my favorite thing about our holiday table was Leraine's red velvet cake.
So where are we gonna start?
We're gonna start with the icing.
We need three cups of milk.
You've got milk and flour in there.
You're going to bring that up to a boil and that will essentially get thick.
And what is it that you like about baking?
I like symmetry.
I like to measure.
I like the equal ingredients.
If it's done correctly it turns out every time.
If it doesn't it doesn't.
I like to improvise.
I don't like to improvise.
(Laughter) Isn't that pretty?
So, we're going to sit this in the refrigerator and we're going to start with the cake.
So we need three quarters of a cup of crisco.
So we're going to put four eggs in here because these are medium eggs not lar eggs.
(Music plays) We're going to start with the flour.
You've got three cups of self rising alternating with a half of a cup of buttermilk.
So what age were you when you started coming home and baking a cake every afternoon?
I think I was like ten.
And why on earth would mom allow you to do that?
I think it's because she was sick and I just, I enjoyed doing it.
I would do the cake mix cake and we would put coloring into it.
I had a green and yellow cake one time.
It was fun.
It was a way for you to occupy your time and stay out of her hair.
Yeah and I did.
You say mom was sick.
She had arthritis.
Okay I forgot.
We got to add the cocoa.
(Music plays) So this is butter flavor.
Because you don't have that butter flavor because you used crisco instead.
Vanilla and food coloring.
You got a shot glass of that.
I do have a shot glass of that.
So we put the vinegar and the soda... the volcano action.
So you've got baking soda and you've got vinegar and you got, okay you really do have a little.... Volcano.
So now it's going into the oven for about twenty to twenty five minutes.
So now we're going to make the rest of the icing.
Three cups crisco.
More butter flavoring.
Teaspoon and a half.
Tablespoon and a half vanilla.
Hate to say it but that butter flavoring smells amazing.
(Music plays) Now, this is how much crisco we used in the whole cake.
That's a lot.
Leraine loves the movie Gone With e Wind .
So much so that my name is Vivian Scarlett.
Vivian Lee played Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind and Leraine was my older sister and had a hand in naming me.
What's your favorite scene in the movie, Leraine?
The dark room with... no, I think it's the red dress.
That one right over there.
These smell great.
And they've stuck to the tin foil which is the best part.
It really is the best part.
While you're at it Vivian.... (laughs) There's something about this icing and this cake together that really reminds me of my childhood.
I think you better get ready to make some red velvet cakes for Christmas this year.
Oh, I'm ready.
It looks awesome Leraine.
That's a very big cake.
That's a big piece of cake!
I remember I cut a piece this big and mom about had a fit.
Mom was always trying to watch our weight.
She still is.
Merry Christmas Leraine.
(music plays) You don't think if we shot that branch it would knock it down?
Yeah that's what I'm saying if I shot straight up right here.
I'm kinda scared for a car to go by.
See the power line in the background there?
That's what happens when you shoot in town.
(Laughter) Everybody knows about mistletoe but I never knew where it came from and I never knew that it was a long standing tradition in the south to shoot mistletoes out of the tops of pecan trees?
Well, I hope we don't get arrested shooting.
No, we don't have any law down here.
We probably have an ordinance about shooting in town... You probably do!
... but as long as you don't try and shoot anybody you're probably going to be alright.
Now that I have this nephew, John Mark and this niece, Whitney who love to hunt, I thought I would kind of build up their morale by giving them something to shoot that doesn't move, mistletoe.
And in case you had any doubt please don't try this at home.
You want to shoot the middle of it?
See how that middle branch is really small right there and it forks?
We're going to shoot the fork.
Oh my god!
Okay, one two three.
So y'all can do this next year too.
Keep your eyes open for it.
Dad's decided to pull up now that we've already done the shooting.
He wanted to be not involved so he could bail us out of jail.
(Laughter) Hey Dad!
They did it.
You know we're having a hog killing on Thursday?
At Warren's house.
Would love for you to come.
We're going to put these weapons away.
Yes, thank you.
Thank you very much.
(Music plays) Kim!
Sorry I couldn't help myself.
You know what this is?
Kim has worked with us since day one and every year I come in here like the Grinch who wants to steal Christmas and she comes in wearing this Santa hat and Santa ear rings and singing Christmas tunes and it's all very annoying.
I love Christmas.
Christmas is my favorite time except for the restaurant.
Except for the restaurant part.
(Music plays) I got everybody a book.
I thought they would enjoy or benefit from.
Thank y'all for all your hard work.
I thought you'd like that, Allen.
Yes, thank you.
(Music plays) I grew up in a Southern Baptist family and my husband grew up in Chicago in a Jewish family.
Ben's mom moved here about a year ago and Ben's sister, Torrey is in school in Durham so this year we decided we would come together and celebrate our first Hanukkah together.
We're gonna light some candles, put 'em in a menorah, sing the Adam Sandler song, and eat some latkes.
Hey Torrey, why don't you tell Flo what you're doing.
I'm making a cookie for you to eat.
Does that sound yummy?
Tonight I'm making Rugelach.
It's a traditional Jewish dessert.
It's a dough kind of like pie crust a lot of the time.
You want it to be light and fluffy.
You need some sort of jelly or jam or something to hold it together.
It's kind of like a crepe in a sense and it comes out as a chewy, delicious, crusty cookie.
I'm making potato pancakes.
You're supposed to eat a lot of fried food on Hanukkah because you fry things in oil and that symbolizes the burning of the candles.
We're gonna go light the menorah.
A "bennorah", yeah!
(Singing) (Singing) That was beautiful.
So what is Hanukkah all about?
The reason for it?
There was a temple in Jerusalem that was destroyed and when the temple was destroyed they had an everlasting light and the light is filled with oil and they lit the oil and it was supposed to last for just one day and it wound up lasting eight days because it took them eight days after the temple was destroyed to get more oil.
And it was a miracle.
So they light the menorah to celebrate the eight nights of Hanukkah, and the fact of the miracle of oil lasting for eight days.
So this is a celebration of light in the darkest time of the year.
(Music plays) You like it?
You're supposed to dip your potato pancake in your applesauce.
Thank you for coming.
Thank you for having me.
(Music plays) So this is Scott Barton.
I often describe him as my mentor.
He was the chef at a restaurant called Voyage or Voyage.
Whatever you feel comfortable saying.
(Laughter) In Manhattan and it's actually where Ben and I met.
This was like 12, 13 years ago and while southern food is very hot and cool now, nobody cared about southern food beyond fried chicken 13 years ago.
Ribs they did.
Maybe ribs, yes.
So Scott was way way way ahead of his time and was really a big part of letting me know that the food I grew up eating ummm had a story to tell.
Hoppin' John is typically something people eat on New Years.
It brings good luck but I'm learning about the holidays y'all so we're doing New Years and Christmas all at once.
And Scott Barton is an expert on southern food traditions so he's gonna show me how to make it the right way... and then I'm going to do whatever I want.
So Hoppin' John quite literally is what?
Very simply it's peas and rice but the idea of peas and rice is one of these survival diaspora foods.
We see it in the Caribbean, we see it in West Africa, we see it in Gambia so it's something that comes with the Africans to the new world, to the Americas.
So you've got hamhock smoked.
Remember that a lot of times with what I guess you could say are provincial or working persons cooking we didn't always have the luxury of having a piece of meat for everybody but we give flavor.
Meat as a condiment.
You feel like you're having some meat even though there's not a meat at the center of the plate.
So it's really about what you have on hand because these are all preserved meats.
They probably would have slaughtered the hog closer to Thanksgiving when it got cooler so this would have been relatively freshly put up.
We're going to have a hog killing in an effort to make corned ham.
It's traditionally a holiday thing.
That sounds nice.
So I'm just gonna put this bacon in here and we're gonna render it and while that's happening we'll dice the onion.
Yeah that looks good.
A tablespoon or two... Just to coat the bottom of the pan to get it going.
So now add the peas to the pot.
These are Seattle red peas.
You can drain those and pour them in a pot with fresh water and take a piece of hamhock.
So we have about three and a half cups of soaked beans I think so how much liquid do I need to add?
I would do about 4 or 5 cups.
Typically when I'm talking to people about cooking I say season as you go, season as you go.
You can't just put salt in the end but with beans the idea is that if you add salt in the beginning it makes the skin tough.
When we're gonna put the rice in you can put salt in it at that point.
So do you think it mattered that I seasoned my onions?
I always do that.
I don't think it's of great significance because you didn't put a lot in it.
Let's hope for the best.
I ruined it in front of my mentor.
(Laughter) Personally, what did you have on your table as a kid growing up at Christmas?
You know my mother's an interesting one.
She wanted to be a chef.
That was her dream.
Hate to say it but in the late 1930s early 1940s New York City a woman and a black woman wasn't really going to see that dream come true.
She was definitely one of the women that followed Julia Child.
So some of our cooking had a French flavor.
I remember a couple of years it was Beef Wellington and she would try to experiment.
There would be experimenting.
And that's a period piece too.
You know, Beef Wellington.
I, you know everybody is going to say this but I don't think there is a macaroni and cheese as good as my mother's.
(laughs) So that was at the holiday table.
If she was pleased with my father she would make oyster stuffing but she didn't like oysters.
So that's one of the things I wanted to ask you about is we call it oyster... we call it dressing.
It's the same thing.
So where do you think the idea of oyster dressing comes from?
I say New England but you have oysters down here too.
Oh I think it's from down here.
We can duke it out.
(Laughter) I'm pretty sure.
(Music plays) The peas you tasted were pretty close to done.
Not completely done but close.
Okay so now I'm just going to pour off the liquid.
Classically it would be the same amount of beans as rice and I don't want a converted instant rice.
I want a standard kind of a 20 minute rice.
If you saw I didn't wash out the pot because I think there's a lot of flavor there.
I'm going to pour my rice right into that pot, okay?
I'm going to stir it up just to coat it.
We're going to pour these beans in.
Alright so we have two cups of our bean broth.
You've added two more cups of water to this to make four cups.
I'm gonna stir it once so we don't have anything sticking at the bottom.
So now we're ready to add salt.
Would you like to do it?
I'm gonna let you do it.
I don't want you to judge me.
I'm not gonna judge you, girl.
So that's gonna get to a boil and we're gonna cover it.
So you're not gonna stir this the whole time?
No no no no it's kind of set it and forget it so to speak.
I don't want to make mushy beans or mushy rice.
This is the think, this is not a soupy dish.
This should be dry.
It should be dry.
(Music plays) That looks good.
It definitely looks like it's kind of baked up from the bottom rather than having been stirred.
Let's try it.
Every grain of rice is separate and the texture is perfect.
It's so earthy and homey and...
It's like a unity of flavor.
You feel everything.
The bean flavor, the rice, the pork, but it's not as if there's a superstar.
No there's nothing overwhelming about it.
Yeah it's a chord.
It's a melody.
I think those look good, Kim.
What Kim's got is basically an updated version of a gumball.
She made a really intensely flavored grapefruit gelee.
I hate that word.
And they were tossing it in a grapefruit sugar so today we're just presenting all these Christmas desserts to our staff.
I'm so excited about these.
(Music plays) Of course I'm excited about making Christmas candy in theory but making it every day and keeping it fresh and making sure every little ol grandma that comes here in doesn't compare my divinity to her divinity has me a little bit worried.
So you've got fudge and the caramel.
Oh my god this is gonna look so awesome.
Are we doing a cake ball too?
If you want to.
I think we have room for it.
It looks so cool.
I feel really great about that.
(Music plays) We do have one longstanding Howard Christmas tradition.
Every Christmas morning we get together and eat air dried sausage with grape jelly, dijon mustard, and canned biscuits and it's the best morning of the year.
So Dad, is this where you've always gotten the sausage.
For the last several years we've come here because this is probably as near as old timey homemade sausage that we've been able to find.
I always remember having sausage biscuits on Christmas morning and I remember one Christmas morning Uncle Bunk lost a tooth in the sausage.
In the sausage.
He put it straight on his plate and kept eating.
(Laughter) (Music plays) How are you doing?
I'm doing good, John.
How bout you?
Hey I'm Vivian.
You want to pick up your sausage.
You got some sausage.
Let's do it.
Let's do it.
So, what are we getting, dad?
We're getting fresh sausage and air dried sausage.
So when you were growing up did Grandma make her own sausage?
She sure did.
We had the family hog killings.
So y'all had your hog killings like around Thanksgiving?
First cold weather.
And then the air dried ummm... let me get this straight.
Y'all hang this air dried?
How do you do it?
You take your fresh sausage.
We just, we got a rack.
We hang it over.
We got a fan blowing on it to dry the moisture out of the meat.
ummm sausage drying Ds that we can see hanging?
Come to the back and we'll show it to you.
Just take the fresh and hang it across.
You actually make the sausage?
This is our granddaddy's secret recipe I guess you could say.
I was just about to ask you what's in it.
Some things even a woman keeps a secret.
(Laughter) We pull up to Whaleys and I'm blown away.
It is a family owned supermarket.
The whole family is working in there.
The sister is making the sausage and know you just don't see this sort of thing anymore.
Families don't run businesses together and people certainly don't make and air dry sausage.
It's not a normal thing and it is so cool.
We've been here all our lives.
Me and my two sisters with our mama and daddy.
And all my children worked in here.
All my oldest sister's children worked in here and now my baby sister's children work here.
It's definitely a family tradition making sausage.
(Music plays) Thank you.
You all have a merry Christmas.
We'll see you next year.
Alright we'll be here.
Mrs. Barwick, who showed me how to make apple jacks, strikes me as the sort of person who can really put together a Christmas table.
So I decided she was probably the perfect person to ask about ambrosia.
Hello, how are you?
Good to see you.
It smells like Christmas in here.
Yes it does.
(Laughter) So ambrosia, I grew up ummm we had it a few times at Christmas.
We always had plenty of oranges.
That's the big thing around here at Christmas.
Everybody gets boxes of oranges from the high school.
High school students sell them.
That's actually when citrus season is.
I have never seen so many Santa Claus salt and pepper shakers in my life.
I got plenty of Santa Clauses out yonder.
We peel the oranges and put the coconut and I got pecans and I got some walnuts.
I am really tearing this orange up.
That's okay we want it tore up (laughs).
Looks like you do a lot of decorating Mrs. Barwick.
We do most of the time but we didn't do as much this year.
I call this a lot of decorating.
(Laughter) This is the first year I have ever put up my own Christmas tree.
I say as an adult.
When I got older I left my tree up.
I never take it down.
So you just light it up part of the year.
I turn it on at Christmas and I got a cord that goes to it that I step on and turn it on.
Alright Mrs. Barwick we've got our oranges mutilated in the bowl.
You like coconut?
I think coconut's like raisins.
You either love it or you hate it.
Yeah that's right.
Did you decide what kind of nuts?
Let's do walnuts.
Let's put about two teaspoons of sugar.
Sprinkle that over it.
Take that for me please and we're going to put about two teaspoons of mayonnaise in it.
I'm a little surprised we're putting mayonnaise in here.
I guess that is...did your mom use mayonnaise in it?
She put something in it to make it a little bit... Creamy.
Two of those?
Oh no no no just one of them.
I forgot we had a big spoon.
Stir it real good.
My mom would have used an old enamel dish pan, we called it to have stirred that in.
Your mother's generation used those enamel pots for just about everything.
Yes she sure did.
Shelling butterbeans to washing clothes.
My dad was a tenant farmer.
We weren't rich but we weren't all that low down poor either.
I didn't realize I was poor because I had plenty of food, a shelter over my head, plenty to wear...
Plenty to eat, I'm sure.
Yeah yeah yeah yep.
Now you wanna taste?
Yes I do.
So you're satisfied?
I actually really like it.
And you know how to make it.
And I think it's better... my sisters I remember had a whole lot of stuff in it.
And I think more mayonnaise than this.
I like how you can' tell there's mayonnaise.
Now when you make it if you want to add something else to it, add it and see how you like it.
Oh I'm sure I'll add stuff because that's just what I do.
And you'll know whether you like it.
Okay thank you.
Thank you very much.
(Music plays) Mommy a cow.
"Cooowww" A cow.
We'll find the cow.
My mom is a woman of deep faith so for her Christmas means one thing.
She's breaking out that manger scene.
It's the cow!
Theo, who is this?
It's baby Jesus.
He was in that house.
Yeah he was in the house, wasn't he?
Who are these three?
I don't know?
They're the wisemen and what did they bring to Jesus?
They bring presents.
They brought presents.
Look at them.
They came to worship and bring gifts.
(Music plays) What are you putting in your pocket?
What are you putting in your pocket?
I putting baby Jesus in my pocket.
He don't fit in there.
(Laughter) He said he don't fit in there.
(Music plays) We decided to wear tacky Christmas sweaters.
Kind of like implement a tacky Christmas sweater I guess contest you could say.
This is our third year doing it.
My sweater lit up last year (laughs) and umm I was gonna wear it again this year but I could not find it so I grabbed the next best thing that I had (laughs).
Alright so what do we have left to plate?
Red velvet cake.
At Christmas time people want red velvet cake and thanks to my sister Leraine I've had 36 years of red velvet inspiration to draw from.
This is ridonculous.
Let me make sure everybody is at the bar.
Alright we're coming guys.
Everybody get to the bar please.
(Music plays) So the first one we'll talk about is this pecan pie.
It's ummm... it's just a white chocolate pecan filling.
Next is a red velvet cake.
We're taking a big chance doing a red velvet cake around here because everybody thinks they can make the best red velvet cake on the planet.
Instead of you know the white icing that you always see we have a chocolate cream cheese icing.
The last one is what I'm most excited about.
This is meant to mimic you know, your mother or grandmother making Christmas candy and packing it in the tins.
So we have a fudge in here that is made with Bailey's and coffee.
Then we have a take on the citrus wedges that you've always kind of seen.
Don't... you don't... Don't judge.
I don't... No it's a texture thing for me.
Oh okay, okay.
And then we have a really cool caramel that's made with our apple preserves and our almost famous peppermint bark.
I don't think you should let anybody out of here in December without getting this.
Does it taste like Christmas?
It tastes like Christmas and Thanksgiving.
Just like everything together.
Great job, Kim.
(Applause) There's a reason women don't make these candies all year long.
It's because a lot of time and energy goes into making Christmas candy.
I mean things like fudge and divinity and Martha Washingtons.
They all take time to craft and we should savor them and appreciate them and eat every single piece.
(Music plays) People did not always go to the Piggly Wiggly and pick up their pork chops and bacon.
Back in the day people came together in late fall and killed hogs and preserved their parts so their family would have something to eat all winter long.
It's just a fact of life.
Not intended to make folks squeamish but a necessary tradition for survival.
Which hog are we killing?
The... the boar.
Aww God I just looked him in the eye.
That's a... that's a scalding bath.
Do you roll the pig over?
Hopefully you just take a man on each side and just roll him back and forth back and forth.
Warren Brothers runs Brothers Farm and he's responsible for much of the produce we serve at Chef and The Farmer.
He's also a great friend of mine.
Lillie works with Warren.
I think she actually runs the show over there and she's responsible for teaching me a lot of cool southern techniques for cooking.
Lillie, this is Bill.
Bill this is Lillie.
He's gonna show us how to corn ham.
Bill Smith, the chef at Crook's Corner in Chapel Hill is the world's most foremost expert on corned hams.
He happens to be a friend of mine so I thought I would invite him to participate in our day long pork extravaganza of butchering my favorite meat.
You know when you google corned ham online you are the authority.
I thought I was the only person that ever heard of it for a while.
It's basically a dry brine... Yeah in short.
With a large piece of meat.
You just have to plan like a week ahead.
It's not even a big deal.
So what's that for, Lillie?
It's to help break the hair down on the hog.
It's got the turpentine.
It helps break that hair down.
(Music plays) What do you think now, Lillie?
150 and rising.
What do usually do it when we... 55 Okay we got five more to go.
Warren, this looks like a redneck bath tub.
I'll pay you 150 bucks to get in it.
I can probably have you one made for 150 bucks.
Ben, you're just in time.
(Laughter) Isn't this amazing.
Alright, so what's next?
I believe it's time to kill the pig.
So tell me what's going to happen now?
I'm going to shoot him and most of the time they go to their knees and that's it.
I mean it's not anything wild or violent.
They're not ready.
They're not ready.
Y'all better get ready cause this...
I mean if I get a shot I got to take it.
Alright here we go.
Be still, be still, be still, be still, be still.
You're going to think differently every time you butcher a pig now.
I figure I owe it to him.
I mean truthfully though if you're gonna go to the grocery store and buy a pork chop and you don't ever see this, you probably shouldn't be buying a pork chop.
(Music plays) Well I've never participated in anything like this before.
You know we get whole animals in the restaurant but they don't have skin on them.
They're not looking at you.
You don't watch it all happen.
It's really powerful.
But you know i've spoken about this before, you know.
We all as a culture value things like the pork chop, really premium parts of the animal, and when you watch something like this it really makes you wanna make use of all of it.
I was gonna say, we must not waste a speck of this poor pig... No, Lord.
We need to eat the hair.
Let it stay there just a minute.
Get it wiggling.
Everybody pull on a corner.
Move the water around.
This what you asked for?
I've been saying that to myself over and over and over again.
(Music plays) I don't even know what to say right now and that's saying something.
I can understand why it took several families to make this whole day happen.
(Music plays) (Music plays) Oh it looks like... You start back there?
(Music plays) Yeah This actually, I love watching this because I didn't know all these little...
I didn't either.
Never in a million years would I know how to eviscerate a pig.
The worst part so far was scraping the skin.
I love Lillie sitting there with a cigarette eviscerating the pig.
It's the tenderloin right there.
Each side is a tenderloin.
Oooh it's so warm.
Alright Allen we're about to lay him out.
We're going to break him down.
(Music plays) So Bill, you're from New Bern?
I am from New Bern.
And you grew up eating corned ham.
I grew up having corned ham.
We had 'em in the winter holidays.
I never thought much about it until I moved away.
When I moved to Chapel Hill, there weren't any.
So my father would put them on the bus for me and send them up.
Where do you think it came from?
Well there's a couple of theories.
I always thought it was the first ham of the season.
You'd have a day like today with lots of pigs.
So it's a short cure so it makes sense it was the ham that got used first.
I said something about it and it was quoted in the newspaper and this woman wrote me a letter.
She said no it was done aboard a ship because it was less of a fire hazard.
Because they would take livestock on a ship occasionally if they were going to be traveling a long time.
It was a way to cure some of the meat without having the hazard of a smokehouse or whatever.
But it preserved it.
But it preserved it.
So anyways after many years of my father sending me these, I was home one time, he said I'm going to take you over to see Gwen at Pak-A-Sak, a grocery store around the corner in downtown New Bern.
So we went down there.
I was expecting this really complicated you know complicated, impossible thing to do.
So she took salt and she did it and said okay.
I said something that good shouldn't be that easy.
So that's all we're going to do?
That's really all we're going to do.
Basically what she told me to do was anywhere a bone protruded in the ham to take a knife and run it down as far as it wants to go.
So that's as far as that wants to go.
And then in here go all the way there.
Then you take your salt and you just ram as much salt down in these incisions you made as possible.
Just with your finger.
But you've never done many corned hams that were any different than this.
No I've only done this and the reason being is it's delicious.
You don't need to do anything else to it.
And I've finally learned to let things alone sometime.
That's a hard lesson.
It's a very hard lesson to learn.
You always try to guild the lily.
But you don't need to do that, always.
Sometimes you do.
Sometimes it's fine.
Pretty much all you do is you put like a thin layer all over the whole thing.
Put it in the fridge and...
I've decided 11 days.
There's a lot of discussion about the length of time.
And then the night before you're going to cook it you wash out these pockets that you stuffed with salt and wash the outside off with cold water and then you put it in cool water and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.
And you cook it low.
I cook it at like 325 for twenty minutes a pound.
And you know obviously most folks are not going to have a hog killing.
After what we've been through today.
So you can go to the grocery store and get something really a third this size.
I think so.
I don't see why not.
I never have but I don't see why not.
Okay so we'll put this in the cooler and start dealing with the rest of this animal.
We've made a big mess.
I was thrilled to learn how simple making corned ham was.
I mean I thought I was going to have to put it in a brine with all kinds of peppercorns.
But really just a little salt and time is all you need and I can not wait to try it out on my family Christmas day.
(People talking) Ohh I gotcha.
Come back here.
(Music plays) This is the annual Mike's Farm Chef and the Farmer trip.
And it's awesome.
Hi darling how are you?
We've been coming here the past few years with our staff and the ones of us who have children bring our children.
We eat this country meal that starts with ham biscuits.
The big thing here is this hay ride that they do every Christmas.
(Music plays) Say hey Grandma.
(People talking) (Music plays) Sure I love decorating my tree and riding on the hay bale, but ultimately I still have a restaurant to run and people get sick, even in December.
Was her stomach cramping?
No she says she just feels really hot and bad.
So Lilly is not feeling well so she is going home.
It's like the day before we close for Christmas and it's just everything is falling apart and I have to work saute, which I haven't done in a long time and I'm extremely out of practice.
You'll do great.
(Laughter) It's going to...
It's going to suck.
We got some cancellations, which normally I wouldn't be happy about that but tonight's gonna go to hell in a handbasket so.
I pulled out the cauliflower.
There should be enough for one quart for a one time batch and the rest will all be for service.
There's already melted leeks down below and grated pecorino is already down there too.
I've already got a water bath down there for 'em.
And also I was putting in the farrow.
The farrow... yeah.
I think that's everything.
Oh my God.
Yeah I'm fine I'm just haven't done this in a long time.
We have several people sick.
I have to work a station and I'm terrified that Ben might have to work the pass.
We just can't work together on that level.
We did cap reservations due to the transitions in the kitchen tonight.
Umm, I think Ben's gonna expo?
She was trying to avoid that.
But it could happen.
It could happen.
All bets are off here.
I typically work at the Boiler Room where I am executive chef but today a couple things have happened so I have basically been tossed in the fire.
Get a few loaves of bread.
Sorry, I got so many lalalala.
I feel the same way.
Oh my god!
This is gonna suck so bad.
We obviously have a lot of folks working out of place in the kitchen tonight and we'll just make sure we take care of them, okay?
Now it's slow clap time.
(Clapping) (Music plays) This is borrowed.
Say I can't wait 'til tonight's over.
I can't wait 'til tonight's over!
(Music plays) Here you've got Brian's world famous farmer's nog.
What's really good about it is it's got orange zest and it has some kind of pepper, cayenne, cinnamon combination around the rim.
It's just fantastic.
Alright, I have the second course.
A tenderoni, no pepperoni.
A tenderoni straight up.
Two strips med rare, one strip medium, and a rabbit.
Sweet potato pizza, a chicken, and a brisket.
Second wave, I doubt they have even started seating them yet but they're going to hit us all at one time like they did before.
Do you think somebody could make me a double espresso with some milk and ice?
Time to wake up.
Yeah I'm tired.
(Music plays) What are y'all doing for Christmas?
Don'ask me to cook anything.
(Laughter) Are you cooking?
I don't cook.
She was so tired when we drug her out of the beauty shop today I didn't know if she was going to make it to Kinston.
(Laughter) Tonight I pulled it together and I was pretty darn proud of myself.
I didn't yell at anybody.
I was not holding the line back.
And I proved to myself I can still do this.
I may not want to but I can still do it.
Ho ho ho.
(Crickets) (Music playing) On Christmas morning my dad and Ben get out at the crack of dawn.
Actually before the crack of dawn because my dad can't wait for a piece of sausage.
This is good sausage.
(Kids yelling) (Music plays) I made Lillie's biscuits this morning.
My family is so critical when it comes to biscuits.
They've been eating perfect little canned biscuits.
Mama, where we going?
We're gonna go to the hut and see everybody and eat sausage biscuits.
(screams) I can't wait!
This year my family all went to myad's nap shack.
That's where he goes to get away and take a nap.
That's where we're gonna eat our sausage biscuits this morning.
(People talking) (kids squealing) All my family's here.
All my family's here.
Is it time to eat now?
Woman It is.
Do you want a biscuit, Flo?
These canned biscuits look awfully puny next to my homemade ones.
I got a big piece.
(Music plays) Everybody is mowing it down my homemade biscuits and those poor little canned biscuits are sitting on a plate by themselves.
You're welcome honey.
Hey, what does that look like?
Y'all remember that wild pig at Uncle Dwight's?
(Children screaming) I love having a big family.
I love having three sisters and all these kids and it's so cool to be a part of that and see the kids playing together.
I feel like such a lucky girl.
(Kids yelling) A whole lot of sausage.
Umm we're having eastern North Carolina traditional Christmas fare.
We're having corned ham, oyster dressing, Hoppin' John.
I know everybody is getting so excited.
(Laughter) It will all be good.
And you're bringing red velvet cake.
(Kids whining) His mother passed away when she was 56 so that was not long after we were married.
Christmas eve and Christmas morning are always a lot of fun for folks and Christmas day there is kind of a little bit of depression lingering in the air and part of that is that I always remember my parents loading up in the car with flowers and going to the cemetery and going to put flowers on their parent's grave.
I think it's really sweet.
This Christmas it's about defining traditions that work for my whole family and I'm excited to see what it is they respond to.
You know we don't have any mashed potatoes on the table this year.
We don't have any rice and gravy.
These dishes that I'm serving tonight like the Hoppin' John, the corned ham, the ambrosia, these are things that mean a lot to our region historically and I want them to mean a lot to my family.
So we'll see how it goes.
(Music plays) Cheers!
I've got food in my mouth.
(Laughter) Leraine, did you have a sausage ball?
It was very good.
What type of salad is that, Vivian?
This is ambrosia.
It's like a take on ambrosia kind of.
What exactly is in that?
It's cucumbers and celery, orange and grapefruit and pomegranate, and a tangerine coconut vinaigrette.
I told her we never had an ambrosia that had cucumbers in it.
You don't eat cucumbers?
I do eat cucumbers.
So what is in that?
I just don't know where either I came from or where y'all came from?
Hey Ben, can you help me slice the ham?
Bill Smith, who is the chef at Crook's Corner in Chapel Hill showed me how to roast it and I just got a little piece off of it and it's really...
I think everybody is going to be really impressed with the ham.
Does anybody want a piece of cracklin?
Mmm that's good.
That's really good isn't it?
Okay Viv it's ready.
Alright everybody we're going to hold hands and Currie is gonna say the blessing.
Dear heavenly father we come together as a circle of friends and family.
We thank you for this season of joy.
We thank you for the fellowship of this family.
We thank you for the opportunity to join together and Lord we thank you for food.
In your name we pray, amen.
Amen So we got oyster dressing.
We have corned ham.
We have Hoppin' John, turnip greens, candied yams, ambrosia.
I know this is grossing all those kids out.
That's why the macaroni and cheese is there.
Sam is first in line and all he has on his plate is macaroni and cheese so far.
Give me a break.
This is ridiculous.
I tasted of the pork.
How'd you like it?
I just want to say thank y'all for coming.
We have our new house over here and I just kind of wanted to establish a new tradition so Merry Christmas.
I love y'all.
(Applause) What do you think, Mom?
Wow, that says a lot mom.
You know, at the end of the day you know it doesn't matter that my family doesn't want to always eat the foods that I want to eat.
It matters that we get to eat them together.
That's why I'm here.
That's why Ben and I live in eastern North Carolina.
That's why we've made this our home.
People ask me all the time, are you glad you moved back?
The answer is absolutely 100 percent yes.
Is the restaurant open tomorrow?
We have like 150 reservations tomorrow.
Wow, no break for you.
(Laughter) (Music playing) For more information on A Chef's Life visit PBS.org/food A Chef's Life is available on DVD.
To order visit PBS.org or call us at 1-800-PLAY-PBS