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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region.

ORAL HISTORY

Jan Gillikin


Sarah Janet Willis Gillikin is a Harkers Island native born on March 27, 1939. Most people who know “Miss Jan,” know her food well. Her crab cakes and milk pies are notable in Carteret County. She is a celebrated cook and a prolific contributor to Island Born and Bred, one of the island’s most lauded community cookbooks, written by the women of Harkers Island United Methodist Church.

Published in 1986, the book is a vivid portrait of the Harkers Island community, filled with island history, memories, and recipes. Mrs. Gillikin credits her home economics class at Smyrna Consolidated School for the encouragement of her cooking life, where she learned to play with recipes, adjusting and tweaking them to her liking.

She was married to Walker Gillikin in 1957, and enjoyed fifty-seven years of marriage until his death in February 2016. Mrs. Gillkin is the mother of three children: Craig Gillikin, Willa Rothrock, and Jonathan Gillikin.

Date of interview:
2016-05-01

Interviewer:
Keia Mastrianni and Mike Moore

Photographer:
Keia Mastrianni

Download Transcript

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.

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