BY MEGAN SOULT
The Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center usually participates in the N.C. Seafood Festival weekend during the Blessing of the Fleet, but this year, the museum’s Morehead City store will host events throughout the festival weekend.
The N.C. Seafood Festival is Friday-Sunday, Oct. 4-6, and the Morehead City store at 806 Arendell St. will host book signings by Chef Ricky Moore of Saltbox Seafood Joint in Durham and an exhibit by Down East photographer Susan Mason.
Mr. Moore will sign copies of his cookbook, Saltbox Seafood Joint, from 2-4 p.m. Oct. 5, while Ms. Mason’s exhibition, “At Water’s Edge,” will open with a reception from 2-4 p.m. Oct. 6.
Mr. Moore was born and reared in New Bern, where catching and eating fresh fish and shellfish is what people do.
“Ricky was Core Sound's first guest chef for the summer taste in 2018 and what a night that was,” said CSWMHC Executive Director Karen Amspacher in an email. “Folks are still talking about the good food and his excitement in serving all of us many of our shared favorite summer seafood dishes.
“Ricky is an eastern North Carolina treasure and we are honored to have him at 806 during the seafood festival weekend. He knows and understands the value and taste of LOCAL and we welcome him to be part of our seafood celebration,” she continued.
In Mr. Moore’s cookbook Saltbox Seafood Joint, he tells the story of how he started his restaurants and food truck in Durham.
Mr. Moore, a formally trained chef, was led by a culinary epiphany in the wet markets of Singapore to start a restaurant focused purely on the food inspired by the Carolina coast and its traditional roadside fish shacks and camps.
The cookbook features 60 recipes that celebrate his coastal culinary heritage. In the book, Mr. Moore instructs cooks how to prepare Saltbox Seafood Joint dishes.
The cookbook is written along with K.C. Hysmith and explains how to pan-fry and deep-fry, grill and smoke and cook up soups, chowders, stews, grits and seafood.
Charts and illustrations in the book explain the featured types, availability and cuts of fish and shellfish used in the recipes.
Ms. Mason’s exhibition starts with a reception that takes place after the Blessing of the Fleet. It will run through January 2020.
“Susan has become one of Down East’s most important artists, writers and believers of Core Sound’s beauty and we welcome her to our ‘Southwest Gallery’ upstairs at 806,” Ms. Amspacher said. “Her photography will help us welcome fall with its many images of wildlife and the working landscape of Core Sound.”
Ms. Mason graduated from East Carolina University and taught secondary school for 26 years - the last 21 of those were spent teaching in Inupiaq villages in Arctic Alaska.
She has worked as a free-lance illustrator in North Carolina and Alaska and has illustrated several Inupiaq-language books, and children's books, including The Owl and the Red Fox, Similes for Mother and The Little Turkle.
She was selected to produce the 2007 White House Christmas Ornament for Cape Lookout National Seashore and the 2008 N.C. Seafood Festival poster, and her painting “The Fisherman” was selected as Best in Show 2010 by the Coastal Pastel Society.
Ms. Mason’s pastel drawing Washed Ashore was recently juried into the N.C. Pastel Society – On Common Ground: From the Mountains to the Sea.
She is also a is a member of Carteret County Arts and Crafts Coalition, the Carteret County Arts Council and Craven County Arts Council.
Ms. Mason grew up Down East, and the area is the inspiration for her exhibition.
“Down East is an area of exceptional beauty,” she said in a recent release. “Every day, I have the opportunity to see people, animals and especially the birds going about their lives with Core Sound as a backdrop.
“I wake in Atlantic and see the sun rising over North Core Banks. Shadows pass overhead and I look up to see pelicans and blue herons starting their day. I hear the sound of a boat engine and look to see the path created on Core Sound by the ‘wake’ as a commercial fisherman starts his day.
“Walking down the dock at Atlantic Harbor of Refuge, I see old fishing boats and items fishermen use to work the water resting in a cultural still life. I stand on North Core Banks and look to my left and right and I will often not see another person,” she continued.
“I do not know many places where you can watch a blue heron, pelicans, gulls, an osprey, eagle and red fox all in one day. All this imagery is tied together by Core Sound. Core Sound has colored our existence. On a good day, indescribable beauty exists.’
For more information about these events, call the museum at 252-728-1500.
Photographs by Susan Mason will be on display at 806 Arendell St., Morehead City, starting Sunday, Oct. 6. The artwork is a part of the “At Water’s Edge” exhibition. (Susan Mason photos)