Tuesday, December 28


In 2010, the SFA expanded our academic and film initiatives, staged our best symposium to date, and reached a wider-than-ever audience with the Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook, now in its second printing.

For much of our region's history, the South has been understood as a land of Native American, West African, and Western European peoples. At this year's symposium, and at complementary events also focused on the Global South, we staged talks, dinners, and performances that complicated prevailing concepts.

We also helped a number of other like-minded foodways-focused organizations get started, including Sabores Sin Fronteras in Arizona and Foodways Texas, in, well, Texas.


Gravy Flourishes

Under the leadership of Sara Camp Arnold, a former Oxford American editor and now a University of North Carolina graduate student, Gravy is realizing its potential. This summer we published a special edition, focused on the Gulf oil spill.

Cornbread Nation 5

Under the editorial direction of SFA member Fred Sauceman, SFA published Cornbread Nation 5: The Best of Southern Food Writing in the spring of 2010. This latest book features over 70 essays and poems that celebrate food and the ways in which it forges relationships between peoples and places.

Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook

We spent the first ten years of our history helping people understand that food culture is more than the sum of recipes compiled. Once we got that point across, we compiled our own cookbook, an initiative led by Sara Roahen.

Shopping Cart Success

No more processing of credit card charges by third-party firms. SFA now has a custom shopping cart application that runs all sorts of nifty reports. It also costs us far less per transaction.

iPhone App

Last year, we rolled out an Interactive Oral History Map, geared to help you plan trips by way of oral history subjects. This year, we've added a free iPhone application, developed by SFA member Jim Titley of Dallas. It's in beta now, awaiting a full rollout.

Podcasts and Augmented Reality

Okcracast is new. You've long been able to revisit SFA events by downloading talks from our iTunes store. This fall, we introduced Okracast, the SFA's complementary oral history podcast. Each month, we feature an interview from our archive.

Broadcastr, a platform for location-based audio, is now an SFA partner. Broadcastr sources audio from artists, performers, and organizations and pins their stories to a map of our world, accessed via the Web, an iPhone, iPad, or Android application.


Three board members have concluded their service to the SFA:

Mike "Rathead" Riley, the Bristol, Virginia, kingpin whose great interpersonal skills and stewardship of the Taste of the South event at Blackberry Farm, have been boons to our organization.

Audrey Petty of the University of Illinois, a fine teacher and writer whose essay, "Late Night Chitlins with Momma," has been anthologized widely, including in our Cornbread Nation series.

Ann Cashion, a native of Jackson, Mississippi, owns and operates Johnny's Half Shell, in Washington, D.C., along with partner Johnny Fulchino. Ann has been a key part of our chef outreach efforts.

Meanwhile, we welcomed four new board members:

Rob Long, a writer and producer in Hollywood, began his career with the television show Cheers. Rob has authored two books, and is a contributing editor to the National Review and the Los Angeles Times. His weekly radio commentary, "Martini Shot," may be heard on public radio in Los Angeles or on iTunes.

Dean McCord earned a doctorate in Molecular and Cellular Pathology at the University of North Carolina. He then sneaked off to Wisconsin for law school, but returned to the South to reside in Raleigh. He is a health care attorney and maintains a food blog that focuses on his family and local issues.

Bill Smith, a native of North Carolina, has worked as a chef for more than two decades, mostly at Crook's Corner in Chapel Hill. In 2009 and 2010, the Beard Foundation named him a finalist for Best Chef: Southeast. He is author of Seasoned in the South: Recipes from Crook's Corner and From Home. His latest project is Migrants in the Kitchen, inspired by his trips to Celaya, Mexico.

Pardis Stitt, born and raised in Alabama by Iranian immigrants, was one of the fifty founders of the SFA. Pardis is also a founder of Slow Food Birmingham. She has served on a number of charitable foundation boards. She manages front-of-the-house operations for three Birmingham restaurants: Highlands Bar and Grill, Bottega, and Chez Fon Fon.


Aided by our colleagues at Becca PR, SFA scored some major hits. Here's a very small sampling: ABC Nightline showcased SFA oral history and film work in a television segment that addressed issues of race and class. The New York Times Book Review sung the praises of the Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook. So did CNN. Food & Wine ran a full page-spread. And the NPR radio show The Story, inspired by her SFA Craig Claiborne Lifetime Achievement Award, profiled Christiane Lauterbach.


With dollars raised at the Taste of the South event in hand, the SFA advertised for a post-doctoral fellow in foodways, received some great applicants, and now plans, in 2011, to hire a post-doctoral fellow who will teach two foodways classes to our students. Hurrah!

With this step - a huge one for SFA - we have invested dollars in the future of Southern foodways, and in the students from around the country who now matriculate at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture and clamor for these kinds of classes.


Joe York made 5 new SFA films this year:

Blessing of the Fleet, about the community of fishermen in Bayou la Batre, Alabama, fighting for survival in the wake of the Gulf oil spill.

Carolina Grist, an exploration of rice cultivation and the rice kitchen, featuring SFA Fellow Glenn Roberts, underwritten by Biltmore Estate.

Cut/Chop/ Cook, a celebration of barbecue, honoring Rodney Scott, pitmaster of Scott's Bar-B-Que in Hemingway, SC.

Phat Tai, a profile of Peter Nguyen, who accepted the 2010 Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame Award on behalf of the Vietnamese fishing communities of the Gulf Coast.

Ride that Pig to Glory, a meditation on pastured pigs and tango dancing, featuring SFA Fellow Emile de Felice, underwritten by Biltmore Estate.

Joe also made great headway on Southern Food: The Movie, an hour-long opus, coming soon to a television near you. Since January, Joe has traveled through Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, east Texas, and parts of Kentucky, Georgia, and Tennessee. He's driven over 30,000 miles and collected close to 300 hours of footage. And he's still hungry.

Oral History Program Excels

By the time January passes, we'll surely have 500 in the can. That's 500 interviews with Chinese Delta grocers, Arkansas pitmasters, Louisiana gumbo cooks, Vietnamese Gulf fishermen, and North Carolina scuppernong growers. Meanwhile, our oral historian, Amy Evans Streeter, is proudest of our new internship and grant programs.

SFA Internships and Micro Grants

In-house interns spend one to two weeks in Oxford working alongside Amy, to process existing materials and conduct their own interviews. The SFA awarded two this year. Kevin Jung Min Kim, an undergraduate student in history at Swarthmore College, and Meghan Leonard, a graduate student in Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi, both collected oral histories this summer. Kevin presented his work, on Chinese grocers in the Mississippi Delta, at the symposium.

Guided interns are students who have experience in the field of oral history. Amy mentors the intern from afar, guiding them through SFA methods and practices. Rachel Reynolds-Luster, a graduate student in Heritage Studies at Arkansas State University, was the recipient of this year's guided internship. Rachel collected barbecue interviews in Arkansas for the Southern BBQ Trail.

Greenhouse Micro Grants were awarded for two projects. Rachel Bailey of Atlanta produced a multi-media piece on Atlanta's Buford Highway for this summer's Field Trip. Emily Wallace of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, wrote a paper on the refrigerated salads industry with a focus on pimento cheese, which she will present at the 2011 symposium.


The most significant new revenue sources for the SFA in 2010 came from:

Ashley Christensen of Poole's Diner in Raleigh, North Carolina. She began staging a series of benefit dinners and potluck gatherings that will yield, at the conclusion of this cycle, in early 2011, more than $30,000 hard dollars for the SFA.

Taste of the South at Blackberry Farm has long been an important event on the SFA calendar. In 2010, Sam Beall and his crew went far above and beyond, staging a weekend event that raised approximately $150,000 for the SFA.

Treating Speakers and Chefs Right

We doubled the pay for symposium speakers and chefs this year. They still won't get rich, but we now pay $500, plus, as always, we reimburse for food costs and travel and pay for hotel. It's important to us to treat our chefs and speakers well.


Here's a quick recap of where we were last year.

Taste of the South at Blackberry Farm
January, Blackberry Farm, TN
Rathead rode the bull, Larry Turley poured the wine, and Julian Van Winkle joined the Fellowship of Southern Farmers, Artisans, and Chefs.

Potlikker Film Festival
April, Nashville, TN
Crazy-good music and Jezebel meatballs served in the backyard at City House.

Potlikker Film Festival
August, Chattanooga, TN
Who could forget the baconage from Link 41, or the Lodge tour?

Potlikker Film Festival / Big Apple Barbecue Block Party
June, New York City, NY
The debut of Cut/ Chop/ Cook at the Big Apple, the premier barbecue exposition.

Buford Highway Field Trip
June, Atlanta, GA
A trip along Atlanta's multicultural corridor, with detours for Eddie's tamales and Andy's dim sum.

Viking Range Lecture
September, Oxford, MS
Andrew F. Smith talked about his book Starving the South: How the North Won the Civil War.

Delta Divertissement: Lebanese Delta
October, Greenwood, MS
Anissa Helou and Elizabeth Heiskell served perfect lamb, and Amy Streeter introduced us to the Lebanese of Clarksdale.

13th Southern Foodways Symposium: Global South
October, Oxford, MS
Chingo Bling, the Masa Messiah, rapped, Diane Roberts toured Dixie de Cuba, and Kelly English and Jonathan Magallanes cooked 40 cow heads.


SFA invites current members to renew, or new friends to join, as we study the Cultivated South in 2011. Visit our home page, www.southernfoodways.org, for a link to join online today.

Wednesday, December 8


True to our mission, we are as committed to teaching as we are to documenting. In an effort to mentor students in the field of oral history and initiate collaborations, we offer two kinds of internships: Guided and In-House

*Applications for 2011 Internships are due February 1, 2011

Visit our Internships page for more information on how to apply.

Monday, November 22


SFA Skillet Brigade Supports the Gulf Coast
Join Dine America on December 1

On December 1, over 225 chefs and restaurateurs will participate in "Dine America," serving Gulf Seafood quality to diners, friends and family. This communal activity, “America's Night Out for Gulf Seafood ” is a chef and restaurant statement supporting the Gulf Coast fishing families and their Gulf seafood catch. SFA supports this initiative and is asking you -- our friends and members in the restaurant industry -- to consider participating in Dine America 2010. It can be your holiday Skillet Brigade. And you'll be in good company with other SFA member restaurants, including Bayona, Cochon, and Restaurant August. For a complete list of participating venues, click here.

For more information on Dine America, including a sign-in page where you can declare your participation, please visit www.dineamerica2010.com. And, if you do participate, please e-mail sfamail@olemiss.edu with a brief report from your dinner, or a copy of your menu, so that we might share news of your good work with other members. Your participation will support Gulf Coast fishing families still impacted by the recent oil spill.

If you're not a chef or restaurateur, but you like to eat (who doesn't?) we ask that you choose to dine out at one of the participating venues in your local area. To find one, visit www.dineamerica2010.com.

Questions? E-mail sfamail@olemiss.edu. Thank you for supporting Gulf Coast communities this season.

Thursday, November 18


FoodBlogSouth, regional food blogging conference, will be held on January 22 in Birmingham, AL.

The day-long conference has a line-up of speakers including:
*Kim Severson, columnist for NY Times and author of Spoon Fed: How Eight Cooks Saved My Life, will teach food writing
*Ashley Hall--SFA blogger--will sit on a panel discussion on blogging about Southern seafood after the Deepwater Horizon explosion
*John-Bryan Hopkins, a.k.a. the "Foodimentary" guy, will share how to make the most of social media
*Southern Living food photographer, Jennifer Davick, and sylist, Marion Cooper Cairns, will host a session on how to take great food photos
*Christy Jordan, blogger and author of just-released cookbook, Southern Plate, will share secrets to marketing your blog
*and many more!

Registration is $135. If you register in November, you get $15 off. Register at foodblogsouth.com.

All proceeds will support Desert Island Supply Company (DISCO), a new non-profit writing center for children in Birmingham.

Wednesday, November 17


Photo by Ashley Hall

This summer, Ashley Hall, SFA member and freelance writer, embarked on a journey to collect stories relating to the effects of the Gulf oil spill. She traveled the coast from Biloxi, MS, to Apalachicola, FL, as a field correspondent for Gravy, the SFA foodletter, revisiting oral history subjects whenever possible. She collected some new voices, too--voices like Johnny Richards'.

Johnny Richards has been in the seafood business for over sixty years. Just before his eighth birthday, he started helping his dad out on the family boat in Apalachicola Bay, Florida and has spent his summers shrimping and his winters oystering ever since. Today he works with his wife, Janice Richards at Tommy Ward's oyster house, 13 Mile. In this interview, he displays his optimism for the future of the Bay and his trust in the healing powers of Mother Nature.

We will be featuring all of Ashley's Gulf Coast interviews here on Okracast, so check back each week for new installments. For a short documentary about 13 Mile Oyster Company, please view Joe York's film Working the Miles.

Grab some headphones and go!

Friday, November 12


Photo by Ashley Hall

This summer, Ashley Hall, SFA member and freelance writer, embarked on a journey to collect stories relating to the effects of the Gulf Coast oil spill. She traveled from Biloxi, MS, to Apalachicola, FL, as a field correspondent for Gravy, the SFA’s food letter, revisiting SFA oral history subjects whenever possible, but also collecting some new voices—voices like Teresa Fagan and Joy Hatfield’s.

Joy Hatfield opened Perdido Bay Seafood Company in western Pensacola with her husband and son in 1988. Her granddaughter, Teresa, has worked in the family business nearly all her life. Like so many others in their area, the future of Perdido became a depressing mystery after the oil spill. However, as of October 2nd, the folks at Perdido were happy to report that after months of uncertainty, they were fishing once again.

We will be featuring all of Ashley’s Gulf Coast interviews here on OKRACAST, so check back each week for new installments.

Now grab some headphones and go!

Thursday, November 11


Didn't get to attend the symposium, but wanted to hear the lectures? Did attend, but want a recap? The SFA has posted podcasts from the symposium presentations online. Visit our iTunes page and click the tab for the 2010 Global South Symposium to download lectures and performances. Here's a catalog of what you'll find:
  • Diane Roberts on Havana and Alabama
  • The Gulf and the Spill: A Panel Discussion
  • Greg Brownderville and Meredith Abarca on Tamales as Text
  • Judith Carney and Valerie Erwin on Rice in the Global South
  • Kevin Kim and Amy Evans on Chinese Grocers in the Delta
  • James Peacock on Grounded Globalism
  • Francis Lam on Cajuns, Croats, and Vietnamese in Biloxi
  • Andrea Nguyen on Viet-Cajun in Cali
  • Chingo Bling!
  • Robb Walsh on Houston as the New South Creole City
  • Tom Hanchett on the Salad Bowl Suburbs of Charlotte
  • Jessica Harris, Theaster Gates, and the Mississippi Monks doing a Benediction and Street Meditations
Grab your headphones and learn about the Global South with SFA. To see the full schedule of symposium events, click here.

Wednesday, November 10



On Sunday, November 14, Poole's Diner in Raleigh, NC will host a third helping of STIR THE POT, a seasonal dinner and discussion to benefit the Southern Foodways Alliance's documentary film initiative. The dinner and discussion will feature John Currence of City Grocery Restaurant Group in Oxford, MS.

John and Ashley will be coordinating at five-course dinner with wine pairings, compliments of Eliza Olander. The evening will begin with a sparkling reception with snacks at 7:00 PM. Cost of dinner is $150++ per person.

A potluck on Monday, November 15, is for everyone--restaurant industry folk, writers, beverage enthusiasts, home cooks, and people with a general love for food and its history. For the potluck, Ashley will provide--with the help of a favorite shepherd, Craig Rogers--a main course of spit-roasted leg of Border Springs lamb (Patrick Springs, VA) and wine to match. Our friends at Fullsteam Brewery (Durham) will be pouring delicious craft brews and the cocktail rockstars at Neptunes Parlour (Raleigh) will be stirring a signature cocktail. There will be music selections and stories from our guest of honor, "Johnny Snack."
Please bring a $35 check for the Southern Foodways Alliance and a dish to share that celebrates your sense of place, wherever that may be.

100% of the proceeds from both events will benefit the SFA documentary film initiative. Please call Poole's for reservations, as seating is limited for both events. 919.832.4477

Tuesday, November 9


Foodways Professorship at University of Mississippi's Center for the Study of Southern Culture Announced


The SFA is pleased to report that the University of Mississippi has publicized an announcement for a new adjunct assistant professor of Southern Studies. The post-doctoral teaching position will formalize food studies in the Southern Studies curriculum. Interested applicants should visit the UM Human Resources departmental Web page, and click "search job postings" to find the job listed under the "Center for Southern Culture" department.

Wednesday, November 3


Photo by Ashley Hall

This summer, Ashley Hall, SFA member and freelance writer, embarked on a journey to collect stories relating to the effects of the Gulf Coast oil spill. She traveled from Biloxi, MS, to Apalachicola, FL, as a field correspondent for Gravy, the SFA’s food letter, revisiting SFA oral history subjects whenever possible, but also collecting some new voices—voices like Jimmy McNeill’s.

Jimmy McNeill is the owner of Indian Pass Raw Bar in Port Saint Joe, Florida. With the help of his parents, Jimmy turned the former convenience store into a raw bar in 1985 after Hurricane Kate destroyed the area’s wholesale oyster business. The McNeill family has continued to bring simple and good food to Port Saint Joe, despite the threat of oil this past summer.

We will be featuring all of Ashley’s Gulf Coast interviews here on OKRACAST, so check back each week for new installments.

Grab some headphones and go!


Growing Health, Wealth & Justice in Our Communities
November 19-21, 2010
Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, NY

Going Green
Most analysts agree that “green jobs” in a variety of fields—from energy to agriculture—will offer growing career opportunities in the future. Workshops at the 2010 Black Farmers and Urban Gardeners Conference will highlight how our nation’s growing awareness of ecological issues is creating opportunities for food and farming-related professionals.

Opportunities in the growing green economy will only benefit those who get the training and support necessary to take advantage of them. Conference workshops will focus on building awareness and resources to help prepare African Americans for food and farm-related careers.

For more information and to register, visit www.blackfarmersconf.org.

Monday, November 1


Proceeds from the silent auction, as well as ticket sales, go to scholarships for Hospitality Management students. FOR MORE INFO, visit here.

Friday, October 29


Photo by Ashley Hall

This summer, Ashley Hall, SFA member and freelance writer, embarked on a journey to collect stories relating to the effects of the Gulf oil spill. She traveled the coast from Biloxi, MS, to Apalachicola, FL, as a field correspondent for Gravy, the SFA foodletter, revisiting oral history subjects whenever possible. She collected some new voices, too--voices like Tommy Ward's.

Tommy Ward is one of the owners of 13 Mile Oyster Company in Apalachicola, Florida, founded by his father, Buddy Ward, in 1957. Tommy received the Keeper of the Flame Award from the Southern Foodways Alliance in 2006 for his relentless devotion to 13 Mile through hardships and hurricanes. This interview illustrates the heartbreaking uncertainty and helplessness many seafood business owners felt after the oil spill.

We will be featuring all of Ashley's Gulf Coast interviews here on Okracast, so check back each week for new installments.

Grab some headphones and go!

Wednesday, October 27


2010: The Global South

13th Southern Foodways Symposium Recap

The Southern Foodways Alliance, an institute of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, hosted the thirteenth annual Southern Foodways Symposium October 22-24, 2010 in Oxford, Mississippi, and on the campus of the University of Mississippi. This year's theme was the Global South. From West Africa to Cuba, from Vietnam to Mexico, we traced influences of places and peoples on Southern culinary culture. 375 people from around the nation attended the sold-out event.

The SFA presented programming that challenged existing cultural concepts and complicated beliefs about the region. Among the speakers was Chingo Bling, a Mexican-American rapper from Houston, Texas, whose album, "They Can't Deport Us All," examined immigration policy and prejudice. Also on the roster was Francis Lam, a senior editor at Salon magazine, who profiled Croatian and Vietnamese shrimping communities in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Jim Peacock, professor of anthropology at University of North Carolina, argued for grounded globalism, his theory for how the South has evolved to accommodate new arrivals. Jessica Harris, the Ray Charles Chair in Material Culture at Dillard University in New Orleans, along with Theaster Gates and the Black Monks of Mississippi, paid tribute to the African roots of Southern street vending.

Guests feasted on meals prepared by chefs from across the region. Eddie Hernandez of Taqueria del Sol in Atlanta served turnip green tamales with cracklins. Michelle Bernstein of Michy's of Miami dished shrimp and sweet potato ceviche and braised oxtail stew with gnocchi. Also on the bill of fare were platters of of pit-cooked barbacoa de cabeza from Kelly English and Jonathan Magallanes, both of Memphis, and whole hog barbecue tacos from Jim 'N Nick's of Birmingham.

Each year the SFA presents three awards. Peter Nguyen accepted the Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame Award on behalf of the Vietnamese fishing communities of the Gulf Coast. The Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame Award honors an unsung hero or heroine of the culinary world, a foodways tradition bearer of note. In honor of Nguyen's work, SFA collaborator, Joe York made a short film, "Phat Thai," which focused on Vietnamese labor and life on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The John Egerton Prize--which comes with a $5,000 cash stipend--was awarded to Calvin Head on behalf of the West Holmes Community Development Organization (WHCDO), based near the Mississippi town of Mileston. Twelve African American-owned vegetable farms participate in the WHCDO farm initiative. The John Egerton Prize recognizes artists, writers, scholars, activists, and others whose work addresses issues of race, class, gender, and social and environmental justice through the lens of food.

The SFA's Craig Claiborne Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Christiane Lauterbach, editor and publisher of Knife & Fork in Atlanta, recognizing her 30-plus years of determined documentation of the South's emergent global food scene. The Craig Claiborne Award goes to an individual who has made an indelible mark upon our cuisine and our culture, the sort of person who has set regional standards and catalyzed national dialogues.

The SFA's mission is to document, study, and celebrate the diverse food cultures of the changing American South. That mission is grounded in the notion that food is a lens through which a region and culture as vast and varied as ours can be embraced and understood.

For more information about the 14th Southern Foodways Symposium, focused on the "Cultivated South," and set for October 27-30, 2011, write sfaevents@olemiss.edu or visit www.southernfoodways.org.

Did you attend the 13th Southern Foodways Symposium last weekend? If so, please click here to share your feedback on the event.


Our spiral bound tome has been getting some good press. Time magazine. Food & Wine. Lots more. Get your copy today. When you turn to page 56 and fall hard for Nathalie Dupree's "Drippings-Cooked Potatoes, Onions, Turnips, and Carrots," please note that we inserted the wrong headnote there. We'll correct it in future editions. And here's the corrected recipe below:

Drippings-Cooked Potatoes, Onions, Turnips, and Carrots
We Southerners know and love turnip greens. But turnips roots deserve respect too. When roasted along with other root vegetables like potatoes, angular turnips turn out sweet and mellow. They turn out delicious.

Read through this recipe and you'll note that the list of ingredients is short and the techniques employed are simple. Those are hallmarks of great recipes and great cooks: straightforward ingredients, cooked without folderol, and served without flourish.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

1 to 1 and 1/2 pounds turnips
1 to 1 and 1/2 pounds potatoes
1 to 1 and 1/2 pounds carrots
1 to 1 and 1/2 pounds onions
4 to 8 tablespoons bacon drippings, beef drippings, or butter
Salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Peel the vegetables and cut them into bite-sized wedges or chunks. Leave a little of the onion root in place to hold the wedges together. Heat the drippings or butter in a large, heavy, oven-proof skillet. Add the vegetables and stir to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

Roast the vegetables, turning every 15 minutes, until they are tender and nicely browned with a few crispy edges. Taste for seasoning, sprinkle with rosemary, and serve hot.
Nathalie Dupree of Charleston, South Carolina


2010 Viking Range Luncheon: The Global South

On the Menu

Icebox Fried Chicken

Shrimp and Sweet Potato Ceviche

Braised Oxtail Stew with Gnocchi

Banana Tres Leches Tian

SFA will share a number of symposium memories in the coming days, including Okracasts of the event lectures. Follow us on Twitter (@potlikker) and Facebook for announcements and, of course, we'll share news on our blog.

Wednesday, October 20


SFA is sending you a little taste of biscuits and gravy in advance of this weekend's upcoming symposium. Click here to preview the latest edition of the Gravy foodletter online; the hard copy is on its way to your mailbox this week. Read about symposium guests Chingo Bling, the "Masa Messiah," and Valerie Erwin, who operates Geechee Girl Rice Cafe in Philadelphia. Learn about Calvin Head and the West Holmes Community Development Organization, recipients of the 2010 John Egerton Prize. And before you commence to reading, try your hand at the 2010 White Lily True Yam Biscuit recipe, created by symposium guest chef Yewande Komolafe and shared with SFA here.

White Lily 2010 SFA Symposium Recipe

Sweet Potato / True Yam Biscuits

Confusion abounds in Southern grocery stores. White-fleshed sweet potatoes are often called yams. Orange-fleshed ones, too, for that matter. True African yams are bigger, harrier, more fibrous tubers. They are not generally interchangeable with sweet potatoes.

Yewande Komolafe, a talented pastry chef of Nigerian origin, raised in Atlanta, and now living in New York City – where she works in the test kitchen at Saveur magazine – has conceived a couple of recipes that show how the tubers are different and how an enterprising cook can adapt true African yams for Southern kitchens.

At the 2010 Southern Foodways Symposium, we’re serving Yewande’s sweet potato biscuits with her own pepper jelly. Tucked inside will be sock sausage, smoked by Tyler Brown of the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville. When you try this at home, we’ve found that country ham suits just as well as sock sausage. Enjoy.

Southern Sweet Potato Biscuits

Heat oven to 400°. Using a fork, poke holes all over 2 medium sweet potatoes and wrap in foil. Place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour until a toothpick or a fork goes right through. Remove from the oven and let cool. Peel the skin off and mash the sweet potatoes. Leave slightly chunky.

2 medium white-fleshed sweet potatoes (yielding 1½ cups mashed sweet potatoes)
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 stick butter, cold
2 ½ cups White Lily all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup cold buttermilk
1 egg, beaten

Heat oven to 400°. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and brown sugar, and use a whisk to fully incorporate. Add the cold butter, and, using your fingers, break apart the butter pieces and incorporate into the rest of the ingredients until pea size pieces form. Add the mashed yams and the cold buttermilk. Use a rubber spatula to mix the ingredients until just combined.

Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface, pat into a single mass, and roll out 1 inch thick. Using a 2¼ inch round cookie cutter, cut out rounds from the dough and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Re-roll the scraps and cut out more biscuits until all the dough is used. Add a little water to the beaten egg and brush the tops of the biscuits with the egg wash. Place in the oven and bake till golden brown, 15 – 20 minutes. Serve while still warm with a hot pepper jelly and slices of country ham or smoked sock sausage.

Makes 6 Biscuits

True African Yam Biscuits: A Variation

In addition to the ingredients above you’ll need:
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt to taste
Instead of the sweet potatoes, source 1 small (8-to 10-inch long) African yam

Preheat oven to 425°. Cut the yam into 1½ inch slices, discarding both end pieces. Using a paring knife, peel off the thick layer of outside skin, and immediately drop the slices into a bowl of water to rinse and prevent oxidization. Cut each slice into ½ inch cubes and keep completely covered with water.

Monday, October 18


Photo by Amy Evans Streeter

In advance of our eighth Delta Divertissement, our annual field trip to the Mississippi Delta held just prior to the foodways symposium, we would like to introduce you to one of the subjects from our latest oral history project that documents the Lebanese community in the Mississippi Delta.

Mary Louise Nosser, the daughter of immigrants, is one of the volunteers who helps put on the annual Lebanese dinner hosted by the congregation of the St. George Orthodox Church in Vicksburg, Mississippi, a fifty-year tradition.

In this special edition of Okracast, hear the story of Lebanese immigration, assimilation, and the intersection of Lebanese and Southern foodways in the Mississippi Delta as told by Mary Louise Nosser.

Grab some headphones and go!


The SFA family regrets to announce that Jeff Byrd, the longtime president of Bristol Motor Speedway, has passed. When we brought our Field Trip to Bristol in 2009, Jeff and his wife Claudia were the consummate hosts, offering laps around the track and the warmest welcome imaginable. He will be missed. Greatly. Read the Johnson City Press obituary here.
-- photo courtesy Johnson City Press.


Early arrivers to SFA's Oxford symposium may wish to book at table at one of the special dinners offered Thursday night, October 21.

PANAMANIAN FLIGHT. City Grocery and John Currence will host guest chef Adolfo Garcia, proprietor of three New Orleans restaurants, A Mano, La Boca, and Rio Mar. A native of New Orleans, his cuisine is influenced by the traditions of his Panamanian parents.

MISSISSIPPI MASALA. Vishwesh Bhatt of Snackbar will host guest chef Suvir Saran, proprietor of the restaurant Devi in New York City and author of American Masala.

Whether you choose Latin American cuisine or Indian fare, you'll be served a prix fixe multi-course menu for $40, exclusive of beverages, tax, and tip. Global South menus will be available all evening, so guests may make reservations with private groups, or choose to reserve a single seat and be paired at table with other SFA diners arriving around the same time. Guests may order from the house wine list, and the regular dinner menu will also be available all evening at each restaurant.

To make a reservation, call the restaurant directly. Seating will be limited, and advance reservations are required.

  • City Grocery is located on the south side of the Oxford Square. The phone number is 662-232-8080. Dinner hours of operation are 6:00-10:30 p.m. on Thursdays.
  • Snackbar is located just north of the Oxford Square, at 721 North Lamar Avenue. The phone number is 662-236-6363. Dinner hours of operation are 6:00-11:00 p.m. on Thursdays.

Friday, October 15


We send you into the weekend with a little peek at what awaits you in Oxford, if you'll be joining us for this year's Southern Foodways Symposium, the theme of which is the Global South.

Local photographer Erin Austen Abbott documented El Mundo Taco Shop in Oxford and created the slideshow above. Enlargements of a selection of these photographs will be on view at next weekend's Motel Art Show.

Thursday, October 14


Photo by Ashley Hall

This summer, Ashley Hall, SFA member and freelance writer, embarked on a journey to collect stories relating to the effects of the Gulf oil spill. She traveled the coast from Biloxi, MS, to Apalachicola, FL, as a field correspondent for Gravy, the SFA foodletter, revisiting oral history subjects whenever possible. She collected some new voices, too--voices like Richard Gollott's.

A lifelong resident of Biloxi, Mississippi Richard Gollott runs Gollott Seafood Company and Gollott Ice House and Oil Deck in East Biloxi. He is an enthusiastic spokesperson for the quality of local seafood and was tapped to be one of the local businessmen to sit down with President Obama on his trip to the region in June of 2010. This interview is yet another display of the Gulf Coast community's optimism in the wake of disaster.

We will be featuring all of Ashley's Gulf Coast interviews here on Okracast, so check back each week for new installments.

Grab some headphones and go!

Monday, October 11


Join SFA folk in Chapel Hill for two cool events this week:

Friday, October 15 at 7 pm
Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook open house with cookbook contributors Flyleaf Books/Foster's Market, 752 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Chapel Hill, NC
Free and open to the public and downright fun.

Sunday, October 17 at 4:00 pm
Cookbook Release Party with April McGreger and Sheri Castle
3 Cups, 227 S. Elliott Rd., Chapel Hill, NC
$40 with copy of cookbook, $25 for food and wine only
Menu and details here.


Guest Post by: Ashley Hall

I just received a note from David Pham, the sharp and conscientious young man whom I interviewed during my first couple of days on the Gulf in June. David works for the Bayou la Batre chapter of B.P.S.O.S., a noble organization with a painfully ironic name. ("B.P" stands for "Boat People," not the infamous oil conglomerate)

When I interviewed David this summer, I asked what Southern Foodways people could do to help the hard-working folks in the oyster and shrimp processing business. At the time they were mostly out of work due to the fishing stopages. David and I agreed that the most significant thing we food-lovers could do was to help the fishing communities get back on their feet once the oil spill was halted.

Here's one small opportunity. This Sunday the Fourth Annual Mid-Autumn Moon Festival will be held in Biloxi. A primer: "The event promotes Asian-American/Gulf Coast culture and youth empowerment." There will be federal and state agencies on-hand for those affected by the oil spill. But the entertainment sounds like the real draw. Yes, there will be bureaucrats offering assistance, but also "a Gulf Coast Best Dance Crew competition, a Gulf Coast Got Talent competition, different cuisine from across the Gulf Coast, traditional performances, a fashion show, and performances from popular YouTube artists," David said.

If you want to learn more, go here www.gulfcoastreach.org

If you want to see my original blog post on the Asian-American communities affected by the oil spill, please visit my now-retired blog here.

Wednesday, October 6


Kendall Stork by Ashley Hall

This summer, Ashley Hall, SFA member and freelance writer, embarked on a journey to collect stories relating to the effects of the Gulf oil spill. She traveled the coast from Biloxi, MS, to Apalachicola, FL, as a field correspondent for Gravy, the SFA foodletter, revisiting oral history subjects whenever possible. She collected some new voices, too--voices like Kendall Stork's.

Kendall Stork is the co-owner of the Lighthouse Restaurant in Bayou La Batre, Alabama. Stork’s parents opened the restaurant in 1979, and it has been the go-to spot for freshly prepared local seafood ever since. This interview is a great example of an establishment’s never-ending support of its local economy, even in the face of adversity.

We will be featuring all of Ashley's Gulf Coast interviews on OKRACAST, so check back each week for new installments.

Grab some headphones and go!


The 29th annual Key West Literary Seminar explores food in literature. Two separate four-day sessions feature noted writers and foodies including former Gourmet editor Ruth Reichl; critics Frank Bruni and Jonathan Gold; funnymen Roy Blount Jr. and Calvin Trillin; New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik; historian Mark Kurlansky; Emory poet and food ode fiend Kevin Young; Gastronomica founder Darra Goldstein; organic farmer David Mas Masumoto; One Big Table author Molly O'Neill; and memoirists, novelists, and poets including Madhur Jaffrey, Kate Christensen, and Billy Collins.

Space is limited; advance registration ($495/all events) is strongly recommended. www.kwls.org

Monday, October 4


Garden & Gun Club is hosting an online auction that closes tomorrow, Tuesday, October 5. Click here to see the online offerings. A portion of proceeds from the Garden & Gun auctions will contribute to organizations that focus on preserving the distinct arts and cultures of the American South. The non‐profit partners for the Fall auction include the Southern Foodways Alliance (SFA), the American College of Building Arts (ACBA), the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and Lowcountry Open Land Trust.

Want to help the SFA and eat well at the same time? Check out Lot 1: A Private Dinner Party with the Lee Brothers in New York City – This stylishly southern fundraiser includes an exclusive dinner for eight with wine pairings prepared by culinary aficionados and James Beard Award‐winning authors, Matt Lee and Ted Lee at a private Upper West Side residence in New York City.

Bidding continues through Tuesday on this and other items. Thanks for supporting SFA! The auction is live on www.igavelauctions.com and can also be accessed through gardenandgunclub.com.

Thursday, September 30


Greg Ladnier by Ashley Hall

This summer, Ashley Hall, SFA member and freelance writer, embarked on a journey to collect stories relating to the effects of the Gulf oil spill. She traveled the coast from Biloxi, MS, to Apalachicola, FL, as a field correspondent for Gravy, the SFA foodletter, revisiting oral history subjects whenever possible. She collected some new voices, too--voices like Greg Ladnier's.

Greg Ladnier is a third-generation seafood processor and the current president of Sea Pearl Seafood Company in Bayou La Batre, Alabama. This interview describes both the current and future hardships his seafood processing company must overcome as a result of the Gulf Coast oil spill.

We will be featuring all of Ashley's Gulf Coast interviews on OKRACAST, so check back each week for new installments.

Grab some headphones and go!

Tuesday, September 28


The Mississippi leg of our Southern BBQ Trail will feature old friends like Leroy "Spooney" Kenter, Jr., who appears in the video above, and some new ones, too. Look for their interviews to appear online soon.

In the meantime, you can check out some of our Mississippi barbecue videos on our YouTube channel and photographs from the Trail on our Flickr page.

Grab a napkin and go!

Sunday, September 26


Sunday, October 3, 2010
Trussville, Alabama (near Birmingham)

Garden & Gun Club is hosting a Harvest Feast with Idie and Chris Hastings of The Hot and Hot Fish Club. All proceeds from the event will directly benefit the fishermen of Bayou La Batre in Mobile County, the seafood capital of Alabama and a community severely affected by the Gulf oil spill.

Notable Harvest Feast guests at the event will include Bayou La Batre Mayor Stan Wright; Southern Foodways Alliance representative Ashley Hall; and Garden & Gun editors David DiBenedetto and Jenny Everett. Other special event features include an appearance by fashion designer Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin, who has designed custom Harvest Feast aprons to be sold at the event to benefit the fishermen of Bayou La Batre. In addition, the Southern Foodways Alliance has produced a short film on the fishermen of Bayou La Batre that will be screened at the event.

Harvest Feast tickets are $150.00 per person. Ticket information, transportation, inclement weather plans, and other pertinent event details can be found on the event Web site.

Friday, September 24


Pictured L to R: Dr. Charles Reagan Wilson, John T Edge, LeAnne Gault of Viking Range, guest lecturer Andrew Smith, and Dr. John Neff.

The 2010 Viking Range lecture by Andrew Smith is now online as a podcast, available via iTunes U. Click
here to access the audio from the lecture. Follow the links to launch the public site, where you may download and listen to the lecture. Or we also invite you to choose to subscribe to SFA Okracasts, our regular online interview series.

Each year the Viking Range Lecture, underwritten by the Viking Range Corporation of Greenwood, Mississippi, brings scholars, writers, and artists to the Ole Miss campus. Each lecturer, regardless of discipline, uses food as a vehicle for a greater understanding of self, community, and culture. The Southern Foodways Alliance and the University of Mississippi are grateful to Viking Range for their generosity.

For more info on the event, see the announcement posted here.

Thursday, September 23


SFA Video Series: Southern Agriculture

Sunday, September 26, 4:00-6:00 p.m.

Southern Food and Beverage Museum, Riverwalk Marketplace, Julia St. Entrance

Free with museum admission

info@southernfood.org or 504-569-0405

This month’s theme for the SFA Film and Dinner Series focuses on the small farms and agricultural businesses that keep the South firmly planted. Films include: Feeding the Soul at Jones Valley Urban Farm, Cud, and The Who Farm. After the movies, Zea’s Rotisserie and Grill will offer a free appetizer to attendees. Visit www.southernfood.org for more information.

Friday, September 17


Eating the SFA Cookbook: Spiced Pecans and Field Peas

We [my husband and I, that is] decided to use the SFA Community Cookbook as an excuse to have folks over for one more supper before our new little one occupies a good portion of our evenings. I had already decided on grilling pork tenderloin in an Indonesian ginger marinade. So I flipped through the Cookbook for ideas for sides or appetizers...and I found both.

Jessica Harris offers a tempting recipe for Spiced Pecans. Oh.my.goodness. You'll need to make a double-batch, so you will have something to offer your guests when they arrive. Not only does this make an appetizer that you will not be able to keep your hands out of, it's also going to be (spoiler alert, teachers/neighbors) my go-to gift at Christmas.

The spices on the pecans range from rosemary to smoked paprika and cinnamon to Tabasco. A unique blend that I would've never come up with on my own, but it works. In a major way! One thing I really love about this recipe is that you don't have to bake the pecans. All the cooking is done on the stove-top. On a hot September afternoon, not turning on the oven is welcome news.

For a side, I decided on the Crowder Peas with Potlikker from Kathy Starr. However, I couldn't find crowder peas at my local grocery, so I used black-eyed peas. I was especially excited b/c I could only find ham hocks in packages of 5 (the recipe only calls for two). It is ALWAYS a good thing to have extra ham hocks in the house. The recipe is pretty straight-forward, boil the heck out of the ham hocks. Cook down the peas. Done. It does offer a solution of what to do with all of that beautiful "potlikker." You can make dumplings (recipe for those found later in the Cookbook!) with the remaining liquid. Though I dread the disapproving look of John T ["Mr. Potlikker"] for wasting this liquid, dumplings just didn't go with the rest of my meal.

Side note: I also made the pie crust for a derby pie recipe from my mom that I've had since college. I love this pie and making the crust took it to the next level. I will never go back to store bought crust. Just felt like revisiting the idea of homemade crust (formerly mentioned with Tomato Pie), because it really does make a difference.

Tuesday, September 14


Andrew F. Smith
Third Annual Viking Range Lecturer

September 21, 2010 at 6:30 p.m.
Nutt Auditorium
University of Mississippi's Oxford Campus

The Southern Foodways Alliance will host the third annual Viking Range Lecture on Tuesday, September 21 at 6:30 p.m. in the Nutt Auditorium on the campus of the University of Mississippi. The lecture is free and open to the public, and will discuss Andrew Smith’s forthcoming work,
Starving the South: How the North Won the Civil War.

Andrew F. Smith is a writer and lecturer on food and culinary history. He teaches Culinary History at the New School in Manhattan. Smith serves as the general editor for the Reaktion Books Edible Series, and is past Chair of The Culinary Trust, the philanthropic partner of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP). He is the Editor-in-chief of
The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, and the Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink. He is author or editor of 15 other books, including his forthcoming work.

Dr. Charles Reagan Wilson, Kelly Gene Cook, Sr. Chair of History and Professor of Southern Studies, will introduce and welcome Mr. Smith to campus. Dr. John R. Neff, director of the Center for Civil War Research and Associate Professor of History at the University of Mississippi, will moderate discussion and questions following the lecture.

Each year the Viking Range Lecture, underwritten by the Viking Range Corporation of Greenwood, Mississippi, brings scholars, writers, and artists to the Ole Miss campus. Each lecturer, regardless of discipline, uses food as a vehicle for a greater understanding of self, community, and culture. The Southern Foodways Alliance and the University of Mississippi are grateful to Viking Range for their generosity.

For more information, e-mail sfamail@olemiss.edu or call 662-915-5993.

Monday, September 6


Eating the SFA Cookbook: Peach Ice Cream

After taking another hiatus from cooking (doctor's orders!), I decided to give "Eating the SFA Cookbook" another go. In the spirit of Labor Day and enjoying the last days of summer, I landed on a recipe for peach ice cream from Elizabeth Karmel. Also, I've been dying to hit the sweets section of the book.

I waited a bit long in the season to choose peaches...at least here in Mississippi. The ones at our local farmers market store were shipped from Georgia and were looking quite sad. The ones at our local grocery store were giant (I don't trust a peach the size of a softball). I bought a couple anyway, but, as expected, they didn't have much flavor. Luckily, I also bought a pint of fresh strawberries that were juicy and full of flavor.

I believe this recipe actually qualifies as frozen custard or "french-style" ice cream (due to the eggs and butterfat). I began by scalding milk (thank you to Joy of Cooking for helping me "eyeball" what scalding milk looks like), and then continued on with making a vanilla custard. So this is what making pudding not-from-a-box must be like! I have to be honest here: I had to do this twice. The first time, even though the recipe warns you not to let the custard get too hot (or it will curdle), I got impatient towards the end and turned up the heat one notch. Do NOT be tempted to do this! Just as Elizabeth promised, the custard started to separate. I don't think it's a total loss though--I caught it early--and I plan on making another batch of ice cream with this and seeing if I can tell the custard isn't perfect.

Once I got the custard just right, then it needed to cool in the fridge for several hours (or up to several days). Be sure to have the plastic wrap actually touch the top of the custard. Unless you're like George Costanza, you won't be pleased with the "film" on top. Next up, I mixed in whipping cream (no, this is not low-fat ice cream), and popped it in my ice cream maker. Though Elizabeth's grandma--who is the creator of this recipe--would only use a hand-crank machine, I used the one I HAD to put on my wedding registry but have only used once in seven years. I'm not sure what's louder--an ice cream machine or my 2-year-old declaring "I NEED ice cream!" When the ice cream was almost ready, I added the macerated strawberries. Then the hard part: after all of this,I still had to put this in the freezer to harden.

The good news first: the ice cream is rich and creamy and just about the best ice cream I've ever eaten. The bad news: I know why. There's no denying what all is making this taste so good. But I promise, it's worth every calorie!