NC chef shares story of famous pie, President Reagan’s approval


Albert Cowan has been working at Southern Salt in Morehead City for many years and has been cooking even longer.

Southern Salt is Carteret County’s oldest restaurant with a new twist — formerly known as Capt. Bill’s Restaurant.

One day sticks out for Cowan the most in his cooking experience and the memory of that day sits in his right hand pocket. It’s a special matchbook he carries around with him every day. Until just now, he hasn’t talked much about why he has the matchbooks.

It was a gift from then-President Ronald Reagan. He received that and some other items after making one of his famous lemon pies. But it took some convincing.

“I got a phone call one day,” Cowan said. “The owner, John Poag, said, ‘Albert, you have a call from the White House.’ ‘What White House, John?’ He said ‘The one in DC.!’ I said ‘John Poag, I don’t have time. I’m too busy right now. He looked at me real serious and said ‘Albert, this is the truth.'”

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