Tuesday, August 30

Highlight from the SFA's oral history archives

This is the first in our on-going series of interview samples we'll be posting here each month, highlighting work from the SFA's Oral History Initiative.

"I always used to tell folks, making hot tamales is like making corn whiskey, you'll never get the same thing out twice. Makes no difference what you do, it won't come out the same twice." --Shine Thornton

Shine Thornton of Greenville, Mississippi, has been making hot tamales for twenty years. He named his business "Maria's Famous Hot Tamales" after his wife of fifty-six years, Mary Thornton, whose family is from Palermo, Sicily. The image above is of Mr. Thornton in his kitchen at home, holding a photograph of he and his wife, which was taken around the time of their marriage.

This interview is part of the Mississippi Delta Hot Tamale Trail project. Interview and photograph by Amy Evans.

Monday, August 22

Mmm, Bacon...

In preparation for the SFA's big bacon extravaganza in Louisville next month, Camp Bacon, SFA oral historian Amy Evans is on the road, documenting bacon producers in Western Kentucky. Salt, sugar, patience and family-old traditions have made this part of the South a bacon-lover's paradise. The oral histories Amy is collecting will be featured at Camp Bacon and will also appear here on the SFA website in the weeks to come. Hear tell of hog killin's and blue ribbons that will make you want to run get your skillets warm.

Monday, August 15

Nashville's Tomato Art Festival was great fun! SFA folks were everywhere: Jim Myers served as a judge in the recipe contest; Ronni Lundy signed her book In Praise of Tomatoes; Mary Beth Lasseter collected tomato stories from the crowd. What did we learn? Most people like their tomatoes red off the vine, sliced thick, and served on white bread. SFA members, mark your calendars for 2006. This event is NOT to be missed. East Nashville, thanks for a great festival!

Wednesday, August 10

SFA at Nashville's Tomato Art Festival

The SFA is excited to be a part of the 2005 Tomato Art Festival in Nashville this Saturday, August 13. The event features talks on heirloom tomatoes, an art exhibition, and--best of all--a Bloody Mary contest. Mary Beth Lasseter will be on hand to record oral histories, stories of our favorite tomato recipes and gardening tips. Look for her wandering amongst the crowd through the weekend. See more details and a full schedule of events at www.tomatoartfest.com.

Day at the Docks, Sept. 17

Curious about how that spanish mackerel fillet or that wahoo steak made its way from the sea to your favorite seafood market? Come to Day at the Docks - A Celebration of Hatteras Island Watermen at the harbor in Hatteras village (NC) on September 17, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more info, contact Susan West at ridgeroad@earthlink.net.

Friday, August 5


Recently appointed as the SFA's full-time oral historian, Amy Evans was also recently nominated by the Mississippi Arts Commission to be included in SouthernArtistry.org, an on-line registry "designed to raise awareness of the South's artistic excellence and diversity." Amy's oral history work is featured under the category of Folk/Traditional-Oral and features a sampling of SFA documentary projects. We hope you will take some time to explore the site, as it is a wonderful resource for many creative disciplines and a fantastic outlet for showcasing the SFA Oral History Initiative.