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 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 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. 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 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 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!