A love of food and family run so deep in Betty Motes’ life that no line can divide them. Like many coastal North Carolina families, Motes’ mother and father farmed and fished, grew vegetables, and raised hogs and chickens to make a living.
“I grew up an only child in a home where good food was a way of showing love,” Motes says. “I didn’t learn to cook while growing up because the kitchen was my mother’s sanctuary.” But she watched, carefully, and learned the ways of the farm and food.
“My mother cooked fish at least once or twice a week, but they were always fried except for a baked flounder with bacon, potatoes and onions once in awhile,” she recalls. “We went clamming in the summer and bought oysters in the winter. We caught our own hard crabs in the summer. … My daddy loved soft crabs.
“We also canned fish roe, which we ate with eggs from our own chickens, for breakfast. My daddy went down to the menhaden fish boats in Beaufort and broke the fish to get the roe. Many in Carteret County did this.”
Find out more about Betty Motes and her fellow Nutrition Leaders in Mariner’s Menu: 30 Years of Fresh Seafood Ideas. It is available from North Carolina Sea Grant by calling 919/515-9101 or 252/222-6307, from your local bookstore, or from UNC Press.