Jan Gillikin | Southern Foodways Alliance arrow left envelope headphones search facebook instagram twitter flickr menu rss play circle itunes calendar

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. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to annemarie@southernfoodways.org.

< Back to Oral History project: Saltwater South: Harkers Island, North Carolina


Jan Gillikin

Sarah Janet Willis Gillikin, born in 1939, is a Harkers Island native. 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 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 married Walker Gillikin in 1957, and enjoyed fifty-seven years of marriage until his death in February 2016. Mrs. Gillkin is the mother of Craig Gillikin, Willa Rothrock, and Jonathan Gillikin.

Date of interview:

Keia Mastrianni and Mike Moore

Keia Mastrianni

Download Transcript



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.


Alex Raij Txikito

Let’s Stay in Touch

Sign up for the SFA newsletter to have the latest content
delivered directly to your inbox.