Wednesday, December 28


The newest issue of Gravy is perfect to enjoy...for lunch!  
Click here to read the SFA food letter online.

Tuesday, December 27


If you didn't make creamed corn this summer and stock your freezer, our friends at the Communal Skillet swear that you can use frozen kernel corn to make creamed corn.  I have to say that I am skeptical, as they were (initially), but creamed corn from frozen kernels is better than no creamed corn at all.  Check out the Communal Skillet's experience with our SFA Community Cookbook creamed corn recipe, serve it with some Christmas leftovers, and tell us what you think!

Wednesday, December 21


Rose DeShazer White with one of her cakes - Chicago, IL - 2008

Join us for our holiday edition of OKRACAST, the oral history podcast. In our ovens this season: caramel cake.

In 2008, we traveled to Chicago to visit Rose DeShazer White, a home cook, famous for the caramel cakes she shares with family and friends. 

Originally from Hollandale, Mississippi, Rose grew up eating the caramel cakes that her mother baked on a wood stove from a recipe that was passed down from her mother, Rose’s grandmother. When Rose was fourteen years old, she followed her brothers to Chicago, leaving her mother and the family recipe behind. She didn’t think about the family caramel cake again until she was married—and until her mother was in Chicago to teach her the recipe. Today, Rose makes old-fashioned, three-layer cakes with homemade caramel icing. And she always makes them using the tools that were handed down to her: three cake pans, an icing pot, and a spoon. But while Rose loves to bake (she calls it her therapy), she doesn’t bother to eat her own cakes. She makes them for friends and relatives, for special occasions, or just to have around the house. In fact, she’s probably standing at her stove right now, stirring her icing pot, baking multiple cakes to give out for the holidays.

Listen to Rose talk about what baking means to her and learn a few of her secrets along the way.

Go here to listen to this oral history interview on OKRACAST.

Grab some headphones and go!

Tuesday, December 20


We fell in love with Ridgewood Barbecue in Bluff City, TN, a few years back, when Amy Evans Streeter did an oral history with proprietor Larry Proffit and SFA events maven Melissa Hall staged an SFA Field Trip that included a Ridgewood meal, served from the owner's luxury box at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Now SFA friend and former board member Fred Sauceman has his say in a new film: Smoke in the Holler: the Saucy Story of Ridgewood Barbecue. 

The 26-minute film, produced by ETSU’s Office of University Relations and Center for Appalachian Studies and Services, traces the restaurant’s evolution from beer joint to barbecue house. 

Larry Proffitt, a pharmacist by trade, describes in detail how the restaurant barbecues fresh ham, in a pit with hickory wood.

“Stay with the pig until he makes a hog” was the never-quit philosophy of his mother, the late Grace Proffitt, who opened the Ridgewood Restaurant near Bluff City in 1948 with her husband Jim.

Smoke in the Holler: The Saucy Story of Ridgewood Barbecue is available now


At the Communal Skillet this week, they're pondering Velveeta cheese.  What exactly is it?  And how does the FDA define all the different types of cheese products?  Read their post to get the full info and dietary guidelines for labeling cheeses, but--for now--know that Velveeta is "classified as a process cheese spread, which is a variation on cheese food which must be spreadable at 70 degrees, have a moisture content of at least 60% and and 20% milkfat."  And it's good when properly heated, no matter how that description sounds.

For your holiday parties this week, try the SFA Community Cookbook's recipe for slow cooker crab dip.  It's easy to make, and it's Crock-Pot friendly.

Thursday, December 15


Photo Courtesy of

Inspired by a recent New York Times Magazine article, "Gifts for Drinkers," I made my own list for Santa, er, you.

1. Bloody Mary mixes.
This is a toughie. On the one hand, just a few weeks back we thoroughly enjoyed Fat and Juicy bloodies at Music to Your Mouth. Its "signature hint of smoky heat, fresh horseradish, celery and garlic" starts a day off right. On the other hand, Charleston Bold & Spicy Bloody Mary Mix, took home a 2011 Garden & Gun “Made in the South” award. The 'bold' kick doesn't come from the usual horseradish, it comes from Worcestershire, sea salt, habanero mash and celery seed.
And both call Charleston, South Carolina home.

2. Hollow Book Safe with flask.
Pick from titles including Sense and Sensibility, The Arabian Nights, The Chronicles of Narnia and this Gainesville, Florida-based company will hollow out enough pages for a 6 oz flask. Having a "good read" will take on a whole new meaning.

3. Bitters.
Drink to your health! What used to be sold as medicines, bitters are used as flavoring in cocktails. I'm sure you've had them in drinks at your local watering hole. But don't be intimidated to mix them in at home! You can buy Peychaud's Bitters and Regans' Orange Bitters from Buffalo Trace based in Frankfort, Kentucky.

4. Govino wine glasses.
The notch makes them easy (and fun?) to hold. The plastic means they can go anywhere. They are like the Snuggie of wine glasses. And I mean that it the nicest way possible.

5. The gift that keeps on giving.
Give Wine to Water wine. Founded by a Raleigh, North Carolina bartender, Wine to Water is a non-profit organization that provides clean water to needy people around the world. When you purchase a $16 bottle of wine, $7 goes right to WtW to fund their efforts.

Wednesday, December 14


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, we offer scholars the opportunity to visit SFA headquarters at the University of Mississippi to learn SFA-devised methods and practices as they relate to the field.

Internships are available to current graduate and undergraduate students who already have basic fieldwork experience via the classroom or personal projects.

Applications are due February 1, 2012.

Visit the Internship page on our website for details on how to apply.

Tuesday, December 13


Granted, the word congealed doesn't sound particularly appealing.  But our friends at the Communal Skillet took the SFA recipe for cranberry congealed salad with poppyseed dressing, and they loved it!  Though it's not salad in the traditional sense of lettuce and vegetables, it does have the added bonus of necessitating a Jello mold to make it pretty for the table.  Try it out this weekend!  (And use their tip about soaking the bottom of the pan in warm water before turning the salad out of the mold--it works.  Really, it does.)

Monday, December 12


Thanks to UM's Media and Documentary Projects, presentations filmed at the SFA symposium are now streaming online via Vimeo.  Click here to view them.

Friday, December 9


1. Spoiler Alert: A football team from the Southeastern Conference will win the National Championship. That will be six in a row -- Florida, LSU, Florida, Alabama, Auburn, and (as of January 9, 2012) Alabama or LSU. Why the Southern football dominance? The Washington Post says it has got to be the food!

2. Food and Wine Magazine has picked its 50 favorite bars in the U.S. No surprise, the South gets a lot of love on this list.

3. Corby Kummer offers up a stack of the year's best regional cookbooks.

4. Food Republic has compiled a list of the 50 food words we all need to know. SFA is certainly down with burgoo, fatback, and scrapple!

5. Whole Foods is making a list of the books they want to get. You'll find a list of favorite cookbooks and a list of favorite books about food. And, you'll be delighted to find SFA members and friends among the authors. You haven't finished shopping yet. Have you? Go get one (or three).

6. All right. Let's talk about the fruitcake. It's just sitting there. Are you going to try a bite? Or just mock it? These Southerners think you should at least try it. You might like it!

Thursday, December 8


photo courtesy of Jennifer Davick Photography

...for punch! And festive drinks of that nature. Whether you're hosting a party or just entertaining a passer-by or two, being prepared (read: well-stocked) means you might just be named the Host[ess] with the Most[est]. And I'll drink to that.

We look no further than the cocktails historian/guru, David Wondrich, to learn about all things punch. His book, Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl, schools you in not just recipes, but also the history behind them.

David shared the recipe for Chatham Artillery Punch with us at our Southern Foodways Symposium this year. (And we drank it out of a bathtub, which by the way, is how most unrememorable stories begin.) The Chatham Artillery is the oldest military organization in Georgia. Based in Savannah, it has continued (passed through family lineage, no doubt) as a social club. We give a hat tip to the CA for this deliciously potent drink, which when tasted by President James Monroe in 1819, was called "suave and deceitful".

(post punch)

No need for such large portions? Read Eatocracy's "Chilled Out & Cheery" about what to have on hand when guests stop in. And leave the stressing to someone else.

Wednesday, December 7


The Barbecue Bus is pointed home to Louisiana. Rien Fertel and Denny Culbert just completed their fifteenth and final interview for the North Carolina leg of our Southern BBQ Trail.

The audio slideshow featured above is from their recent trip to the Skylight Inn in Ayden, NC, where James Henry Howell has been manning the pit for nine years.

Visit the Barbecue Bus's blog for a great collection of Rien and Denny's notes from the road.

Rien and Denny's North Carolina fieldwork will appear on the Southern BBQ Trail soon, but you can still visit the Trail to experience stories about 'cue from across our region.

For more on the Skylight Inn, watch our documentary short, Capitol Q, by Joe York.

Tuesday, December 6


The question sounds like one from fire safety class in second grade, but it's really the question posted by our friends at the Communal Skillet.  Do you roll your dumplings out like noodles before adding them to the pot?  Or do you drop spoons full of sticky wet batter into the boiling broth?  The debate, depending where you are from, may be fierce.

Check out the SFA's recipe for chicken and dumplings from the community cookbook to see how we make dumplings, and read how our friends fared with this favorite cold-weather dish.  Tend the stove carefully while they cook but, should you need some fire safety advice, the answer is "stop, drop AND roll."  But that's fire safety only -- dumpling instructions are stop, roll, and drop!

Monday, December 5


The first SFA-underwritten foodways class at the University of Mississippi concluded last week. As the students presented their research projects to Dr. Angela Jill Cooley, a post doctoral fellow here at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, SFA staffers watched and listened.

A sampling of what we heard is below. In the picture above, students present, nosh, and visit. Next semester, Dr. Cooley will teach an undergraduate class focused on historicizing the book and film editions of “The Help.”

Kate Kenwright
Undergraduate, Southern Studies
Documented syrup grinding at Eclectic, Alabama, and poured cane syrup for all. What was labor is now leisure, that was the theme of her presentation.

Roy Button
Graduate Student, Southern Studies
In northern Mississippi, he learned that small farms are increasing, so are large farms, but middle sized farms are being squeezed out. Southern foodways being redefined by new farmers and new ethnicities at markets like Liz Stagg’s market on ole Highway 7.

Susie Pennman
Graduate Student, Southern Studies
Brooks Shaw's Old Country Store in Jackson, Tennessee, is a possible inspiration for Cracker Barrel.
She studied narrative of the place. Interviewed Clark Shaw and his son Brooks Shaw. Clark's father, also Brooks, started a museum of country store memorabilia, added food to get people in the door

Amy Ulmer
Graduate Student, Southern Studies
Joe St Columbia of Helena, Arkansas, grew up in a family of Italian immigrants. He says that his family taught Mexicans to make spaghetti sauce and they taught his family to make tamales.

Kirsten Schofield
Graduate Student, Southern Studies
She’s studying performative culture in the South, and is especially interested in brand mascots like Paula Deen and Colonel Sanders. She wonders, how did a guy from Indiana become the quintessential Southerner? How did he perform Southerness?

Jordan Shoemaker,
Graduate Student, History
She’s studying the role of salt in the Civil War. Salt was so scarce that Southerners had to salvage salt from dirt of smokehouse floors. (She brought ham biscuits for all.)

Katherine Bailey
Undergraduate, Journalism
She studied “The Face of Restaurant” how various Mississippi restaurants present themselves, including Ajax, Volta, and, for good measure, Cracker Barrel, present themselves. She included a slideshow on how Cracker Barrel sources and restores its country gewgaws

Danielle Anderson
Graduate Student, Southern Studies
She studied Indian restaurants in Mississippi, and was able to locate only 4 in the whole state, which makes sense when you consider that Mississippi has only 3 million people, and ranks 49th in states with foreign born populations.

Jonathan Bowdler
Graduate student, History
While studying national identity and how it’s linked to memory through cookbooks he’s come to conclude that the South may be a culinary “nation” with a collective memory.

Patrick Weems
Graduate Student, Southern Studies
He studied a community garden project in the Baptist Town of Greenwood Mississippi, where a 17 year old named De’vante Williams is leading the charge.

Rob Cornelius
Undergraduate, English
Yokna Bottom Farms, the first Community Supported Agriculture initiative in Mississippi, was his focus. In addition to doing documentary work, he labored on the farm.

Keith McCall
Graduate Student, history
Salt was his subject of focus, approached through the WPA narratives. He learned that in times of scarcity, Southerners sometimes boiled floorboards, wrenched from smokehouses, in pots of beans to flavor them with salt.

Meghan Holmes
Graduate Student, Southern Studies
She read memoirs of white Southerners, looking at their relationship with black women in three books, including Killers of the Dream by Lillian Smith; From Southern Wrongs to Civil Rights by Sara Parsons; and Making of a Southerner by Katherine Du Pre Lumpkin.

Kelsie Ruff
Graduate Student, History
Using the Southern Living annual cookbook series, she looked at changes over time in concepts of the South, representative dishes, and other measure.

Camilla Akin,
Graduate Student, Southern Studies
Reading the works of Eugene Walter, a native of Mobile, Alabama, she concluded that, as an expatriate, food was a way for him to connect with his roots. She showed a video clip of Eugene singing an ode to cholesterol

Thursday, December 1


The Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC) is now offering their Folk Art Apprenticeship Grants to foodways practitioners. From the MAC website:

MAC recognizes the creativity and cultural significance of foodways to the history and identity of Mississippians. The program honors foodways artists who make dishes that are directly related to the soil and climate of the state, or to the ethnic and regional heritage of their families or communities. Whether you are frying fish, rolling dough, stuffing tamales or canning figs (or something in between), MAC encourages you to share your expertise by participating in the Apprenticeship program.

The very first culinary apprenticeship grant was awarded to Julian Brunt of Biloxi, MS.

If you or someone you know might be interested in applying for the $2,000 grant, please visit the MAC website for more information.

To learn more about some of the foodways stories we've collected in our home state as part of our oral history initiative, visit our Oral History Project Index.

Wednesday, November 30


Photo Courtesy of

SFA's own Amy Evans Streeter is featured on Eatocracy today. Besides being an oral historian and pie-lady-in-residence (she bakes a mean pie), Amy is a fabulous artist to boot. Her paintings are inspired by the world around her, which usually includes a Southern food or two. From Hubig's pies to Duke's Mayonnaise, you can't help but crush on Amy and her artwork.

Check out Food crush: artist and Southern food historian Amy Evans Streeter. Right now.

Tuesday, November 29


What's a Thanksgiving leftover plate without deviled eggs?  Not anything I want to try, that's for sure!  Deviled eggs are considered better than turkey at my house.

At the Communal Skillet last week, they tried out Rick Ellis's recipe for deviled eggs, featured in the SFA Community Cookbook.  Though neither tester appreciated the addition of butter and the elimination of pickle juice, those of us with an aversion to relish will find these eggs delicious.

And for those who want a variety of deviled eggs to test and taste, SFA reminds you that submissions from our 2004 "Deviled Egg-off" (a collection of recipes) are online here.

Tuesday, November 22


Chip Stamey of Stamey's Barbecue. Photo by Denny Culbert

Join us for our Thanksgiving episode of OKRACAST, the oral history podcast. On our holiday table this year: barbecue.

Right now, Rien Fertel and Denny Culbert are traveling on The Barbecue Bus, collecting oral histories for the North Carolina leg of our Southern BBQ Trail. On November 18, they visited with Chip Stamey, a third-generation owner of Stamey’s Barbecue in Greensboro, North Carolina. Chip is the grandson of famed Piedmont barbecue pathfinder and promoter Warner Stamey. 

In the 1920s, Warner studied and worked under Lexington, North Carolina, pit-cooking pioneers Jess Swicegood and Sid Weaver. Warner took what he learned about smoking shoulders back home to Shelby to perfect his techniques and recipes. In 1938, Warner moved back to Lexington, bought out his mentor, Swicegood, and renamed the operation Stamey’s.

In 1953, Warner relocated his barbecue business to Greensboro.

Chip Stamey left a non-‘cue career to take over his grandfather’s business. Chip’s one rule is to keep everything the same: The house that Warner built continues to fry up hushpuppies (a traditional bbq side in North Carolina, originally conceived by Warner), slow-smoke shoulders over hickory coals, and serve chopped and sliced barbecue doused with sauce—or, in local parlance, “dip”.

Look for this interview and many more from the Tar Heel Sate to appear on the Southern BBQ Trail in the coming months.

Go here to listen to this oral history interview on OKRACAST.

Grab some headphones and go!

Plate of 'cue from Stamey's. Photo by Denny Culbert.


illustration by Chip Holton

Or why “C” has no place in a “BLT”
by Jay Pierce

“No fat on fat” is the cardinal rule of sandwich construction.   

This maxim may be illustrated by the example of the Lucky 32 Ham & Havarti Sandwich. I list the order of ingredients from the plate up so that no element is overwhelmed or rendered inert by another and the symphonic convergence of their flavors produce a sum greater than its constituent parts. Fold three generous slices of deli ham and top with two slices of havarti, warm the ham and melt the cheese in the oven, split and toast the bread (a chewy French roll), slather the bottom piece with whole-grained mustard, place the ham and cheese atop it, then, leaves of iceberg lettuce, a pinch of salt, three slices of tomato, salt and pepper, and a generous schmear of Creole-spiked mayonnaise to the top piece of bread before placing it atop the stacked ingredients. The layering of contrasts in this prescription is essential, and it results in the most flavorful combination of the chosen ingredients.  Here’s why: The mayo can’t touch the cheese, but must touch the tomatoes. When mayonnaise abuts cheese, the two lipid entities cancel out each other’s unique contribution. The mustard should be adjacent to the ham because of their affinity for each other; mustard’s sulfurous bite brings out the porky sweetness of city ham. 

Any pedestrian sandwich can benefit from this studied approach.  After all, a BLT is all about the tomatoes’ sweet acidity heightened by the luxuriousness of the mayonnaise; the bacon plays second fiddle by contributing smokiness and salt (not so much fat, because the best BLTs feature crispy bacon). A slice of cheese would throw the entire thing out of whack.  Ultimately, by reducing the ingredients to their base properties, and arranging them thoughtfully, the resulting sandwich can be a transcendental experience.  

Monday, November 21


Braised sweet potato greens. Photo by Amy Evans Streeter.

As part of this year's Delta Divertissement, we gathered in Greenwood to celebrate the agricultural possibilites of the Mississippi Delta. What's the future of farming in this place once known as the Cotton Capital of the World? Three words: sweet potato greens.

Our friend Bonita Conwell harvests these greens at her farm in Mound Bayou, MS, a town that was settled by free blacks in 1887 and has long been known for its sweet potatoes. Only recently has there been a demand for the greens.

Taylor Bowen Ricketts of Delta Bistro in Greenwood cooked Bonita's greens as part of the Divertissement's Friday breakfast (see photo featured above).

We were also lucky enough to have Mississippi-native Ann Cashion, former SFA Board member and chef/co-owner of Johnny's Half Shell in Washington, DC, with us in Greenwood. Inspired by Bonita's commitment to marketing sweet potato greens, Ann developed a recipe for them.

If you can't get your hands on sweet potato greens, feel free to substitute the greens of your choice in Ann's recipe below.

But remember, if you plant sweet potatoes in your garden, save those greens!


10 oz. by weight sweet potato leaves, trimmed from their stalks with 1-2” of stem retained (approx. 1-1/2 pounds of greens)
1 cup red onion, thinly sliced
4 eggs
3 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 pound of butter
2/3 cup white cornmeal (artisanal if possible)
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
Dash of Tabasco or hot pepper sauce (optional)
2 tsp baking powder

* * *

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Blanch leaves briefly, just until water returns to a boil. Refresh in ice water. Drain, squeeze dry, and coarsely chop. 

2. Heat ¼ cup olive oil or other vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and let them sauté until they are golden. Add the chopped greens and sauté to heat through and distribute the onions. SEASON WITH SALT AND PEPPER to taste while sautéing. Set aside.

3. Prepare a 9” cake pan with 2” sides.  Butter the pan, line with parchment round across the bottom. Butter the parchment.

4. Preheat oven (preferably not convection…if you have no choice, preheat to 350 instead) to 375 degress. Set a hotel pan of water in the oven to heat. 

5. Melt butter in milk and cream. 

6. Whisk eggs. Whisk in cornmeal, salt, sugar and baking powder. 

7. Temper mixture with hot milk mixture. Return to saucepan and, stirring constantly over medium heat, cook until mixture thickens but DO NOT BOIL.  Remove from heat.

8. Stir roughly ¼ of the mixture into the greens, enough to loosen them up so that they can go smoothly into the bottom of the cake pan. Level them with a spoon or spatula.  

9. Pour the remaining cornmeal on top of the layer of greens.

10. Place in water bath in oven. Cook until set. 

11. Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes. While still warm, reverse pan onto cake round. Serve immediately, cut into 12 wedges.  If not serving immediately, cut the wedges while cool. Then reheat gently in a slow oven until hot enough to serve.  

Friday, November 18


1. That didn't take long. This week the editorial page of the New York Times took a critical look at Alabama's ugly immigration law and Alabama's even uglier record of minority oppression.

2. If you're not preparing Thanksgiving dinner this way then you might as well just poke holes in the plastic seal on your frozen mashed potatoes and call it a day.

3. December 4 brings the 3rd Annual Appalachian Seed Swap. Gather up the leavings from this year's harvest and head to the Slater Center in Bristol, Tennessee to swap and save!

4. We don't quite know what to make of this. But anyone who understands the inherent beauty of the Elvis sandwich is fine by us. Jon Chonko, we salute you!

5. The Internets are hosting a Thanksgiving Feast and EVERYONE is invited! #pullupachair

6. SFA loves Drew Robinson for a lot of reasons. There's the obvious -- the boy can cook! And, there's the surprising -- the boy can write! As you gather with family and friends next week, remember even a simply prepared dish has the power to heal and to transform. Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 17


Boudin, our traveling exhibit inspired by our Southern Boudin Trail, premiers at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum (SoFab) in New Orleans this weekend. Stop by the museum this Saturday, November 19, from 2 to 4 p.m. for the opening reception and some hot boudin.

Boudin will be on view at SoFab from November 19 though January 8.

Grab a link and go!

* * *

If you're interested in hosting the exhibit, Boudin, please contact Georgeanna Chapman.


I'm preparing for Thanksgiving. That means pie and family. And that means baking and stiff drinks.

First, the stiff drink.

Poinsettia Cocktail
I first had this drink at Station 22 on Sullivan's Island, South Carolina. Delicious and festive.

1/4 c. Vodka
1/4 c. Champagne/Prosecco
1/2 c. Cranberry juice
Lime wedge

(one serving)

photo courtesy of

And, now, the main event. The pie crust. As I've alluded to, it includes, among expected ingredients, vodka. Something to do with evaporation and flaky layers. I encourage you to read the recipe and comments on the Serious Eats site. If you don't, one or two times you will think things have gone terribly wrong. But with encouragement from the comments (and those who have gone before you), you can press on. It's originally from the folks at Cook's Illustrated, so you can rest assured that the recipe has been tested and retested (and then tested again).

photo courtesy of Serious Eats

Cook's Illustrated Fool-Proof Pie Dough

make one 9-inch double pie crust

2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces

1/4 cup cold vodka

1/4 cup cold water

Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.

Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

Wednesday, November 16


Grape hull pie from the bistro at Duplin Winery in Rose Hill, NC, by Amy Evans Streeter

'Tis the season for pie. So, in the spirit of this year's programming theme, the Cultivated South, we thought we'd take a minute to introduce you to the oddly captivating and syrupy-sweet grape hull pie.

Grape hull pie is the boudin of pastry. It makes use of ingredients that might otherwise be discarded: grape skins. Muscadine skins are traditional. They're also preferred, since the hulls of a muscadine are especially thick and stand up well to cooking.

We're not telling you to swap out your usual Thanksgiving sweet potato pie. But, if you're feeling adventurous--and happen to have some Muscadines lying around--take a look at the following recipes:

* * *

Nancie's Muscadine Grape Hull Pie from Southern Pies by Nancie McDermott

Grape Hull Pie from John Kessler at the Atlanta Journal Constitution

Grape Hull Pie from Matt & Ted Lee, a recipe that appeared in the New York Times (registration may be required)

* * *

We also invite you to learn more about muscadines, the South's native grape, by visiting some of the stories that are part of our Wine in the South oral history project. Learn about the health benefits of muscadines from Robert Taylor of Tilford Winery & Farms in Kathleen, GA. Get excited about the future of muscadines with Bo Whitaker of Garden Gate Vineyards in Mocksville, NC. And hear David Fussell Jr. of Duplin Winery in Rose Hill, NC, talk about grape hull pie.

Tuesday, November 15


Corn pudding photo courtesy of The Communal Skillet

We've been so busy sharing symposium news via our Tuesday blog posts that we're going to have to hurriedly catch you up with all the cooking that's been happening over at The Communal Skillet.  Though our Skillet friends weren't able to join us in Oxford, it looks like they've been eating well on their own.  Here's what's been happening in the kitchen:

  • Ambrosia Fruit Salad (easy: open cans, mix, chill)
  • Country Cooked Green Beans with New Potatoes (a holiday classic with fresh beans and salt pork)
  • Creamy Corn Pudding (don't skimp on the eggs to make it souffle-like)
  • Applesauce Cake with Black Walnuts (use homemade applesauce to make it best)
  • Vegetable Soup (with Coca-Cola as a secret ingredient!)
  • Sauerkraut Stuffed Smoked Turkey (you'll need 8 hours here, so plan accordingly)

If you're in need of a Thanksgiving menu, this one's ready for you!  Just get the cookbook and go to work.

Monday, November 14


Earlier today, Rien Fertel and Denny Culbert hit the road to explore the North Carolina leg of the Southern BBQ Trail. They're embarking on a month-long trip to gather the stories behind the Tar Heel State's culture of 'cue. Their mode of transportation: The Barbecue Bus.

Fertel and Culbert plan to take their Barbecue Bus, a state-of-the-art eco-friendly RV, across the entire state of North Carolina. The pair plan to hit major barbecue Meccas in Lexington, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill, but they also look forward to discovering stories in places like Ayden, Hookerton, and Jason. Part of their fieldwork will examine the in-state rivalry between Lexington-style and Eastern-style barbecue.

Follow Fertel and Culbert on the blog they've created for the project, The Barbecue Bus, and on Twitter

At the end of their adventure, at least fifteen oral history interviews will be added to the SFA’s online archive of all things 'cue, the Southern BBQ Trail.

Grab a napkin and go!

Friday, November 11


1. Our friends at Serious Eats have a new book. Before you head off on your holiday travels, pick up a copy. Between these covers you'll find a welcome respite from too much cream of something soup and too much togetherness. And, if you're lucky, a serious food adventure.

2. Heading to New Orleans for the weekend? Don't miss Boudin and Beer.

3. Revenuers may be a thing of the past, but moonshiners are not.

4. We whipped up a couple of batches of bitters for the Symposium. And by whipped up we mean: special ordered herbs and spices from Oregon, drove to Memphis for fresh figs, stirred together the ingredients, shook the mixture every day for nearly 30 days, triple strained everything through cheesecloth and... You get the picture. Why did we go to this much trouble? Well, because if you want a well constructed cocktail, bitters truly are worth the trouble. Jason Wilson explains why.

5. John Kessler breaks up with white whisky. And, declares his love for brown whisky.

6. It's punch season. Why? Because we like punch and we say so. Enjoy.


Join friends in downtown Jackson for PM Soul on Monday, November 14.  The event, conceived by the late Craig Noone of Parlor Market, takes Jackson's newly in vogue pop-up restaurant concept, and moves it to a new location: Peaches Cafe.  Local restaurants will donate soul food dishes to host diners for lunch and dinner.  Proceeds will fund necessary renovations to Peaches Cafe, an historic eatery tied to Jackson's Farish Street history.  Click here to be taken to the Facebook page with more info on the event, or watch a video on the history of Peaches Cafe in Jackson.  For background info on Craig and PM Soul, read Tom Ramsey's article in the Jackson Free Press.

Thursday, November 10


"Pimento Cheese, Please!," a film by Nicole Lang and Cristophile Konstas, premiered last weekend as part of our 2011 foodways symposium. It's now available for viewing online.

The project received support funds from our SFA Greenhouse program, small budget initiative geared to assist collectors in documenting the food stories in their local areas, with an emphasis on film and multimedia projects. Visit our website for more information.

Wednesday, November 9


The Southern Foodways Alliance has grown in ways that none of the founding members could have imagined. We have collected over 500 oral histories, produced more than 30 documentary films, and we continue to celebrate and educate on the diverse foodways of the American South through Field Trips and SymposiaSkillet Brigades, and other educational lectures and events.

SFA is a member-supported organization. Membership in the Southern Foodways Alliance is as important to our strength as corporate sponsorships and individual donations. SFA members feel like a family, which is a wonderful benefit, but sometimes that comfortable belonging allows us to forget that we actually need to purchase or renew memberships each year. Your membership fee covers a portion of our operating expenses, but of equal import is the support that you give our organization by placing your name among our ranks. I am writing to remind you that NOW IS THE TIME TO RENEW OR JOIN FOR 2012. Please click here to become a 2012 member today.

As a member, you receive advance notice of event registration and discounted tuition for the symposium and field trip. You receive a subscription to our Gravy foodletter—a publication that has grown from a folded piece of paper to today’s colorful booklet. Your name is also printed in our annual membership directory, which is shared with members each fall.

Membership and personal engagement in SFA will bolster your palate. It will heighten your awareness of our regional foodways, and increase your appreciation for the folks whose lifework brings great Southern food to the table. Gathered around our SFA table, you will certainly find contemporaries with common interests. And you may, as I have, make some of your best friends. I invite you to join us at the table in 2012. Please join the SFA or renew today. Click here. It’s easy.

Angie Mosier
Immediate Past President

Tuesday, November 8


If you attended the symposium, you're likely to still be dreaming of the Saturday morning buttermilk biscuits with country ham and artisan preserves.  The ham's easy: order it from Nancy Newsom Mahaffey at Newsom's (and read about them in our oral history, here).  Preserves are easy, too: order from April McGreger at Farmer's Daughter.  You'll have to make your own biscuits, though.  Fortunately, April--who made those delicious symposium biscuits--shared her recipe.  Try them this weekend, when you have plenty of time to mix, roll, bake, and eat.



5 cups pre-sifted White Lily UNBLEACHED self –rising flour
2 sticks of SALTED butter, cut into 1 inch pieces
about 1 3/4 cups full fat buttermilk plus a little extra for brushing tops

Cut butter into flour into not-too-small chunks ----butterbean-sized.  Can be done in a food processor or with a pastry blender. Stir in buttermilk by hand to make a soft, just slightly sticky dough.  Be careful not to overwork the dough

Gather dough and press out into a rectangle about 1 inch think onto a floured surface with floured hands (I use my floured forearm like a rolling pin), fold the dough in half, make a quarter turn with the dough, then press out again.   Repeat this process one more time.  Press out to rectangle a generous 3/4 inch thick.

Cut out biscuits with a 3 inch square biscuit cutter. Flour the cutter before cutting out the biscuits and don’t twist as you cut.  Use a bench scraper or spatula to transfer the biscuits to a parchment lined baking sheet with about 1 fingertip of space between them.

Brush the biscuits with full fat buttermilk or cream.

Bake at 500 degrees F for about 12-15 minutes or until deep golden brown.  Check about about 10 minutes and rotate the pan for even baking.

April McGreger
Farmer’s Daughter Brand

Monday, November 7


I'm sure by now you've heard gushings about Nicole Lang's new film, Pimento Cheese, Please! First of all, yes, it really is as good as you've heard. Second, if you are in the Richmond, Virginia area, you can see it on the big screen!

Richmond Magazine and The Hippodrome Theatre presents
The RVA premiere of Pimento Cheese, Please!
Wednesday, November 9, 2011. Showing at 7:30pm
The Hippodrome Theatre
528 N. 2nd St. Richmond VA, 23219
General Admission Tickets:$8

Including a sampling of Pimento Cheese from 8 Richmond restaurants!
This event benefits the Historic Jackson Ward Association and the Southern Foodways Alliance.
Buy tickets online.

Friday, November 4


Looking for a pre-holiday getaway? Head over the May River and through the woods—er, marsh—to Bluffton, South Carolina. The Palmetto Bluff resort will be hosting its fifth annual Music to Your Mouth culinary festival from November 15–20. Tickets are still available for many of the events, and we will be hosting a "Sip n Screen Symposium" with SFA documentary films on Friday evening, November 18. We hope to see you there!


The week after the 14th Annual Symposium finds us a little bit tired and a lot happy. It's the right time and we're in the right mood for a six-pack. Won't you join us?

1. Last Friday at the Symposium's opening meal, Edward Lee knocked it out the SFA park with his Kentucky Bento Box. This week, the new season of Top Chef began. Edward Lee is a contestant. SFA wouldn't think of picking a favorite because there are several crazily talented Southern chefs competing this season. BUT, we do note (with some delight) that only one of those chefs chose to wear an SFA hat for his audition video. Thanks for spreading the SFA love, Mr. Lee!

2. Emily Wallace continues her North Carolina meat and three quest with a trip to Libby's Too.

3. Freret Street ought to be your next New Orleans dining (and drinking) destination.

4. Ever have a nagging feeling that buying meat in pre-proportioned chunks on a styrofoam plastic wrapped tray is somehow wrong and unfulfilling? Find a real butcher. You'll eat better and feel better.

5. Hank Shaw is a hunter, a gatherer, and a forager. He thinks you could be too.

6. And now for something completely different from our friends, One Ring Zero: The Recipe Project.

Wednesday, November 2


The late O'Neil Broyard of the Saturn Bar in New Orleans

Last Saturday's symposium talk on the endangered Louisiana mirliton (also known as vegetable pear or chayote squash), reminded us of our 2005 oral history interview with the late O'Neil Boryard, who operated the Saturn Bar in New Orleans' Bywater neighborhood.

We visited with Broyard as part of our Bartenders of New Orleans project. What we found was far more than an eccentric barkeep. Broyard was a man who was passionate about his friends, his neighborhood, and the garden he kept in the back of his beloved Saturn Bar. From the interview:
I just started fooling around, you know. Like I eat an orange or something, put a couple seeds back there--kumquats, lemons, maybe a navel orange, Satsumas, all that shit like that, you know. And I let it start to come up…And one year back there I had fifty-one tomato plants. I used to pick the tomatoes in the morning, and put them in a beer box to share…Put them in a box, let people take them…Especially the mirlitons. The mirlitons, I used to pick them and put them up there and let them take what they want. That’s all mirliton plants I got back there. And I go plant them over there. I’m gonna go plant some on the side there. I got a lemon tree outside. I got a grapefruit tree outside. I got a peach tree. Japanese plum tree. And Satsuma tree. Yeah.
We're glad to be reminded of Broyard during this year of the Cultivated South.

* * *

Go here to read the rest of our interview with O'Neil Broyard.

Go here to listen to Sara Roahen's recent symposium presentation on the mirliton, the "underdoggiest of vegetables."


Leaves of Greens from UM Media Documentary Projects on Vimeo.

Leaves of Greens was performed Sunday, October 30 at the 2011 Southern Foodways Symposium.

Composer's Note, by Price Walden:

When the Southern Foodways Alliance first approached me with the idea of a “collard green opera,” my first instinct was to immediately run the other way. However, the more I thought about it, the better the idea seemed to me. The Southern tradition is full of things that are grandiose and larger- than-life; why not apply that notion to such a peculiar and beloved vegetable?

The bulk of the text comes from a collection of poems entitled Leaves of Greens: the Collard Poems, edited and compiled by Luke Whisnant and Alex Albright and published in 1984 by the annual Ayden Collard Green Festival in North Carolina. The music and lyrics are supplemented by a few more poems and traditional hymns. The structure of the piece is in 3 main parts, each dealing with a different aspect of Southern life: relationships with parents, Southern mythology, and relationships with grandparents.

Leaves of Greens is scored for soloists, choir, piano and percussion and lasts approximately 25 minutes.

Tuesday, November 1


Dori Sanders - 2011 Craig Claiborne Lifetime Achievement Award Winner from Southern Foodways on Vimeo.

Meet Dori Sanders, the 2011 Craig Claiborne Lifetime Achievement Award winner.  Watch this Joe York profile to learn a bit about her, and click here to read Ronni Lundy's tribute at the award presentation.

Sunday, October 30


Sunday's SFA symposium programming is now online via podcast at iTunesU.  Click here to be taken to the SFA iTunes U page, and listen to Ed Davis's musings on collard greens and hear the spectacular Collard Opera, composed by University of Mississippi student Price Walden and performed by UM's Opera Theater.


Saturday Symposium podcasts are now available on iTunesU.  Click here to be taken to the SFA iTunes U page to hear presentations from Michael McFee, Shirley Sherrod, Elizabeth Engelhardt, Rashid Nuri, Felder Rushing and Sara Roahen.  The morning began with poetry, moved to serious conversation about discriminatory farming practices, and ended with talk of mirlitons and the Long Beach Radish.

Saturday, October 29


The 2011 Southern Foodways Symposium, which explores The Cultivated South, began Friday morning.  Podcasts from the Friday presentations are now online at iTunesU.  Click here to be taken to the SFA iTunes U page and listen to Sean Brock ponder olives in the South, Emily Wallace argue that the pimento is a vegetable, Eleanor Finnegan and Ragan Sutterfield discuss the idea(l) of the farm, and Kevin Young offer poetic salute to the Groaning Table.

Friday, October 28


The Southern Foodways Alliance is pleased to share the story of Hardy Farms of Hawkinsville, Georgia, recipient of the 2011 Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame Award.


Greetings from the 2011 Southern Foodways Symposium! This weekend we are eating, drinking, learning, and listening our way through the Cultivated South. If you're not with us this in person, enjoy a cultivated six-pack to finish out the work day.

1. In just moments, we'll be hearing Sean Brock speak about the revival of olive cultivation in the South. Brock was the subject of an article in this week's New Yorker—don't miss it! (If you don't have a subscription to the New Yorker, you'll need to purchase it in order to read the entire article.)

2. This morning we sampled bitters—breakfast beverage of champions—from Brad Thomas Parsons, author of the new book Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-all.

3. Kevin Young, lauded bard of Southern foodstuffs, kicked off this year's symposium with a talk entitled "The Groaning Table." Read an excerpt from his new book Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels.

4. Cultivated craziness! Read about last week's produce trade show in Atlanta. Have you ever had a craving for a grape-flavored apple?

5. A food-distribution giant takes steps toward local sourcing. (Dig the high cuteness factor of the infographic.)

6. You're keeping up with us on Twitter, right? All of the action will be marked with the hashtag #foodways. Follow along or join the conversation.

Thursday, October 27


In 2009, Alabama "popped the cap" on craft beer, raising the ceiling for alcohol by volume (ABV) from 6% to 13.9%. The boys of Good People Brewing Company had already been at work for a few years by then, taking their homebrew operation commercial in 2007. The new law has allowed them to step up their production over the last couple of years, and Good People now offers over a dozen varieties of suds. Most popular is the Snake Handler double IPA, which scoffs at the former 6% ABV limit, clocking in at a stumble-inducing 9.3%.

Good People began rolling out cans in 2011, and we're hoping that they hit shelves beyond Alabama very soon. In the meantime, we'll be tapping a few kegs this weekend at the symposium.

If you can't join us in Oxford, follow our exploits 140 characters at a time by searching for the hashtag #foodways on Twitter (@potlikker).

Wednesday, October 26


"When you do good, good will follow you, especially with food." 
– Herman Sullivan

Food brought Herman Sullivan to Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Church in Greenwood, Mississippi. His high school principal was an elder member of the church and invited him to supper. Herman soon became a member and committed himself not only to God, but to the greater Greenwood community, as well. He and his wife started the church’s food bank in 1997. In 2009 Herman applied for a grant from Delta Health Alliance to start a church garden. He’s now the church’s head gardener and oversees the entire operation, from planting seeds to delivering collard greens to elderly people in the community who can’t get to the church’s food bank on their own. Food is his ministry. But it’s also a way of life. Seventh-day Adventists subscribe to health laws that dictate a strictly vegan diet, and the church’s garden has helped the congregation honor those laws and become healthier as a result. The garden has also served as a way to educate young people in the community about where food comes from. Herman looks forward to expanding the garden and collaborating with other churches to help plant seeds of inspiration throughout the Mississippi Delta.

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SFA members joining us in Greenwood for our 9th Annual Delta Divertissement will enjoy a church potluck of dishes made with vegetables from the Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Church's garden.


The Downtown Greenwood Farmers’ Market was established in 2008 as a project of Main Street Greenwood, a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote economic development and revitalization in this Delta town, once known as the Cotton Capital of the World. Located along the old Columbus and Greenville Railway, the Market connects two parts of Greenwood that have long been racially divided. Every Saturday from May through September, up to 15 vendors from Greenwood and surrounding counties set up tents, offering everything from blueberries to barbecue. The Market has proved to not only offer support for local growers and make fresh foods available to people who might not otherwise have access to them, but it has become a gathering place for all members of the community—rich and poor, young and old, black and white.

The Market is within walking distance of the Alluvian, a Viking-owned boutique hotel, as well as some of Greenwood’s low-income neighborhoods. A tourists might take home an easy-to-pack loaf of European-style bread baked by Donald Bender of Mockingbird Bakery, while a local might purchase turnip greens from Hallie Streater of Streater Farm and pay with cash-value vouchers, the product of a government program created to ensure low-income families access to fresh food. Vendors at the Market offer fascinating insight to Mississippi Delta’s agricultural history, as well as examples of small-scale producers who have found a new way to supplement existing income. They also speak to the community that is cultivated at the Market every Saturday during the season.

Meet John D. Ashcraft III, who grew up on Roebuck Plantation, a cotton farm just outside of Greenwood, and is now the only Delta-area producer of blueberries. Hear Leann Hines talk about how the Downtown Greenwood Farmers’ Market was the catalyst for her pastured poultry business. Listen to Hallie Streater talk about harvesting pears from the orchard that sits on 460 of acres of land that have been in her family for generations. And more.

These are the stories of the Downtown Greenwood Farmers’ Market.

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We're celebrating these oral history subjects during our 9th Annual Delta Divertissement, which kicks off tomorrow, Oct. 27, in Greenwood.