Saturday, July 30


The SFA announces Greenshoots, a program to promote the work of emerging farmers, artisans, and other producers of great Southern goods.

Not all companies and organizations can afford to be SFA donors. For nascent entities, the SFA stands ready to serve such goods and help spread their stories by way of the ongoing calendar of SFA events, including the annual Southern Foodways Symposium, held each fall in Oxford, Mississippi.

The idea is to expose SFA members and friends to goods they might otherwise not know.

Greenshoots is a short-term program. No entity may take advantage of this program for more than three years. SFA will pay wholesale costs for goods chosen.

If you wish to apply for Greenshoots status, and want SFA to serve your goods at our events, drop us a line. An SFA committee will review your work, review our needs, check to make sure that none of our current donors do work in that same category, and get back in touch.

As we begin, we're looking for local or regional breweries that might be interested in the program. Email if you'd like to apply.

Thanks, Team SFA

Friday, July 29

Southern Six-Pack

And a chaser

1. The local-vore movement is slow to take hold in Appalachia but Steven Hopp isn't giving up!

2. The war between the states heats up again. This time it's Georgia versus South Carolina in a food fight over peaches.

3. Jane Lear offers a moving eulogy for killed salad.

4. It's just not possible to say enough good things about Rodney Scott. Thank goodness Josh Ozersky agrees!

5. From Mary Mac's Tea Room to an organic garden and back to The Farmhouse at Serenbe, Mary Nygren lives the farm to table movement.

6. The Southeastern Conference doesn't allow alcohol sales at sporting events. No matter, LSU has teamed with Tin Roof Brewing to create its own brand of beer. It will be on the shelves just in time for football season!

The Chaser. This has nothing to do with Southern food but a whole lot to do with the South!


SFA office renovations are underway. The octagonal room, at the top of the stairs, in Barnard Observatory, will soon be transformed into a bullpen of six workspaces, ringed by three private offices. We'll get new flooring, new furniture, more storage, new lighting, and a gleaming paint job. 

Soon, we hope to host traveling members who pass through town. For now, painters claim the space. By the close of August we'll be all moved in. Come see us then. 

Thursday, July 28


Photo Courtesy of Beth Dreiling Hontzas/Southern Living Magazine

The beginnings of drinking tea (albeit hot tea) go back over 5,000 years. But the refreshing drink we like to sip on warm summer day is much younger than that.

Serving tea cold gets it roots from green tea punches served in the early nineteenth century. Fast-forward through Mrs. Marion Cabell Tyree's recipe in Housekeeping in Old Virginia, published in 1879, which not only iced the tea but added sugar. Pause at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904, where iced tea was widely popularized, as people did not want to sip hot drinks in the heat of summer. The rest, shall we say, is history.

American Classic Tea is the only tea grown and produced 100% in the U.S. It grows on the Charleston Tea Plantation on Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina. They currently produce both black and green teas in over 320 varieties on the 127 acre grounds. Charleston Tea Plantation also provides the tea for Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka, distilled right down the road.

My throat is dry. Let's get a drink. This week, the folks at Serious Eats serve up a recipe for Sun Tea. This takes some premeditation; you'll need to steep the tea 3-5 hours in full sunlight.
Or, if you're in a hurry, McAlister's is offering free tea to all visitors TODAY ONLY.

Wednesday, July 27


Yee's Food Land in Lake Village, AR, by Jung Min "Kevin" Kim for the SFA.

Last summer, SFA intern Jung Min "Kevin" Kim conducted oral history interviews with Chinese grocers in the Mississippi and Arkansas deltas. Hyphen Magazine recently featured the project in an article by Nina Kahori Fallenbaum entitled "Mississippi Bok Choy: Telling the Stories of Chinese American Grocers in the South". From the article:

Chinese people have been coming to the area since 1869, when Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas cotton planters met during Reconstruction to figure out who would work their fields in a post-enslavement era. Their solution? Recruit workers from southern China and San Francisco’s Chinatown. Most of those farm-laboring Chinese left the Delta after their contracts expired, but a few stayed on, opening small grocery stores that served Black clientele who wanted an alternative to commissaries run by former plantation owners.

To view the Chinese Grocers project in its entirety, please visit our online archive.

Go here to learn more about our internship program.

Tuesday, July 26


SFA friends at the Communal Skillet have turned one recipe into two! Night one: butterbean gravy for grilled chicken. Night two: leftover gravy becomes butterbean soup. Check out their blog to see how they do it. And, as long as we're on the subject of butterbeans, let's just all agree that they sound way more appetizing than their lima bean counterpart.

Monday, July 25


Back when I was in grad school in Southern Studies, during the late 1990s, I did some work -- at the suggestion of Tom Rankin, then a professor at Ole Miss, now a professor at Duke University -- with the America Eats project.

Begun in the 1930s by the Works Progress Administration, America Eats was envisioned as a catalogue of American food habits. Long before the term foodways came into use, the America Eats project dispersed documentarians throughout our nation. They were charged with capturing how Americans defined themselves in the kitchen and at the table.

America Eats was disbanded before it could be completed. In the intervening 70-odd years, a number of academics and writers have utilized America Eats manuscripts, including Mark Kurlanksky, who compiled the book, The Food of a Younger Land.

Earlier this month, that Depression-era work, and other governmental work dealing with the American diet, got a new airing by way of a restaurant, America Eats Tavern, opened by Jose Andres in DC, and an exhibit, "What's Cooking Uncle Sam" now on display at the National Archives, also in DC.

Friday, July 22

Southern Six-Pack

1. Shake, rattle, and roll yourself to the nearest bookstore and get a copy of The Chitlin' Circuit and the Road to Rock and Roll by CSSC alum, Preston Lauterbach.

2. Mother's Best, Clabber Girl, lard, and buttermilk -- turns out the real trick to baking great biscuits isn't in the ingredients, it's in the practiced hand of the maker. Go make yourself some biscuits. That's right, this weekend. It's not like your kitchen can get any hotter.

3. You're probably already traveling somewhere this summer. Detour through Memphis and visit Gus' Fried Chicken. You'll be glad you did.

4. Third generation Melba Toast makers are reviving their grandmother's business. That's right, you cornbread and biscuit snobs, melba toast just like mamaw used to make!

5. Garden yields are starting to move from delightful to drudgery. Steven Satterfield offers some refreshing solutions for too many squash, okra, and tomatoes (Let's not get ahead of ourselves. There's no such thing as too many tomatoes).

6. Meet a Meat and Three with Emily Wallace.

Thursday, July 21


Photo Courtesy of Franklin County Moonshine blog

High-end moonshine. It sounds funny if you say it out loud.

Moonshine has typically been known for it's, um, low-endness. Moonshine, while it is technically any illegally produced spirit, is most often associated with corn whiskey. "White whiskey" is clear, not getting the coloring of its proper cousin that spends time aging in barrels. Though it existed prior to 1920, it became a favorite back-room, under-the-table spirit by way of Prohibition. Moonshine was the easiest and cheapest homemade spirit, because of the lack of aging.

Well, moonshine has come to town. You can now legally purchase white whiskey from the likes of Heaven Hill, Buffalo Trace, Jim Beam, and High West. I just don't know if I can take moonshine with a fancy label (and price tag) seriously. Its danger is part of its appeal. Jason Wilson, of The Washington Post, says "it appears that moonshine is the new absinthe: a formerly illicit spirit that’s now the darling of the cocktail cognoscenti." Wait, now people are making cocktails with moonshine?

If you've never tasted moonshine, please note several things. First, moonshine has a very high proof. Be careful with this stuff! Also, because it doesn't have the forgiving aging process to tone it down, the taste can be startling. Ahem, not that I've tasted it. And, the one thing that hasn't changed is you still cannot legally make this stuff at home.

So, law-abiding citizens, now is your chance to try moonshine! At long last! Let's make a cocktail to celebrate: how about the Silver Queen Daisy.

Wednesday, July 20


Photo of OakMoon Farm via NC Farmer Voices

Meet Cynthia Sharpe, pictured above, who, along with Dwain Swing, operates OakMoon Farm & Creamery in Bakersville, NC. Their story is part of North Carolina Farmer Voices, a project of RAFI-USA and its Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund. From the website:

This program assists farmers and community groups in developing new sources of agricultural income through the provision of cost-share grants.
[At NC Farmer Voices] you’ll find a collection of stories—in photographs, sound, and multimedia—about projects that are leading models for agriculture in North Carolina. These farmers are innovators, entrepreneurs, and small business owners on the frontier of agricultural innovation. We believe the wisdom of farmers is one of the most powerful tools we have to bring economic growth to North Carolina.

The SFA is doing some digging in North Carolina, as well. We're currently collecting fieldwork to document the Carrboro Farmers Market. Look for those interviews to appear online in the early fall.

Tuesday, July 19


Suffering Succotash! The phrase, made popular by Sylvester the Cat of Looney Tunes fame, is a Depression-era "minced oath" thought to mean Suffering Savior. But succotash, by no means, requires swearing--unless it's a sort of happy swearing.

Succotash is a delicious mix of fresh vegetables, usually including (but not limited to) butterbeans, corn, okra and tomatoes. Click here to read how our friends at the Communal Skillet cooked up a batch this week.

Friday, July 15

Southern Six-Pack

My mother-in-law, who grew up in Florida, remembers passing the hottest days of the summer by sitting on the front porch, reading a book, and all the while cooling her feet in a bucket of ice cold water. It's that hot now. Gather whatever you need to re-create that scene 21st century style -- ice packs from the freezer, anti-glare coating on your computer screen, porch fan turned to 11 -- and enjoy this week's six-pack.

1. It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of John Mosca. Our thoughts go out to his family, his friends, and his legion of intensely loyal customers.

2. Herschel Joe York died in 1976 long before he got to finish the bottle of Jim Beam he kept tucked in the back of his clothes closet. 30 years later, his grandson, Joe York, rescued that bottle. Wright Thompson tells the story.

3. Rice feeds the planet. Reporters from Louisiana to Sri Lanka find life and love in a simple grain.

4. Pimento Cheese, it's not just for Southerners any more!

5. This Sunday, the third annual Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival kicks off at White Provisions in Atlanta. Don't miss it!

6. The Southern Folklife Collection announced that the films of R. Stanley Woodward are now available in the searchable collection. Mr. Woodward is the chancellor of Southern food filmmaking. This collection is a gift to all of us who love the American South. If you haven't yet seen It's Grits, what's wrong with you?

Thursday, July 14


Photo courtesy of Sam Dunn/FlickR

Dublin Dr. Pepper Bottling Co. (located in Dublin, Texas) has been producing the drink since 1891. They are the oldest Dr. Pepper bottler in the world. When most bottlers changed their sweetener to high fructose corn syrup in the 1970s, Dublin Dr. Pepper continued with the original formula, using Imperial Pure Cane Sugar. In recent years, this has made the small, family-owned bottler more popular than ever.

Dublin adds its own name to the bottle, Dublin Dr. Pepper, to differentiate their cane sugar version from the others. On June 28, Dr. Pepper Snapple Co. (DPS), the parent company, filed a lawsuit against Dublin Dr. Pepper citing "license agreement violations." DPS seeks to end the use of the term "Dublin Dr. Pepper" and also charges Dublin is selling their drinks beyond the six-county territory designated in the licensed agreement. DPS says, "we owe it to our other bottlers to stop these unauthorized charges."

Watch a video from the Wall Street Journal on the issue.
Read a response from Dublin Dr. Pepper.

And then decide, are you a [Dublin] Pepper?

Wednesday, July 13


Claire Ackerman, SFA oral history intern, with a box of vegetables from 
Woodson Ridge Farms. Photo by Amy Evans Streeter.

Claire Ackerman, a graduate student in public history at Middle Tennessee State University, is visiting Oxford this week to work alongside SFA oral historian Amy Evans Streeter. Claire is the recipient of this year's in-house internship in oral history

Claire's first couple of days in Oxford were spent at the computer, but this morning she accompanied Amy into the field. Literally. They visited Woodson Ridge Farms in Oxford, a vegetable farm just northeast of town that's owned by Luke and Elizabeth Heiskell, recent transplants from the Delta. Amy and Claire spent the morning with Elizabeth, touring the farm and listening to stories about the Heiskell's newest venture (they've only been farming since February). After the interview, Elizabeth loaded us down with just-picked tomatoes, squash, eggplants, and cantaloupes.

Freshly-picked tomatoes at Woodson Ridge Farms.
Photograph by Amy Evans Streeter.

Did we mention tomatoes? All of the tomatoes pictured above were hand-picked this morning and sit ready to be delivered to customers near and far.

Our interview with Woodson Ridge Farms is part of a new project documenting produce farms in Mississippi. Look for this interview and others to appear as part of our online archive in the early fall. 


GARLIC & GREENS offers public programs at Chicago's DuSable Museum showcasing the intersections between migration history, food heritage, social justice, the arts, and disability studies. Each lecture will be accompanied by a meal to encourage conversation about the information presented. You are invited to attend the following FREE public event:

exploring Black culture through migration history and food heritage
2:00 p.m., Saturday 6 August, 2011
The DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 East 56th Place, Chicago

Featuring renowned historian Timuel Black, author of Bridges of Memory: Chicago’s First Wave of Great Migration, and Audrey Petty, author of “Late-Night Chitlins With Momma”, which was selected for inclusion in Best Food Writing 2006 and Cornbread Nation 4.

Tuesday, July 12


Our friends at the communal skillet have mixed reviews about an SFA Community Cookbook favorite: the tomato and watermelon salad. One adventurous recipe tester mixed up the vinegar (subbing white balsamic for red wine), and both recommended using a less-than-ripe watermelon. Also, they suggested a good lead time on salad prep, to give flavors time to meld in the fridge overnight. Final verdict? One grew to love it, and one could see how others would love it. Click here to read about their recipe testing and try it yourselves.

Monday, July 11


Teresa Cranmore, 2010. Photo by Meghan Leonard. 

In 2010 Meghan Leonard, an SFA oral history intern, traveled to Meridian, MS, to record the story of barbecue maven, Teresa Cranmore
A native of Meridian, Teresa worked as an accountant for twenty years before deciding to venture into the barbecue business. She and her husband, Terry, opened Squealer’s Hickory Smoked Bar-B-Que in a tiny, stand-alone structure that was once a sno-cone stand in 1998.  The business soon outgrew its small quarters, and the Cranmores opened a second location in the College Park shopping center in 2003. Known for their pulled pork sandwiches and delicious desserts, Squealer’s has ranked as “Best Barbecue” in the Meridian Star’s Reader’s Choice Awards every year since the store opened for business.
Teresa’s passion for serving her community goes beyond providing an excellent barbecue plate. Squealer’s fundraising efforts have helped raise more than a million dollars for the local community. It’s a fitting accomplishment for a restaurant whose motto is “Peace, Love and Pork.” 
This is a special Southern Barbecue Trail edition of okracast
Grab some headphones and go! 

This Week in Southern Food History

Hot enough for you? You have to admit that the steamy, sticky days of July would be a whole lot worse without ice in your glass.* And for those frozen nuggets of relief, you can thank the antebellum Gulf Coaster (by way of the Caribbean) Dr. John Gorrie.

From his home in Apalachicola, Florida, Dr. Gorrie created the first ice-machine, which he debuted at a soiree on July 14, 1850. (Talk about a party trick.) Gorrie would patent the machine the following year.

* (Yes, we saw you slip that cube into your white wine. No, we won't tell.)

Friday, July 8

Southern Six-Pack

This week's six-pack (not unlike an actual six-pack) takes us from thought provoking to down-right silly. Crack it open and enjoy!

1. Iowa and Florida legislatures are considering bills which would make it a crime to video-tape, audio-record, or in any way document a crop or animal facility without the prior consent of the owner.

2. Used to be, nearly all of the pecans grown in the U.S. were consumed here as well. Since 2004, that equation has changed with a booming market for pecans in China and an emerging market in India. Georgia pecan farmers, who grow 70% of the world's pecans, are struggling to keep up with the demand.

3. Food Trucks invade Nashville. Taco trucks on Nolensville Road are a recent staple of the Nashville dining scene. Now food trucks offering fare from grilled cheese to Barbie burgers are branching out to neighborhoods across the city.

4. It's pimento cheese season. Seriously. Made from cold ingredients. Requires no heat to produce. Pairs perfectly with the abundance of tomatoes and cucumbers starting to flood market baskets and back yard gardens. The folks at Charlie got so excited they dared to name the three best Pimento Cheeses in Charleston. What is the best PC in your neck of the woods?

5. The Help opens in theaters on August 10. Love the book or hate it. Looking forward to the film or not. Authentic Southern food might end up being the real star of the movie. And that would make us all very very happy!

6. If you're social media obsessed, you've likely already seen this. We don't care. We love it. We think it's the right way to end your Friday.

Thursday, July 7


Photo courtesy of Whole Foods Market

July in the South means hot and humid.

We need some relief! Now's the time to make some lemonade out of this lemon. No, seriously.

Are your enterprising kids (or neighbor's kids) taking this opportunity to make a little money with a lemonade stand? If you're like me, the closest you got to a lemonade stand was on your Apple II. Here's a summer project for you: help them make real lemonade. Not talking powdered-mix-and-stir. The real stuff: lemons, sugar, water.

This week on Eatocracy, learn the basic recipe for lemonade. Simple syrup isn't just for cocktails--who knew? Once you've mastered that, kick it up a notch with the Smoked Lemonade. Smoke lemon halves. And add brown liquor. (Now you can make some serious cash at that stand!)

Wednesday, July 6


Today, July 6, is National Fried Chicken Day. In honor of this high holiday, we offer you a taste of Hot Chicken, our short film that documents the hot (fried) chicken craze in Nashville, Tennessee.  It's a big week for fried chicken in Nashville: the fifth annual Music City Hot Chicken Festival just happened on Monday, July 4.

We think a fine way to celebrate National Fried Chicken Day is to heat up a cast iron skillet at home, crack open your SFA Community Cookbook and make Austin Leslie's Fried Chicken with New Orleans Confetti. Don't forget to make a few extra pieces to store in the fridge for lunch tomorrow, the Day After National Fried Chicken Day.

Tuesday, July 5


SFA board member Makalé Faber-Cullen has organized a Skillet Brigade for SFA members and friends in the NYC area. The invitation is above, and the details are below. Interested but have questions? Email

Saturday, July 23rd from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM

KCC Marina, opposite building T-3, 2001 Oriental Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY

Our hosts are Captains Tony DiLernia and Anthony Vento of the Maritime Technology Program at Kingsborough Community College (KCC). Captain Vento will lead our team of sweepers on a clean up of Sheepshead Bay. The GreenBoat runs on used cooking oil and is part of a zero-waste food service project at CUNY Kingsborough.

BRING LUNCH + BRING WATER! We're lunching on the Bay.

R.S.V.P. to


Photo courtesy of The Communal Skillet

This week at The Communal Skillet, our contributors praise the bounty of summer squash. It's at peak season, being harvested by the buckets daily. Nary an office with a gardener escapes the "please take me" giveaway box in the break room. For a summer side dish this week, our skillet collaborators have adapted the summer squash soufflé found in The SFA Community Cookbook.

Monday, July 4


Our colleague (and former SFA board member) Fred Sauceman of East Tennessee State University has released a new short foodways film, Mountain Mojo: A Cuban Pig Roast in East Tennessee.
Every fall, Eduardo Zayas-Bazán -- a native of Cuba who was a veteran of the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion and who taught Spanish at East Tennessee State University for over 30 years -- hosts a Cuban-style pig roast in Tennessee for family and friends.

 “Among my fondest memories are the pig roasts we had in Cuba on special occasions,” said Zayas-Bazán, who marinates his pigs in grapefruit juice mixed with garlic and oregano, and cooks them in a contraption that he says “looks like a shoe box with a grill inside.”

With the annual pig roast as context, the film tells the story of Zayas-Bazán’s life, both in Cuba and the U.S. Mountain Mojo is a half-hour documentary produced by ETSU’s Office of University Relations and Center for Appalachian Studies and Services. For information on film screenings, contact Fred:

Friday, July 1

Southern Six-Pack

Happy July and Happy July 4th Weekend! For our friends in the South, July means summer's last hurrah (although summer's heat won't wave good-bye until October.) Food-wise, right now we've got it all: blueberries, blackberries, peaches, tomatoes, cucumbers, and okra. Before you head to your garden, the pool, the beach, or your kitchen, take a minute, bask in the quiet and the AC, and enjoy this week's six-pack.

1. Sure, lobster, shrimp, and crab are a suppertime splurge for most of us. Yes, they're succulent and tasty. But, love of crustaceans shouldn't lead to a life of crime.

2. John Kessler had an adventure with a "ginger microwave cake." The cake expired in 2009. Kessler ate it anyway. He's like that.

3. Al-Maida Chinese Restaurant and the Dai family call Tripoli home. Despite the civil war raging around them, they still deliver. You're right, this one has nothing to do with the South. We just like it!

4. It's been a little over a year since the Gulf Oil Disaster began. And, not quite a year since the Deepwater Horizon was finally capped. Brett Anderson introduces us to the Collins family, lifelong oystermen, who are fighting to keep their family business alive.

5. Kathleen Purvis and Andrea Weigl have teamed up to bravely name the Top 25 Tar Heel Eats. Fight amongst yourselves!

6. Uvalda mayor, Paul Bridges, is an unlikely hero in Georgia's battle over immigrant rights but a welcome hero in the battle for basic human kindness and decency.