Cozy Corner Restaurant in Memphis, TN
Photograph by Rien Fertel, 2008
SFA member Rien Fertel is spending the summer in Tennessee, revisiting the barbecue joints that are part of our Memphis and Rural Tennessee barbecue oral history projects. Those projects, which were conducted back in 2002 and 2003, respectively, were our first efforts at collecting the stories behind the food. And, since we were new to this thing called oral history, the stories were short and the projects thin. So Rien is in the field, following up with all of the folks we spoke with a handful of years ago, and he already has a lot to report: one place has burned, others are closed, and the whole hog tradition in rural Tennessee is dying out. But other places are still going strong, such as Memphis's Cozy Corner Restaurant, pictured above.
This is the first opportunity we've had to revisit a project and, while the changing face of barbecue is a sad reality, our celebrations of the people who have dedicated their lives to the craft of 'cue have become much more. Some of them are records of stories long past. They are history.
The new interviews will appear online as part of our Southern Barbecue Trail in the coming months.