Saturday, January 31


A crew of Southern writers -- Sheri Castle, Marcie Ferris, Debbie Moose, John Reed, Dale Reed, Bill Smith -- will share insights into food traditions of the region on February 15 in Chapel Hill, NC. Tickets are $50, with proceeds going to support the NC Writers’ Network. 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. at the Horace Williams House, 610 Rosemary St.

Thursday, January 29


SFA offers a Skillet Brigade salute to The Ramey Agency of Jackson, Mississippi. They regularly encourage staff to volunteer time for community projects, and this year they're working closely with Stewpot in the Capital City. Stewpot began as a soup kitchen, but now offers over 17 programs to assist families with food, clothing, and housing needs.

There are currently three work dates on the books for Ramey staff to serve lunch at Stewpot:
Friday, February 13
Friday, May 8
Friday, September 11

Ramey invites fellow SFA members in the Jackson/Central MS area to join them on these work dates. They have all the hands they need on February 13, but if folks are available for the later dates and want to help, they should e-mail Ellen Carr at for more information. To see the group in action, visit here. SFA thanks you for your service spirit!

Tuesday, January 27


We heard from a number of members -- from Georgia, through Mississippi, to Texas -- who have been volunteering for culinary service projects. (Look for details, forthcoming, here, on the blog.)

Your contributions to the greater good are inspiring. And the SFA is honored to play some small role in celebrating ongoing work and catalyzing new work. Thus our Skillet Brigade effort.

There is still much work to do. In recognition of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, in acknowledgment of the good work done in communities across our region, and taking into account the issues of race and class that still vex us, Tom Philipott, of North Carolina, wrote a short piece about the interplay of social justice and food systems. It's worth a read.

Monday, January 26


The interviews from our Florida's Forgotten Coast oral history project are now part of the Voices From the Fisheries online database, a central repository for consolidating, archiving, and disseminating oral history interviews related to commercial, recreational, and subsistence fishing in the Unites States and its territories.

Read more about this collaboration or search their database to learn about "the human experience of the fisheries of the United States."

Tuesday, January 20


SFA's Skillet Brigade shares the story of SFA corporate member Leigh Vickery, of Leigh Oliver's. Leigh volunteers in her hometown of Tyler, Texas, with the local Boys and Girls Club. Each year, for the past three years, they've hosted a Thanksgiving dinner that feeds almost 700. Local churches, schools and businesses donate food and supplies, while Leigh and friends round up volunteers to prepare and share a meal together. Oliver notes, "This event means so much to us because there is no purpose behind it but to just be together and share a table." Leigh's also started a cooking class at the Boys and Girls Club, where she works with preteen and teenaged girls to teach them kitchen basics and etiquette. The classes culminate in a meal that the group cooks for family and friends. Leigh shares that the girls absolutely love working in the kitchen, and it's rewarding to see the confidence building that the project offers, especially when their creations are showcased at big events. SFA applauds the efforts of Leigh and her colleagues, and we offer her a Skillet Salute!

Friday, January 16


The Sweet Home Dream Pie Social will take place at Sweet Home Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, on Saturday afternoon, January 17 from 2-4 pm.

This event includes a Silent Pie Auction to raise funds for a Handicap Access Ramp at Sweet Home, a Dream Pie Contest, songs by the Sweet Home Choir, a recitation of Dr. King's “I Have A Dream” speech by school children, and “Tell Us Your Pie Stories” - an oral history project to savor our pie memories for future generations.

Sweet Home Baptist Church
1725 W. 11th Street
Austin, TX

Questions? Contact Luanne Stovall, 617.816.0270.

Monday, January 12


Roll up your sleeves and join SFA's Skillet Brigade. It's a new initiative, one designed to put our vision statement into action: To set a table where black and white, rich and poor, all who gather, may consider our history and our future in a spirit of reconciliation.

To jump start our Skillet Brigade, and in coordination with the National Day of Service, SFA members in the Atlanta area are teaming with Slow Food Atlanta for a work day at the Good Shephard Community Church gardens this Saturday, January 17. The effort is led by SFA member and Slow Food convivium leader Judith Winfrey. And in New Orleans, SFA board member Sara Roahen is working with Share our Strength's Great American Bake Sale. Come March, she'll be looking for local SFA members to share their favorite homemade cookies at a community stand.

Did you now that January 19, next Monday, is our National Day of Service? SFA encourages you to donate part of your work holiday to a community service initiative. Need ideas for projects? Our Web site has links with suggestions. Pitch in, help out.


There is a meat-meets-art happening in New Orleans that you don't want to miss. New York artist Allison Meehan has envisioned quite a carnival for the city--it involves pig and art and foosball, at a space called the Brickyard, set amid the ruins of what was once a Bywater neighborhood molasses warehouse.

If we understand correctly, Chef Donald Link will be cooking a pig or three, with his grill set up behind one of the goals of a mock foosball game, laid out a green at the center of the Brickyard. While Link cooks, 26 foosball players will, taking their inspiration from the tabletop game, slide and summersault while kicking a green, inflatable ball – representing the apple commonly stuck in the mouth of a roasted suckling pig – around the field, trying to score points. After a couple hours of kicking, everyone will eat pig. Along the way, Meehan hopes to catalyze conversations about how food events engender community and about how local foods matter to local people. Wacky? Yes. Fun? Definitely. You should go.

January 17, 2009
Location: The Brickyard, Bywater, 3000 block of Chartres Street.
Foosball starts at noon or so
Feed starts at 3:00 or so
Admission is $5 or so

Thursday, January 8


The National WWII Museum in New Orleans has launched an oral history project, "Kitchen Memories," to document national food efforts during WWII. The museum is seeking to gather the country’s individual and collective memories of shopping, rationing, growing, cooking, serving, and eating during the war from those who experienced these things first hand.

They are also encouraging people who did not experience the Home Front to gather stories from someone who did.

Visit the museum's Web site for information on how to participate.

Wednesday, January 7


SFA oral historian Amy Evans is quoted about Lousville in this month's issue of Saveur magazine: "There's a real loyalty to place. Folks there tend to be monogamous with their drinking." The article reviews Louisville pub food, which Amy learned about last summer when documenting the town's barroom culture in advance of the SFA field trip. The oral history project from Louisville is available online at the newly redesigned SFA Web site. The Saveur article may be accessed here, along with a good recipe for rolled oysters from Mazzoni's Cafe. Read on!

Monday, January 5


What's better than a holiday cheese ball? The SFA's new Web site! Visit us online. View our films, now streamed. Download a desktop image. Check out the new format for the oral histories. We've got city guides and reading lists, event recaps and Gravy archives. You can even renew memberships online now. And our blog is now a separate, free-standing blog, easily viewed on a handheld or accessed via RSS feed. And it's all just for you! Consider it SFA's holiday gift.

As you play around with the new site, drop an e-mail if you have ideas for improvement. Input welcomed. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 4


Shannon & Chad Bourque, Bourque's Supermarket, Port Barre, LA.
Photograph by Amy C. Evan

Our traveling exhibit, Meet the Folks Behind the Food: the Southern Foodways Alliance Oral History Initiative, is currently on view at Chef Jim Shirley's Great Southern Cafe in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. The exhibit is sponsored locally by The Seaside Institute and the Cultural Arts Association and will be on view through January 31.

If you're interested in bringing this exhibit to your town, please send an email to