Wednesday, December 13


Since January 2006, the Southern Foodways Alliance has been working to save the Scotch House. The rebuilding effort has raised $140,000, and over 100 SFA members and friends have volunteered on site to restore Ms. Seaton's home and workplace. As 2006 draws to a close the Scotch House rebuilding project continues, but $20,000 is still needed to complete the work.

Won't you please become a supporter of the Scotch House? You can help by purchasing the first fried chicken plates to come out of the new kitchen.

For your $250 donation, you'll receive a certificate good for two plates of fried chicken at the Scotch House. Redeem them on opening day, or hold onto them longer if you wish. Whenever you're able to visit the Scotch House, Ms. Seaton will fix you a plate.

To register, click here:

Wednesday, November 29


For nearly fifty uninterrupted years, Willie Mae Seaton presided on Saint Ann Street in New Orleans' Seventh Ward, first as the bartender at Willie Mae's Scotch House and then, following an expansion, as the establishment's chef. At one point in its history, the Scotch House topped out at five employees, including Willie Mae's late daughter Lillie, but the proprietress eventually scaled back. "I don't like no big, big restaurant," she explained. Just prior to Hurricane Katrina, Willie Mae's son, Charles, and her grand-daughter, Kerry, tended to the 28 customers the restaurant could accommodate at one sitting, while Willie Mae herself, at 89 years old, fried chicken to a stunning crisp, seasoned red beans with garlic and pickle tips, and simmered okra and tomato into summery gumbos.

Go here to read the interview.
Go here to help rebuild Willie Mae's Scotch House.

Tuesday, November 21


In an effort to document and celebrate our nation's love affair with New Orleans food, Tabasco and the SFA want to hear from you. Tell us your seminal New Orleans food story. Your first taste of oysters Rockefeller. Your initial encounter with gumbo.

Call our digital voicemail service at 888-841-6153 and share your defining memory of dining in New Orleans. You can also share those memories by sending an email to

Once we have assembled a tasty selection, we'll post them online as part of New Orleans Eats, An Oral History Project. Windows users can sample our first batch of interviews here:

Monday, November 20


This past weekend, volunteers worked at the Scotch House to make it ready for Ms. Seaton's return over the holidays. A crew of SFA members and local volunteers labored Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This weekend's work was truly transformative: the tile in the bathroom is almost complete, the baseboards and molding are finished and sealed, and ceiling fans are in place. Her front doors even have a fresh coat of paint.

Ms. Seaton came by to visit around 3 p.m. on Sunday and was delighted with the progress she witnessed. As is customary, she promised every volunteer that she'd fry them a plate of chicken just as soon as her doors reopened.

The restaurant side of the Scotch House still needs significant work, but we're fortunate to have received a truckload of donated kitchen equipment from friends in South Carolina. Work to install a grease trap will begin soon, and once the kitchen's vent hood is in place we'll proceed quickly to install appliances and ready the restaurant for a December opening.

At the very end of the day on Sunday, volunteers moved furniture into the front living room and added a chifferobe and some night stands to the bedroom. Though there's still work to be done, the place is beginning to look like a real home. Crews will continue to labor throughout this week. We'll look forward to turning on the power and finishing up last details with the trim. Locals are making arrangements to help Ms. Seaton move her personal items from storage over the holidays.

A few volunteers took a rest on the living room couch just before leaving. It was an amazing feeling to sit in a finished living room on Sunday afternoon, nearly a year after we made the initial commitment to rebuild.

Thanks to all those involved for painting, tiling, sawing, cleaning, sanding, donating, and cooking. Whatever your project entailed this weekend, or this year, know that you're appreciated.

To see photos from the weekend, visit Leslie Kelly's blog:

As you consider your end-of-year donations, please note that dollars are still needed to fund the completion of this project. A generous benefactor has offered loan support to see the construction through to its end, but we still need to raise $65,000. Please send donations payable to the Gulf Coast Renaissance Fund to GCRF, c/o Southern Foodways Alliance, P.O. Box 1848, University, MS 38677.

Sunday, November 19


On November 14th, SFA oral historian Amy Evans gave a presentation on SFA oral history projects and how to conduct fieldwork to high school students at The Randolph School in Huntsville, AL. Thier teacher, Jennifer Rossuck, has incorporated foodways into her english curriculum. Students study works such as Babbette's Feast, Like Water for Chocolate, and Fast Food Nation. In the spring Ms. Rossuck's students will be resonsible for a final project, for which she hopes they will turn to oral history. If the class accepts this challenge, we look forward to including their work in our online archive. We'll keep you posted on their progress.

PHOTO: Amy Evans (second from left) with students at The Randolph School.

Saturday, November 18


Fred Sauceman, Mary Beth Lasseter, and Amy Evans represented the SFA at the Southern Historical Association's annual meeting held in Birmingham this year. SFA films and oral history projects were well received, as were the yummy brownies from Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q. Thanks to all who stopped by our booth.

Wednesday, November 15


HISTORIC ARKANSAS MUSEUM will host its Second Ever Nog-off, a friendly eggnog competition featuring historic and old family recipes. The festivities will be held Friday, December 8, from 5-8 p.m. Last year's winner was Arkansas Gazette founder William E. Woodruff's light and fluffy eggnog with the nogs of Nicholas Peay and Virginia Mitchell tying for second place. Those interested in submitting an historic recipe or an eggnog story should email the museum at Historic Arkansas Museum is located in downtown Little Rock and is an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.

Tuesday, November 14


It is with great sadness that the SFA shares news that Marie Rudisill passed away on November 3.

Ms. Rudisill was the 2001 winner of the Jack Daniel Lifetime Achievement Award. She was the author if Sook's Cookbook: Memories and Traditional Recipes from the Deep South and the aunt Truman Capote, though most people knew of her from appearances as the Fruitcake Lady on the Tonight Show.

To read more about Marie Rudisill's lifetime of achievements, visit

The St. Petersburg Times obituatory is online:

Thursday, November 2


We'll host our FINAL volunteer work weekend in mid-November. Won't you join us?

We plan to have Ms. Seaton back in her home for the Thankgiving holidays. And her kitchen should be up and running the first week in December. It's a tremendous final push on the rebuilding project, and we need your help.

November 17-19, 2006; Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m.-Noon

Any/all. If you're a warm body, we can use you. And if you're a warm body with construction experience, then we can definitely use you to be a team leader!

E-mail Once the volunteer schedule is settled, we'll send you a program packet with more detailed information.


November 2, 2006

Dateline: St. Ann and North Tonti

Eight weeks have passed since I last updated and things are continuing to plod along. There is good news, there is extremely good news, there is ok news, and--unfortunately--there is a tiny bit of bad news.

Shortly after I last wrote a number of us made the trek to our fair capitol for the opening of Johnny's Half Shell, at which Ann Cashion and her partners generously offered to co-host a fundraiser for the project. Kerry Seaton Blackmon (Willie Mae's great granddaughter) escorted Willie Mae and she spread her inimitable cheer around the room and, as usual, endeared herself to everyone. Her spirits were good, but she is obviously much more frail than she was a year ago at this time.

We returned to New Orleans shortly afterward on two different trips. In mid-September we did some inish work on the framing and the sheet rock started to go up. The first weekend in October, New Orleans was invaded by about 500 Junior League volunteers from all over the country and 50 showed up early on a Friday morning to help with some of the preliminary painting. The paint army scraped and sanded most of the outside and got it covered with primer and a first coat of paint. Because the inside was only fully completed on the residential side, we concentrated on those walls and they were sanded and primed before the weekend was through.

In the "extremely good news" category: A group from Charleston, South Carolina popped up on the radar with a promise to help with equipment needs and followed with a cash donation as well. Two days ago John Egerton, Jr. and I unloaded a brand new stainless steel hood vent section at the Scotch House, and it should be hung in place in the next few days. The truck full of equipment should follow in about 3 weeks.

The group who did our sheet rock work has been retained to help with the rest of the job. They will be starting in the next day or so with work on the floors. A hardwood laminate will go down on the residential side with some tile replacement in Willie Ma''s kitchen, and a terra cotta tile floor will go in throughout the restaurant side. Once this is finished, we can start on the trim and final painting. What this means is that one more volunteer weekend could put us at a great advantage (and save us a little $$$$$).

The "ok" news i referred to so long ago is that we are still about $60,000 short of what we need to finish, so I implore everyone to beat the pavement and help us push this through the last little hurdle we have to get over. Cash flow is not a problem. An anonymous soul close to the project has agreed to help keep the project in the cash it needs to get finished, but it is not a donation. It's only a service... so we have that going for us.

The good news is that we have made a firm decision to push the project through to its end as quickly as possible. We have decided we can get Willie Mae back in the house the weekend before Thanksgiving. There is lots of work to do between now and then, but we are confident that the work can get done between the efforts of the contractor and one last volunteer weekend. To have her home by Thanksgiving has some obvious symbolic implications and I am comfortable with this deadline. For everyone who is interested and able, we will meet on St. Ann Friday, November 17, and work until Willie Mae is sitting comfortably on her day bed. This will be followed, two weeks later on Friday, December 1, with the opening of the restaurant. This is final and, again, I am confident we can achieve this deadline. But it will mean some hard work and a fundraising push.

It was great to see many of you at the symposium a couple of weekends ago, and very reassuring to know that we are still in your minds. With any luck, we should be eating Willie Mae's fried chicken some time in early December and I hope to see everyone there. I honestly cannot imagine anything more glorious.

We'll keep everyone in the loop. One thing we need to consider is furnishing for Willie Mae's house. As it stands right now, there is nothing: no bed, chest of drawers, refrigerator, washer, dryer, etc. We seek donations of items that you can deliver or ship. I will also be spending the entire week after Thanksgiving weekend, before the opening, trying to make sure we finish all of the detail work to get the restaurant ready and will take any help I can get. I have opened enough restaurants not to idealize this opening, so come on!

With my thanks,

Johnny Snack

john currence
city grocery restaurant group
152 courthouse sq.
oxford, ms 38655

Tuesday, October 24


Ken Albala, Series Editor of Food Culture in the US from Greenwood Press, is seeking an author for the volume on African American Food Culture. The book will be 70,000 words due in 12-18 months. Interested authors should have either a PhD or extensive book writing experience beyond recipes, and culinary knowledge is definitely a plus. Please contact Ken at if interested.


Seeking authors on "food and foodways" topics related to North Carolina history. Tar Heel Junior Historian is a nonprofit journal for students in grades 4-12 that has been published by the North Carolina Museum of History since 1962. Our spring issue has this theme, and articles of roughly 1,000 words (scholarly in tone but no footnotes required) will be due around early February. No financial compensation--just the chance to interest young people and their teachers in history, educate them on topics not always found in their textbooks, and point them toward other resources if appropriate (plus ten copies of the finished journal and the chance to get your name out there)! For more information on contributing or to make suggestions, contact editor Lisa Coston Hall at or 919-807-7941.

Sunday, October 1


The SFA and McIlhenny Company present The New Orleans Table: Return and Recollect, a series of events, the final of which will be held at the restaurant Town Hall in San Francisco on November 29. We aim to recollect lost foods and food memories and remind culinary tourists of what the Crescent City has to offer.

Your host is Paul McIlhenny of Tabasco fame. Featured are Leah Chase, the grande doyenne of Creole cookery; Gail and Anthony Uglesich of the beloved restaurant Uglesich's; file maker Lionel Key; and James Beard Award-wining chef John Besh of Restaurant August.

Details on the San Francisco event are forthcoming. Stay tuned to this channel.

The intellectual and cultural backbone of the events will be New Orleans Eats, An Oral History Project, a collection of oral histories from and about those people who create and consume New Orleans food and drink. Look for the collection to grow (and be posted online here) in the months to come as field workers capture the stories of cooks and eaters.

Speaking of stories, we want to hear from you. If you have a defining New Orleans food memory to share, or if you're counting the days until you return to table in New Orleans, tell us what you crave and why by calling 888-841-6153 or emailing


As a part of Bristol's sesquicentennial celebration, East Tennessee State University's B. Carroll Reece Museum will host an exhibit that traces the history of candy-making on both sides of State Street.

Sweetness on the State Line: A Chronicle of Candy-Making in Bristol will run from Oct. 10 through Jan. 31, 2007. An outgrowth of a class project in the university's Foodways of Appalachia course, the exhibit has been developed by Lisa Elliott of Kingsport, a student in the master of arts in liberal studies program and the academic adviser on the ETSU at Kingsport campus.

The exhibit tells the story of candy maker Frank Loudy, 95, who started in business undaunted by the fact that sugar was being rationed. Photographs, artifacts and antique equipment trace the rise of Helms Candy Co., which has become the world's largest producer of medicated lollipops while preserving the decades-old art of making pure sugar stick candy. Many mountain people still declare the healing properties of a box of horehound candy to stave off wintertime colds.

For more information or for special assistance for those with disabilities, call the Reece Museum at (423) 439-4392.

Monday, September 25


SFA member Nancie McDermott is curious about cakes. Read her message below:

I will present a workshop on Southern Cakes at Women Chefs and Restrateurs' national conference in Atlanta this November. I will show slides to illustrate my presentation. If you have photographs or other illustrations you would be willing to share with me, I would be most grateful. Or if you have leads/suggestions for me to pursue on this subject, I would welcome those as well. Both historical and modern images would be of great interest to me.

a) Southern cakes, historical to modern.
b) Cakes in Southern context: people, places, events where cakes play a role, such as scenes of church homecoming, family reunion, birthday, holiday scene.
c) Cakes in Southern commercial setting: bakery display, cafeteria line, military, and/or people cooking or serving cake in such settings.

You could contact me by e-mail ( or by telephone (919) 933-8850. Many thanks for any ideas you might have for me. --Nancie

Tuesday, September 19


SFA-ers may remember Fred Millender, owner of Fred's Best Seafood, for hosting our mullet smoking workshop during the Apalachicola field trip this past summer. Fred had such a good time with everyone at his place that he's sending out another invitation, this time to his birthday party. Fred will celebrate his 80th year at a gathering at the East Point Fire Department Community House from 2:30 -5:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 23. Why have a birthday party at the fire department? He just wants to be safe in case something unexpected happens with all those candles on his cake.

Read about Fred in the Apalachicola Times here:

See his oral history profile in the SFA Apalachicola project.

Monday, August 28


The Scotch House rebuilding project is moving along nicely, thanks to the continued hard work of project leaders like our own John Currence. And now we have a fundraiser on the horizon, thanks to SFA board member Ann Cashion. We hope that you will join us in our fundraising efforts to rebuild the Scotch House.

Grand Opening of Johnny's Half Shell in Washington, D.C.
Wednesday, September 6, 2006 from 6-9 p.m.

Dinner tickets: $100
Sponsorship: $2500
Helping Ms. Willie Mae Seaton: Priceless

To purchase dinner tickets for the grand opening, contact Julie Wadler at

For more info on Johnny's Half Shell, visit

We hope to see you in D.C.!


Cornbread Nation Cuvee, a red and a white, were created and developed by Southern Foodways Alliance member, Mat Garretson.

Mat, along with his wife, Amie and their children are the proprietors of Garretson Wine Company in Paso Robles, California. Proceeds benefit the Southern Foodways Alliance. The wines are not yet available in stores but can be ordered from the winery by individuals and restaurateurs alike.

Here's what Robert Parker said:

2005 CORNBREAD WHITE - 88 Points. The 2005 white (54.4% Viognier and 45.6% Roussanne) possesses crisp acidity, an excellent, textured mouthfeel, no evidence of wood in its honeyed, flowery-scented nose, good body, and fine flavor depth. Enjoy it over the next 12-18 months.

2004 CORNBREAD RED - 89 Points. The 2004 red (65% Syrah, 20% Mourvedre, and 15% Grenache) is a heck of a bargain... Its deep ruby color is accompanied by copious quantities of berry fruit intermixed with herb, licorice, pepper, and spice notes. This ripe, medium-bodied, fruit-driven red possesses considerable soul and character. It should drink well for 2-3 years.

Garretson Wines are a deal! Take advantage of the case discount offered with every purchase. Or, join Club Celeidh and enjoy a 20% case discount plus free shipping.


The Scotch House rebuilding project continues, and it grows closer to completion as we near the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. SFA member John Currence has been a tremendous leader in this effort, and it's his report on progress that we share below. All kudos for a job well done should be directed to Currence and his dedicated crew of volunteers. All checks and offers to be a volunteer should go to Mary Beth, via

Here's your update, from John Currence --

Sunday, August 27, 2006

From the reports of the brave few who took turns laying in the insulation this weekend: The attic of Willie Mae's gets up to around 110-120 degrees up there, so anyone who has anything they need to keep warm...

Yes, I said it... insulation... I realized on the way home from New Orleans last night that we had not done a terribly thorough job of keeping everyone in the loop about what was happening on the corner of North Tonti and St. Ann, much less have we thanked the countless souls who have given up their weekends, spare change, and hearts to the project. This first installment from the front line will hopefully begin to make up for those two shortcomings, though I am reluctant to thank individuals at the risk of insulting those who I will invariably fail to mention.


The first five weekends of the Willie Mae project saw about two-thirds of the demolition completed. When we closed the doors at the end of that first push, hopes were dim as the reality we were facing a gigantic fundraising effort set in. Over the course of the spring and early summer a series of big weekends were organized. The rest of the interior demolition was completed, wiring and plumbing were removed, and by April the structure was little more than a very fragile shell. Remaining doors and windows were falling apart. The bottom four feet of the building were still only covered by the roof felt we had used to wrap the building and cover the wall studs. The original weather board had been removed and a couple of large sections of the exterior walls were exposed. The building was nothing but studs, 80% of its original siding, and a roof. We spent a significant amount of time during these first few months treading water waiting for a couple of groups promising boat loads of cash for Willie Mae. Like the rest of the city, we found that many funding avenues were dead ends and we worked almost exclusively using funds from individual donations.


Starting Easter weekend (which I recognize is not technically Summer, but cut me a little slack... I'm nothing short of scrambled right now) the rebuilding began. An impressive shot of new blood from Birmingham and a couple of regular faces from Nashville descended on New Orleans with a smattering of others, and new wood started to hang. New weather board went up on the outside, inside framing was reinforced, ceiling joists went up on the house side of the building, and a fresh coat of paint went up on the new siding. The James Beard Foundation, after a healthy dose of lobbying, made a healthy donation of money raised in conjunction with the Beard Awards. We were back in the hunt. Several weeks later (Memorial Day Weekend) another group came to town and the rough work on the interior continued. The exterior wall in the kitchen area of the house was reframed and new windows were installed. The dividing wall between the house and restaurant was completed, and the ceiling structure was completed on the house side. On the Fourth of July we pushed our luck and called for volunteers on a vacation once again. The rough-in on the drain work had been laid, and fresh concrete poured throughout two-thirds of the restaurant side. The heavy part of the interior framing could begin. With the strong-backed crews from Birmingham and Nashville, and one ponytailed scalawag from the Lower Garden District, the bathrooms and kitchen on the restaurant side took shape and real forward progress was visible for the first time. In the time since, smaller groups have helped do some detail work with the framing and siding of the building, and the professionals have swept in. A mechanical group has installed the central air and heat and the electricians are about 90% finished with the wiring.

This past weekend the most heroic group of volunteers arrived ready to help. Thanks to a glowing piece in the Times Picayune by Brett Anderson, a group showed up on Saturday (a blisteringly hot Saturday... and I grew up in the Crescent City, so I know how hot they can be) to hang the donated insulation that the Egerton Clan trucked down two weeks ago. These guys (the Egertons and the group who showed up this weekend) all deserve to be bronzed for their efforts. As of Sunday afternoon, the exterior walls were all draped with fiberglass, and the attic floor was covered in an itchy pink carpet. (Side note: for those of you who have not been down, insulation is a novel concept for this particular building...there was not a lick of it in the walls heretofore.) The interior is completely finished forgive one short wall section, pending the plumbers' completion, and the outside of the building needs only a touch up here and there to replace worn siding.

Donations have continued to come in a number of different forms. A lumber company donated a load of plywood which we did not have a use for, and a friend who owns an Ace hardware swapped the ply for electrical supplies to help with the wiring costs. John Besh has remained at the ready, so we remain the most well fed work crew in the recovery effort, hands down. Through a tremendous network of friends who are handy with typewriters, we have gotten more than our share of ink and the checks have continued to come in, helping us limp along.

Willie Mae remains in good spirits. She could not be more grateful to everyone who has helped and, as always, wants nothing more than to get back in the kitchen and get back to work. She is still up the street with her friend Hazel, and she's never without a smile on her face. She looks forward to making the trip to Oxford in October for the symposium, and seeing everyone who makes it down.

Hopefully, on next report, drywall will be gong up and a real time line for opening will be available.


John Currence

Monday, August 14


Photo: Mr. E. W. Mayo receives the TABASCO Guardian of the Tradition Award.

Interested in Camp Nashville happenings?

You'll find BLT recipes from the Tomato Art Fest call for recipes here:

Nashville oral histories are online, too:

Photos from the event, courtesy of Fred Sauceman, are available for download:

Look soon for a posting of steaming versions of the two documentary shorts Joe York filmed.

And, finally, you'll find our survival guide online (in case you want to trace our steps):

Tuesday, August 8


We asked, you told us. The first round of results from our BLT call for recipes is posted online. See them here:

Didn't send an entry, but wish you did? E-mail by September 1 and we'll include your recipe with all the entries we gather at the East Nashville Tomato Art Fest.

Live in/near Nashville and want to participate in the recipe contest at the East Nashville Tomato Art Festival? Then you, too, should e-mail to get details on how to enter your sandwich for the judges' tasting.

Thursday, July 20


Hankering for some 'cue movies? SFA filmmaker Joe York, with support from Union Square Hospitality Group, produced two short films for this summer's Big Apple Barbecue Block Party. Now they're online for you to view.

Dial 'S' for Sausage

Tuesday, July 18


The Southern Foodways Alliance is pleased that filmmaker Joe York will be in New Orleans this week for a special event at the Ogden Museum. MARSAW, York's film on 2005 Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame winner Martin Sawyer, will be one of three featured documentaries on Thursday, July 20, beginning at 6:00 p.m.

To purchase MARSAW, contact Proceeds from the sale of the film will go to the Gulf Coast Renaissance Fund, which is funding the Willie Mae's Scotch House rebuild.

To read more about SFA films by Joe York, visit the SFA films Web site:
For information on the Ogden Museum, including directions, visit

Thursday, July 13


Portions of an oral history project conducted by the Center for Public History at the University of West Georgia, with support from the Southern Foodways Alliance, are now part of our online archive. Click on the link above to read the interviews.

In addition to the interviews that appear on the SFA website, a full collection of more than thrity oral history interviews from the project are archvied in our permanent collection here at the University of Mississippi. Many thanks to the University of West Georgia's Center for Public History for helping to document the baking traditions of the South.

Thursday, July 6


A crew of a dozen or so SFA volunteers spent the long 4th of July weekend working on the rehab of Willie Mae's Scotch House in New Orleans. With John Currence of City Grocery in Oxford in the lead -- and John Besh and company of Restaurant August in New Orleans providing the midday fuel -- they framed the interior of the restaurant.

A report from Currence: "We made amazing headway this weekend. Did not complete the punchlist I had set up, but it was a little ambitious, so I am not close to disappointed. Wrote a whopper of a check for the concrete work and a decent one for the lumber. Now we can get the electrican started."

Stay tuned to this blog for more updates.

AND scroll down for an overview of the project.

Sunday, June 18


The heat of summer approaches. And with the heat come homegrown tomatoes. Bursting with juice. Sweet and fluent. Paired with country-cured bacon and a sheath of iceberg lettuce, the whole affair layered between shingles of white bread.

Last year, at an event in Napa, California, chef John Currence of Oxford, Mississippi, threw down the gauntlet with a fine catfish BLT. We were impressed. So at the August 11-12 Camp Nashville we'll serve catfish BLT's from chef Sean Brock, a onetime Nashville resident now cooking at McCrady's in Charleston, South Carolina.

Though we recognize that the marriage of bacon, lettuce, tomato, and catfish is inspired, we are wondering how you accessorize and improvise your BLT's.

Thus this call for recipes.

Tell us your tricks. Share your embellishments. Send us your recipes and be sure to tell us a story of how and why this recipe came to be. We'll report back later this summer, just in time for the East Nashville Tomato Art Festival.

Please be sure to include your name and a contact address (e-mail and USPS address) with each recipe and story. Submitted entries may be published by the Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi.

Send entries to:

Mary Beth Lasseter
Southern Foodways Alliance
Barnard Observatory
P.O. Box 1848
University, MS 38677

or e-mail to

Deadline for submissions is July 21.

Sunday, June 11



Have plans for your July 4 holiday? Volunteer at the Scotch House in New Orleans! Here's the deal:

We're recruiting semi-skilled laborers within driving distance of New Orleans to volunteer over the July 4 weekend. If you're available any part of Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Monday, we'd love to have you.

The caveat: plumbers are at work on the Scotch House. If they finish their job, we can do ours. If they don't finish their job, we can't do ours. We're waiting on pins and needles to hear of their progress. We want volunteers who are within driving distance, so--if necessary (and we hope not)--we can cancel at the eleventh hour and nobody will be stuck holding a plane ticket.

To volunteer, e-mail by Monday, June 19.


Can't volunteer, but want to help? The pickle brigade has just a few jars of pickles left, and they'd like to sell them all. These pickles have been shipped all over the country, and--to date--pickle money has contributed almost $15,000 to the Scotch House rebuild.

ORDER SOME NOW! E-mail to place your order. Cost is $135/case, shipping included, with checks payable to the Gulf Coast Renaissance Fund. Volunteering and buying pickles? Then we'll get those pickles delivered to you in New Orleans over the July 4 weekend, and the cost is only $120/case.

On behalf of the SFA and the Seaton Family, we thank you for your interest.

Wednesday, June 7


The Edible Schoolyard project is based on the very successful program founded by Alice Waters of Chez Panisse at the Martin Luther King Middle School in Berkeley, California. The idea is to weave food and foodways throughout the curriculum. It has been very successful in Berkeley and we have Alice Waters' blessing to bring it to post-Katrina New Orleans--her first satellite program.

More information is available at the website, which describes the Berkeley schools project. This is an incredible opportunity for the right person. They will have the opportunity to build a program from the ground up, and work with a wonderful school and group of dedicated community people.

Tuesday, June 6


Join the SFA on the streets of New York for the June 10 and 11 Big Apple Barbecue Block Party. Seminars featuring Lolis Eric Elie, Marcie Ferris, Bill Ferris, Pete Wells, Cheryl Jamison, John T Edge and others.

Also documentaries by the SFA's resident filmmaker, Joe York: Whole Hog, a portrait of barbecue in and around Lexington, Tennessee, will enjoy its NYC debut. And two new shorts produced in partnership with Union Square Hospitality Group -- on Big Bob Gibson's of Alabama and Southside Market of Texas -- will premier.

For more information visit

Monday, May 29


30,000 dollars from last month's James Beard Awards are earmarked for the Willie Mae rebuild effort! Problem is, that still leaves us more than 100,000 dollars to go. For the latest from New Orleans, read Brooks Hamaker's article in Offbeat:

And check out the Miami Herald piece from May 27:

Tuesday, May 16


The Florida's Forgotten Coast Oral History Project pays homage to the men and women who have long worked the water, tonging for oysters, casting nets for shrimp and fish, and cultivating soft-shell crabs. People have drawn their livelihoods from the Apalachicola Bay and surrounding waters for generations, but their way of life is changing. These people tell stories of the days when schools of mullet were thick in the water and when tupelo honey was a local find, not a Hollywood star. More than fish tales and folklore, these are the stories of the men and women who have depended on the Apalachicola Bay for generations. They are stories from Florida's Forgotten Coast.

Click on the link above to go to the interviews.

Monday, May 15


SFA member, Amanda Dew Manning and her husband, Robert, have published the first issue of Edible Lowcountry, a publication dedicated to celebrating the abundance of Lowcountry foods, season by season. Robert and Amanda hope to transform the way Lowcountry residents shop for, cook, eat and appreciate local food. Through the magazine and its companion website, consumers are connected with local growers, producers, retailers, chefs, artisans and food-based community organizations.

Edible Lowcountry is a quarterly publication. For more information, call toll free: 877-SCTASTE, or visit

Wednesday, May 10


Lee Bros. Boiled Peanut Hour--sixty minutes of live, totally uncensored southern food talk radio--debuts nationwide this Friday at 10AM EST on Channel 112 (Martha Stewart Living radio) on the Sirius satellite network. SFA's favorite brothers, Matt and Ted Lee, will be taking calls, y'all. Open season. The first topic is Pacific-deep: boiled peanuts.

If you don't subscribe to Sirius (home to Howard Stern, on Channel 100) you can still listen everyone is encouraged to phone in with a helpful hint, self-serving question or rude flameout, entirely toll-free: 866-675-6675.

The following week's show is all about southern cookbooks, and will be recorded live from the Book Expo America conference in Washington. Future shows--recorded from Charleston or Harlem--will tackle more hackle-raising subjects like pie crust, country ham, regional soft drinks, Southern food misconceptions, stewed cabbage, hot pepper cultivation and corn grits (yellow or white?).

Like "Car Talk," this fraternal chatter should be entertaining and informative, even for those who don't own or operate smoked ham hocks. We hope you'll listen in!

Thursday, April 20


In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the SFA catalyzed a series of volunteer-staffed Gulf Coast work projects. They were great successes.

We began January 14, and our efforts are ongoing. SFA members volunteer their time and labor to begin rebuilding Willie Mae's Scotch House, a revered corner cafe in the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans. We've also helped Leah Chase of Dooky Chase restaurant in the same neighborhood.

To see a brief film about Willie Mae and the Scotch House project, go online.


The project is now at a tipping point. Unskilled volunteer labor is no longer needed. What the project needs is money. The projected cost of build-out now tops more than $100,000.

Checks, payable to the Gulf Coast Renaissance Fund, should be mailed to Mary Beth Lasseter, Southern Foodways Alliance, P.O. Box 1848, University, MS 38677. The fund is managed by the University of Mississippi Foundation, and contributions are tax deductible.

Read about this project:
See the PI:
See the MCA:,1426,MCA_532_4493711,00.html See CBS Evening News:
See the NYT:
See the AJC:
See the Gambit:
See the DMN:
See USA Today:

On the weekend of February 10, volunteers from Viking Range joined us, focusing their efforts on Dooky Chase. Viking also donated hotel rooms at the Monteleone for the February 3 and February 10 weekends.

To see photos from weekend one:
To see photos from weekend two:
To see photos from weekend three:
To see photos from weekend four, a grimey birthday weekend for Mary Beth:
To see photos from weekend five:

Commercial Appeal writer Leslie Kelly worked the final weekend. See photos and read her reports from the city:

Monday, April 17


The Mississippi Delta Hot Tamale Trail offers cultural tourists a complete guide to a unique culinary experience, and we want you to join us. Head to the Mississippi Delta, which has been called "the most Southern place on earth" for its unique history, music, culture, and yes, its food. The Tamale Trail Tour will make stops in Clarksdale, Cleveland, and Rosedale. We'll visit with a handful of vendors in each locale. We will talk about the history of hot tamales in the area, get some lessons in making hot tamales, and, of course, eat some hot tamales.

Tour guide for this event will be Amy Evans, the oral historian for the Southern Foodways Alliance and chief architect of the Tamale Trail. Food & Wine named Amy one of the "top 35 under 35" to watch, and her interviews with Doe's Eat Place in Greenville recently won the Elbert R. Hilliard Oral History Award. The Hilliard award was established last year by the Mississippi Historical Society to recognize outstanding work in oral history, and is named for the retired head of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History for his diligent support of the medium.

The Southern Foodways Alliance and Viking Range Corporation created the Mississippi Delta Hot Tamale Trail, an effort to document the history, tradition, and culture of hot tamales from Tunica to Vicksburg. Visit the project online at

This Tamale Trek is sponsored by the Southern Foodways Alliance and the Office of Outreach at the University of Mississippi. Registration cost is $75 per person. The fee includes bus transportation, presentations and, of course, tamales. Download an online registration form and order your hot tamale t-shirt here:

Wednesday, March 29


Dooky Come Back: Holy Thursday Gumbo Z'Herbes Luncheon
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Help Get Leah Chase back in Her New Orleans Kitchen

Proudly hosted by MURIEL'S, 801 Chartres Street, NOLA

Menu: gumbo z'herbes, fried chicken, bread pudding with whiskey sauce
Wines: Ravenswood Winery, Simi Winery, Caymus Winery, Sequoia Grove Winery, and Perrier-Joulet Champagne


* Roux: Traditional gumbo z'herbes Lunch $75
* Dooky Donor: Commemorative autographed poster; traditional gumbo z'herbes lunch $150.
* Holy Trinity: Leah Chase cooking class at Savvy Gourmet; commemorative autographed poster; traditional gumbo z'herbes lunch $300.
* Gumbo Z'Herbes: entertainment provided by Leah Chase Kamata; invitation to Grand Re-opening of Dooky Chase Restaurant; commemorative autographed poster; traditional gumbo z'herbes lunch $500.

All proceeds benefit the rebuilding of Dooky Chase. For a reservation, please call 504-568-9021. If you are unable to join us but would like to make a contribution, please contact

Listen to Lolis Elie, who says, "n those days before integration, when we needed a place to meet and eat and plan a future for our city that would include all of us, her doors were open. When we wanted to keep the Thursday before Easter Holy, we came to her for green gumbo and fellowship, and a reminder of those old Creole traditions that we might otherwise have forgotten. When we needed support for our community or just a kind word and a smiling face, we went to her. Now that the winds and waters of the recent hurricanes have left Dooky Chase battered and in disrepair, Leah Chase needs us. She intends to rebuild that once grand restaurant. We hope you will join us in helping her."

Friday, March 24


The SFA's own Amy Evans was recently chosen as the first recipient of the Elbert R. Hilliard Oral History Award for an oral history project on Greenville-based restaurant Doe's Eat Place. The award was established last year by the Mississippi Historical Society to recognize outstanding work in oral history, and is named for the retired head of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History for his diligent support of the medium.

It's an exemplary project; they were diligent in following the principles and standards of doing an oral project while still being innovative, said Stephen Sloan, chairman of the Mississippi Historical Society's Oral History Committee, which chose the winner.

Tuesday, February 14


By Wendell Brock, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 02/14/06

The granddaughter of a Virginia slave, Edna Lewis created a gastronomic temple out of a tiny New York cafe and served such 20th-century luminaries as Truman Capote, Greta Garbo and William Faulkner.

A culinary purist, she milked her own cows, walked blocks to find the perfect peach and could tell when a cake was ready by "listening" to it.

By the time of her death early Monday at 89, she had become the South's answer to Julia Child, influencing a generation of cooks and writers who were eager to preserve the region's vanishing food culture.

To read more:

To read the New York Times article by Kim Severson and Eric Asimov:

To share your recollections on an AJC Blog:

Sunday, January 22



The Ruth U. Fertel Foundation -- established in the will of the founder of the Ruth's Chris Steak House fine dining chain -- has announced grants and pledges of $1.2 million to New Orleans education in the next year, including public, private and parochial schools; special programs designed to serve students from kindergarten through college; and other high-impact educational initiatives.

These funds honor Ruth's memory and do what she would have done – help New Orleans recover from the ravages of Hurricane Katrina by supporting its educational institutions. The Southern Foodways Alliance which annually pays homage to an unsung hero or heroine of the food world with the Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame Award, is conducting a post-Katrina culinary oral history project financed in part by The Ruth U. Fertel Foundation. For more information,

Wednesday, January 11

Tabasco and SFA Team to Raise NOLA Awareness

The Southern Foodways Alliance is teaming up with Tabasco sauce, Louisiana's culinary native son, to raise awareness of the resurgence of the New Orleans food scene and encourage Americans to come back and support one of America's most unique culinary meccas.

In a series of special events in select cities across 2006, this team of southern culinary institutions will showcase some of the most interesting and unusual foods born of Cajun and Creole cultures at open-to-the public tastings and hands-on demonstrations.

The calendar will be announced in early spring 2006. Soon more information will be available at and

Tuesday, January 10

Fixin' to Eat: A Celebration of Southern Chefs

Please join us for an evening of true Southern Hospitality as Garretson Wine Company presents Fixin' to Eat: A Celebration of Southern Chefs. Each of our five-part dinner series features a nationally-acclaimed Southern chef who will prepare a five-course, Southern-inspired menu featuring food products from their native state. To accompany the sumptuous array of foods, guests will not only enjoy select Garretson wines, but also special offerings from Mat Garretson's guest winemaker.

Seating for each Fixin' to Eat dinner is limited to 80 persons, and the cost is $150 per person. Proceeds from each event provides funding for both the Southern Foodways Alliance's Oral History Initiative (details available at, as well as for Autism services within San Luis Obispo County. Discounted tickets of $130 are available for those patrons who purchase either a table of eight or a seat at each of the five dinners.

Here's our lineup for 2006:

Saturday, February 18, 2005
Hugh Acheson
Five & Ten, Athens, Georgia

Named one of America's Best New Chefs by Food & Wine in 2002, Hugh Acheson follows his own creative style merging soul food with Old World Cuisine. With no formal training, Acheson fine-tuned his craft while working with chefs in some of the most prominent restaurants in North America. He trained under Rob MacDonald from the Mobil Four-Star restaurant, Cafe Henri Burger in Ottawa, Mike Fennelly at Mecca in San Francisco and Gary Danko at Restaurant Gary Danko, also in San Francisco. Acheson describes Five & Ten as "unpretentious American food --good food, good wine and that's it."

Guest Winemaker: Larry Turley, TURLEY WINE CELLARS, Napa & Paso Robles, CA

Saturday, April 15, 2006
John and Amy Malik
33 Liberty, Greenville, South Carolina

33 Liberty, the seven table restaurant owned by husband-and-wife chef team John and Amy Malik, offers the Malik's unique brand of global comfort food served with Southern hospitality. The weekly changing menu features stellar, signature dishes created with organic ingredients from local purveyors. The Maliks met at the Culinary Apprenticeship Program at Delgado Community College in New Orleans, beginning their joint culinary careers. With over 15 years experience in the restaurant and hospitality industries, John Malik has moved effortlessly from chef/innkeeper, to a much touted restaurant chef to a sought after Food Network personality, to a thriving restaurant owner and chef. The couple's salt-of-the-earth yet elevated style of cooking has gained numerous accolades from magazines such as Bon Appetit, Saveur, Food Arts and Chile Pepper.

Guest Winemaker: Brian Loring, LORING WINE COMPANY, Lompoc, CA

Saturday, June 17, 2006
John Currence
City Grocery, Oxford, Mississippi

In 1992, John Currence opened City Grocery, the first of several successful culinary ventures. Using local and seasonal ingredients as the backbone of his menu, Currance's style of cooking is described, by Food & Wine, as a "playful but elegant take on Deep South cuisine." His culinary career began under the training of Bill Neal at Crooks Corner in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where he learned to blend the techniques of classical French with the traditional Deep Southern American cuisine. From there he headed to New Orleans where he worked at city favorites--Gautreau, Brennans, Mr. B's Bistro and Commander's Palace. Currence and City Grocery have been recognized as on of the top restaurants in Mississippi by publications such as The New York Times, The Atlanta Journal/Constitution, The Los Angeles Times, The London Times, Southern Living, USA Today, Bon Appetit and Food & Wine. In Spring 2005, Currence was nominated for the James Beard Foundation's Outstanding Chef--Southeast.

Guest Winemaker: Bob and Louisa Lindquist, QUPE WINE CELLARS

Saturday, July 1, 2006
Bret Jennings
Elaine's on Franklin, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Considered one of the Triangle's top chefs, Bret Jennings opened Elaine's on Franklin in November 1999 based on the restaurant's motto: "Fresh ingredients. Seasonal Cuisine." He credits influences such as his grandmother who taught him how to make her angel biscuits and red-eye gravy, the kitchen secrets he learned in Thailand, visits to remote mountain villages in Mexico and his stage at the Taillevent in Paris for his signature culinary style. The influence of training with two of America's top chefs, Ben Barker of Durham's Magnolia Grill, and Bob Kinkead of Kinkead's in Washington, DC, also is apparent in his approach to cooking. Elaine's consistently receives rave reviews from regional and national publications and the restaurant received the coveted Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for its wine list in 2001.

Guest Winemaker: Jason Haas, TABLAS CREEK VINEYARD, Paso Robles, California

Saturday, August 19, 2006
Alan Martin
Standard Bistro, Birmingham, Alabama

Contemporary Southern cuisine is the focus of the Standard Bistro, using the highest quality ingredients from local growers, farmers and fisherman with Executive Chef Alan Martin at the helm. Martin graduated from the Culinary Institute of Atlanta honing his skill at Highlands Bar and Grill, Bottega, Victoria Inn and Metro Grill, all in Birmingham. His philosophy of cooking is to seek out the highest quality ingredients, prepare them simply, yet creatively, balancing flavors and textures to show the natural beauty and character of the ingredients. Since opening in July 2002, the Standard Bistro has acquired notable attention from several publications such as Southern Living, Wine Spectator, Birmingham Magazine, and Birmingham Weekly and was featured on the Food Network's "Top Five" program.

Guest Winemaker: John Elkins, TORBRECK VINTNERS, Barossa Valley, Australia

To make a reservation, get a copy of the Fixin' to Eat brochure, or for more information, please call 805-239-2074 or email

Sunday, January 8

O'Neil Broyard 1937-2005 *UPDATED*

O'Neil Broyard, the wonderfully eccentric owner of New Orleans' well-known Saturn Bar, passed away on Thursday, December 22nd. The SFA heard from O'Neil's nephew, Eric Broyard, who said that O'Neil's heart just gave out. Last we knew anything about O'Neil, he made it through Hurricane Katrina and was in the process of cleaning up his beloved Saturn. He will be missed, and our condolences go out to all of his friends and family--at home and at the bar.

O'Neil's family is organizing a gathering to be held in his honor at the Saturn Bar on Saturday, January 28th, from 11:00 a.m. until about 2:00 p.m. We'll be sure to post more details as they are available.

Some good news: We also have word that O'Neil's nephew, Eric, is going to be doing all he can to get the Saturn up and running again, with a possible official re-open date in the next couple of months.

You can read our interview with O'Neil Broyard, which is part of our Bartenders of New Orleans oral history project, by clicking the link above.

Friday, January 6

SFA Founders Oral History Project

In the fall of 2004, through generous support from Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q of Birmingham, Alabama, the SFA launched its Founders Oral History Project. This important undertaking will forever preserve the history of the SFA through interviews with the organization's fifty founding members. By recruiting SFA members and friends in locations across the country to conduct the interviews, SFA supporters have had the opportunity to be more actively involved in the SFA's mission--and its history. To date, more than forty interviews have been collected, six of which have just been added here to our online oral history archive (click on the link above to read the interviews). Completed interviews will be added regularly so please check back often.

Thank you to all of our members and friends who made this project possible.