Yes, Valaree Stanley knows seafood, after growing up on the Newport River and cooking the catch for more than 80 years in Carteret County. But she knows what tastes good after a hearty seafood meal too. Cake.
The baby of 13 children, Stanley got her start in the kitchen at about age 7 or 8 by watching her mother and older sisters, especially Alice. Alice loved to bake cakes from scratch, even making her own butter, and to sell them at the Morehead City curb market, which opened in 1935.
“Some weeks we sold as many as 125 cakes,” Stanley recalls. Cottagers and locals alike clamored each week for their cakes – chocolate, lemon, jelly, coconut, pineapple, German chocolate, devil’s food with white caramel icing and more. Stanley and her sister, who became known as “The Cake Lady in Carteret County,” sold their mouth-watering goods at the market for almost 60 years, until Alice was in her nineties. “I got three children through college with money making cakes,” Stanley notes.
Note: Stanley passed away on Nov. 18, 2011. Read her obituary here.
Find out more about Valaree Stanley 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.