Friday, September 30


NCAA Conference re-alignment got you down? Feeling sorry for yourself because the Braves and the Red Sox broke your heart. Again. Sounds like you need a six-pack!

1. Chances are you found yourself so distracted (or disturbed) by the picture of the sexy chicken that you never got around to reading about the new trend in bar snacks and general good eating, the chicken skin.

2. Rick Perry learned that the term "roadkill" when associated with Eastern Carolina BBQ is indeed a fighting word.

3. As domestic spending debates rage, NPR's food blog, The Salt, took a moment to reflect on the history and intent of farm subsidies.

4. Doritos' inventor, Arch West, will be buried tomorrow in Dallas. His family and friends will say a final good-bye by tossing handfuls of crushed Doritos into his grave.

5. A New Orleans minister is close to finishing his quest to eat in every restaurant in Orleans Parish.

6. It's time to put away the fruits of summer (I'm looking at you tomato) and embrace the fruits of fall. Here's an apple primer to guide your sauteing, baking, and snacking.

Thursday, September 29


Set your DVRs. Next week, PROHIBITION premieres on PBS (Oct 2-4). PROHIBITION is a three-part documentary film series directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick that tells the story of the "Noble Experiment," mandated by the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. "The story of Prohibition's rise and fall is a compelling saga that goes far beyond the oft-told tales of gangsters, rum runners, flappers, and speakeasies, to reveal a complicated and divided nation in the throes of momentous transformation."

Imbibe Magazine has a Q & A with Ken Burns about "what he was most surprised to learn about the time period, whether or not he thinks he would have been tempted to tipple, and what he sees as Prohibition’s most lasting impact on society."

Pull up a seat, top off your double old-fashioned glass, and check it out.


photo courtesy of Garden & Gun Magazine

Tonight Southern Lens, SCETV's independent film series, features South Carolina Foodways. The film is produced and directed by our own award-winning documentarian Joe York and includes barbeque, seafood, pork, and squirrel stew. The people behind this food include Rodney Scott, Victor "Goat" Lafayette, Emile de Felice, and the Colleton-Green family.

If you're in South Carolina, you can tune in at 9 p.m. tonight (Sept 29).

Also, if you haven't seen the latest issue of Garden & Gun, you may have missed the spread on Joe, the "Ken Burns of Southern food." We are damn glad he's leaning the camera off the side of a boat, hanging it inside a barbeque pit, and bouncing it on the dashboard of his car (or wherever he needs to put it to get the shot). We are proud of the work he does, of the stories he tells and how he tells them. And we're thrilled others feel the same.

If you'd like to check out individual films from the Southern Foodways Alliance's collection, you can see them all online.

Wednesday, September 28


Portrait of Stanley Hughes by Kate Medley

“Well, it’s the people. The people really support what you’re doing. You know, they’re there for you.”
                                          ~ Stanley Hughes

The unincorporated community of Hurdle Mills, North Carolina, lies thirty miles north of the Carrboro Farmers’ Market. It is there that Stanley Hughes and his family—including his teenage daughter, Xandria, and his wife, Linda Leach—maintain Pine Knot Farms. This land, over one hundred acres of it, has been in the Hughes family for nearly a century. It is the land he grew up on. Stanley follows in the tobacco-farming tradition of his father, uncles, and grandfather, but in the last 15 years he has transitioned his tobacco crop to certified organic. In addition to the tobacco, Stanley also grows certified organic fruits and vegetables, which he sells through CSA shares, directly to area restaurants, and at both the Carrboro and Durham Farmers’ Markets. They bring to Market a wide variety of vegetables including sweet potatoes, collards, kale, cabbage, broccoli, winter squash, turnips, and greens. Stanley represents a segment of farming that uses old-fashioned farming techniques such as tobacco barn-cured sweet potatoes. On Saturdays at the Carrboro Farmers’ Market, Linda takes pride in creating eye-catching displays and handing out samples, while Stanley’s sociability has earned him the nickname “Mayor of the Carrboro Market.”

Look for the rest of the interviews from our Carrboro Famers' Market oral history project to appear online soon.

Tuesday, September 27


Okra by any of these names is delicious.  Serve it over rice or biscuits, and this "Southern-by-way-of-India" dish is a crowd pleaser.  Click here to see how our friends at the Communal Skillet prepared this dish from the Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook.

Sunday, September 25


photo courtesy of Slashfood

I was reading about a wine pairing for pork rinds this afternoon and thought "this would be great for Thirsty Thursday....wait, shoot...I forgot to post last Thursday!" So, better late than never. A Thirsty Sunday post just for you:

Thank you for the inspiration, Eatocracy. Today, we'll look at wine pairings.

Even if all you get for supper tonight is goldfish leftover from under your 5-year-old's chair, there's a wine pairing for that!

First, the Eatocracy piece that suggests wines for pork rinds (Zinfandel), pickled pigs feet (Pinot Noir), and movie popcorn (unoaked Chardonnay).

Slashfood advises wines to go with gummy bears (Moscato d'Asti), guacamole (Torrontes), and chicken & waffles (Champagne).

Real Simple recommends wines to match fruit leather (Rosé) and goldfish crackers (Riesling).

Friday, September 23


You know what goes perfectly with 75 degree temperatures, a fall breeze, and all the football you can watch? A six-pack. Enjoy!

1. Confederate catsup and Boston mustard were on the menu as New Yorkers tucked in to explore the tastes of the Civil War.

2. Women farmers are the growing trend in small acreage agriculture.

3. At Borgne, John Besh and Brian Landry will explore the culinary traditions of the Canary Islands.

4. Monique Truong prepared for Hurricane Irene by buying pork. Turns out, her porcine impulse is a family tradition.

5. Back in January, John Kessler wrote an open letter to Atlanta's culinary brain trust. In this week's fall dining guide, he celebrates those chefs who (presumably) read their mail!

6. Top Chef is heading to Texas this season. What's more, a handful of Southern chefs are competing for Top Chef fame.

Wednesday, September 21


Last month, a country ham cured by SFA oral history subjects Ronny and Beth Drennan of Broadbent Country Hams, was the Grand Champion Ham at the Kentucky State Fair.

The Broadbent family started curing hams and bacon commercially in Cadiz, Kentucky, in 1920. In 1999 the Broadbent family sold the business to Ronny and Beth Drennan. The Drennans, who were in the furniture business, had always heard of Broadbent Hams and saw an opportunity. It took some time to learn the ins and outs of the curing business, but Smith Broadbent has been there to help. Today, Ronny and Beth carry on the Broadbent tradition of quality, and they have won enough awards to live up to the founder’s name. This is their 15th Grand Champion Ham.

To learn more about the Drennans and country hams, visit our Kentucky Bacon project.

Tuesday, September 20


They're in season.  They're delicious.  And they're better in pie than in wine.  Hop to your backyard and harvest some muscadines, or run to your local farmers market to find some.  Then check out the pie recipe that our friends at the Communal Skillet put to the test.

Monday, September 19


Here's David Shields on the intent of this special issue: 

"This special issue of Common-Place explores food. It particularly investigates the production and consumption of food during the age of experiment, that period between 1820 and 1890 in the United States after the soil crisis of the early nineteenth century disrupted customary agriculture and before scientific agriculture became institutionalized nationally in the system of experimental stations legislated into being by the Hatch Act (1887)."

I'm not quite sure how I missed this special issue, released this spring. You, dear reader, will not want to make the same mistake. Included are Bernard L. Herman, on sweetness in the common landscape, 
Glenn Roberts on the restoration of Carolina grains, Caroline F. Sloat on pigeons and their cuisine, and Michael W. Twitty on early African American foodways.

Friday, September 16


You're not hungover from yesterday's special bourbon edition of Thirsty Thursday, are you? Take a BC Powder and wash it down with this week's installment of the Southern Six Pack.

1. Jane Black tells a hopeful story of school lunch reform in Huntington, West Virginia. Jamie Oliver may have sparked the change with a shame-on-you television segment, but local school administrators and cooks were the ones who rolled up their sleeves and followed through with solutions.

2. Okra is in season in much of the region, but it's not just a favorite in the American South. Give okra the Global South treatment with these Nigeria-meets-Atlanta recipes from Yewande Komolafe.

3. Do you use a kitchen scale in your home cooking? Farhad Manjoo thinks you should.

4. If you were at SFA's 2010 Global South symposium, you got a taste of Eddie Huang's wok catfish on the front porch of Taylor Grocery. In New York, you can wash down his famed gua bao with an illicit Four Loko (shh!) and a boiled peanut chaser. Turns out this chef with Taiwanese-Southern roots can write. Peep his ode to outgoing NYT restaurant critic Sam Sifton.

5. Striped bass could be making a comeback in South Carolina's Ashley River.

6. You may know Leah Chase as the grande dame of gumbo at New Orleans's Dooky Chase restaurant, but she is also a passionate collector of African-American visual art.

Thursday, September 15


photo courtesy of

It's National Bourbon Heritage Month. (Otherwise known in Kentucky as September). That means the U.S. Senate used time well-spent passing a bill that we celebrate bourbon, "America's Native Spirit."

In that vein, I'm sharing links to a few recent stories on that beautiful, brown liquor.

I think it's only appropriate to stop here and go pour a nice glass of bourbon. Go ahead. I'll wait.

Ok, now proceed:

Imbibe Magazine, Unfiltered Blog: "10 Delicious Ways to Celebrate Bourbon Heritage Month

Eatocracy, 5@5: "Bourbon for Beginners", Food & Think: "Bourbon Renewal"

Houston Press: "September Knows How to Party"

NPR, All Things Considered: "Kentucky Bourbon Surges in Popularity"

Happy September! Cheers!

Wednesday, September 14


Arkansas is a fringe state, not solely a part of any one region. It’s a state that’s mostly Southern but also a bit Midwestern and a tad Southwestern. Northwest Arkansas is far different from southeast Arkansas. Northeast Arkansas doesn’t have much in common with southwest Arkansas. 

The strongest barbecue area of the state is the Delta region of east Arkansas. The barbecue is pork here (beef has crept from Texas into parts of southwest Arkansas), though the sauces vary from place to place. At Craig’s in DeValls Bluff along U.S. Highway 70, you’ll walk into the ramshackle building and immediately be asked if you want your barbecue mild, medium or hot. Most of the regulars go the medium route. The crowd here is a mixture of locals, hunters from Little Rock and Memphis when duck season is in progress and those who are wise enough to get off Interstate 40 and find their way to DeValls Bluff.

The interview featured above with Robert Craig of Craig's Barbecue was conducted by Rachel Reynolds Luster, our 2010 Guided Intern in oral history. Look for the rest of Rachel's Arkansas barbecue fieldwork to be added to our Southern BBQ Trail in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, September 13


WHO: Chef Ashley Christensen, Guest Chef John Fleer, and—we hope—you!

John Fleer honed a Foothills cuisine during his years at Blackberry Farm in Tennessee, interpreting the work of artisans like Cruze Family Dairy, Sunburst Trout, and Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams. At Canyon Kitchen in Cashiers, North Carolina, he serves root beer glazed pork and Spanish-inspired fig and almond cakes.

WHAT: Stir the Pot, a quarterly fundraiser for the SFA's documentary initiatives hosted by Chef Ashley Christensen of Poole's Diner (and three exciting new spots) in Raleigh, North Carolina

WHEN: Sunday, September 18 and Monday, September 19

WHERE: Sunday evening- Poole's Diner (five-course dinner with wine pairings prepared by guest Chef John Fleer, $150 per person)
Monday evening-Ashley Christensen's home (potluck dinner with Brunswick stew, beer by Foothills Brewing, a drink by Fox Liquor bar, and wine donated by Eliza Kraft Olander, $35 per person)*
*Please bring a side dish or dessert that celebrates your sense of place, wherever that may be

WHY: Because you love great food and drink, killer company, and supporting the SFA

HOW: Reservations are required and space is limited. Call Poole's Diner at 919-832-4477 to reserve your spot for either or both nights. For more information, click here.


In Georgia nights are softer than a whisper
Beneath a quilt somebody's mother made by hand
With the farmland like a tapestry passed down through generations
And the peach trees stitched across the land
There'll be cider up near Helen off the roadside
And boiled peanuts in a bag to warm your fingers
And the smoke from the chimneys meets its maker in the sky
With a song that winter wrote whose melody lingers

Though fall is rapidly approaching, I've been humming the Indigo Girls' "Southland in the Springtime" all day long.  The bloggers over at the Communal Skillet have boiled peanuts on my mind (Georgia, too, for that matter).  Before you settle in for football this weekend, see if you can find some green peanuts at your local farmers market and follow the SFA Community Cookbook's recipe for some good boiled peanuts. And, if I may dare to augment the recipe just a little bit, adding a can of cheap beer to the boil makes them taste even better. Plus, you'll have five cans leftover to wash them down while you snack.

Monday, September 12


A native of Oxford, Mississippi, one of Deke Baskin’s first jobs was washing dishes at a fraternity house on the campus of the University of Mississippi. There, Deke met a man by the name of Jack Johnson, who became his mentor and taught him how to cook. At the time, there was a fraternity tradition of cooking a whole hog on football weekends when Ole Miss would play Arkansas (their team mascot is a hog), and that’s how Deke learned to barbecue.

But Deke also grew up in a community that held large picnics to celebrate holidays and family reunions. A traditional food for these kinds of gatherings in north Mississippi was barbecued goat. As Deke became skilled at cooking hogs, he added goat to his repertoire.

Over the years, Deke operated a series of restaurants in and around Oxford. His last place closed in about 2005, but his recipes live on in a self-published cookbook, Hush Yer Mouth, that includes a recipe for a poor man’s meal: boiled neck bones with spaghetti.

Deke passed awaydied Saturday, Sept. 10, at the North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo. He was 59 years old. The family has scheduled a visitation on Friday, Sept. 16, from 5-7 p.m. at Clear Creek M.B. Church in Oxford. The funeral will be Saturday, Sept. 17, at 1 p.m., also at Clear Creek M.B. Church.  

To learn more about Deke, visit his oral history interview that's part of our Southern BBQ Trail.


Last week, the Denver Film Society showed 5 Joe York films as part of a 5-day celebration of food culture. York short docs like "Giving Thanks in Awendaw" and "GOAT" preceded features, including "El Bulli: Cooking in Progress."

This week, Joe travels to Alabama, where the Birmingham Public Library is staging the first Eat Drink Read Write Festival.

The five-day festival, which, according to the Birmingham News, "includes everything from a talk about the fate of the tomato to a microbrew-infused poetry slam," begins Tuesday and continues through Saturday, Sept. 17. Charla Draper, an SFA supporter, is an organizer. 

Joe, who grew up in Glencoe, Alabama, and graduated from Auburn University, will show SFA films with Alabama-centric content on Thursday, September 15 at 6:30. Films are free. Reservations are required. 

Among the films shown will be "GUS", a portrait of the late owner of Pete's Famous in Birmingham. 

Other speakers include Barry Estabrook, author of Tomatoland. 

Friday, September 9


We're serving a delightful but decidedly odd six-pack this week: mezcal and Coke from South of the border, chefs turned cartoon characters, cake mix, food truck justice, and of course, Schweddy Balls (No, it's not Southern but we really like saying it, writing it, and watching the clip. Over and over.)

1. The Food Lab geeks over at Serious Eats have something to say about our new-found Mexican Coke obsession.

2. Wright Thompson is fixing to develop a new-found obsession with mezcal.

3. Kevin Gillespie of Atlanta's Woodfire Grill and Top Chef fame is now a cartoon character. So is Tom Colicchio.

4. Annette Council, daughter of Mildred "Mama Dip" Council, launched a new line of cake mixes.

5. Food trucks have a new champion.

6. Schweddy Balls. The skit, the legend, the ice cream flavor.

Thursday, September 8


M. C. Wilson worked for the railroad in Colbert, Georgia, and cut hair on the side to make some extra money. In 1954 he retired from the railroad and opened Wilson’s Styling Shop on Hull Street in downtown Athens, a part of town known as Hot Corner for its century-long history of being a hub for African American-owned businesses. Ten years later, M. C.’s wife passed, and he moved the family to Athens. In 1981 another space on Hull Street became available, so M. C. purchased it and opened a café, Wilson’s Soul Food. His second wife, Elizabeth Wilson, and his daughter, Angelish, were recruited to cook. Today, Angelish is at the helm of the family’s soul food empire, cooking collards and cobblers from scratch and serving up some serious soul to the community. She prides herself not only on the quality of her ingredients, but the connections she makes with her customers. While Angelish tends to the family restaurant, her brother, Homer, mans the barber’s chair next door at Wilson’s Styling Shop. And their father still heads to Hull Street to visit his children for lunch and a haircut.

Visit our Athens Eats project online for more.

Wednesday, September 7


Fourth Annual Viking Range Lecture
featuring James McWilliams
Tuesday, September 20 at 6:30 p.m.
Tupelo Room, Barnard Observatory
University of Mississippi

This year’s lecturer, James E. McWilliams, is an associate professor of history at Texas State University and a recent fellow in the Agrarian Studies Program at Yale University.  He is the author of three books, most recently Just Food: How Locavores Are Endangering the Future of Food and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly (Little Brown, June 2009). His other books include American Pests: Our Futile Attempt to Conquer the Insect Empire from Colonial Times to the Death of DDT (Columbia, 2008) and A Revolution in Eating: How the Quest for Food Shaped America (Columbia, 2005).
This event is free and open to the public. Questions? E-mail

Tuesday, September 6


The weather has turned cool in Mississippi, but there are a few last tomatoes hanging on some home vines.  At the Communal Skillet this week, they'll show you how to make a quick and easy tomato pie from the Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook.  Pie crust, tomatoes, bacon, cheddar, basil and mayo: it all combines for a delicious lunch.  Or dinner.  Or game day party appetizer.  You choose.

Need another appetizer idea for the hungry crowds watching football in your living room?  At the Cookbook Blog, Noah, has made hot sausage balls using a recipe by SFA friends Vance and Julie Vaucresson, who own Vaucresson's Sausage Company in New Orleans.

Monday, September 5


On Friday, Sept. 30, the Center for the Study of New Orleans at Loyola University will present NOLALoyola 2011: “Live To Eat,” a day of scholarly presentations, food, entertainment, and an evening program featuring three of New Orleans’ top restaurateurs---Leah Chase of Dooky Chase restaurant, Ti Martin of Commander’s Palace and JoAnn Clevenger of Upperline restaurant -- who will discuss food, restaurants and living to eat in New Orleans.

Papers and panels by foodways scholars from across the nation will be held from 9 am – 4:15 pm in Monroe Library. Among the papers presented will be “The Picayune Creole Cook Book and the Creation of a Creole New Orleans: The Cookbook as a Social History” by Rien Fertel, and “From Mercato to Market: The Evolution of the Muffaletta from Sicily to New Orleans” by Dana Logsdon.

Boucherie’s Purple Truck will serve food and the band “Davis” will play in the Peace Quad from 11:30-1:00. The evening program,“New Orleans on a Plate: A Conversation About Legendary Fare," will be held in Monroe Hall’s Nunemaker Auditorium from 7:30- 9 p.m.

Here's the lowdown

Image “From the Deep” by Martin Welch


                            Steven Bel, 2011. Photo by Sara Roahen.

Summer might be over but not sno-ball season! Listen to Sara Roahen's interview with the man behind Sal's Sno-Balls on this month's okracast.  

Steven Bel was 8 years old when he started working at Sal’s Sno-Balls, the neighborhood stand that “Mr. Sal” Talluto opened half a block from Steven’s family home in 1959. Steven met his future wife, Gretchen, there when they were both just 11. By the time he was 17, he had started his own ice-delivery business with Sal’s as one of his clients. At 25, he bought the place. Until recently, Steven worked full-time for Continental Airlines as well as running Sal’s. His sno-ball business increased so drastically after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, however, that he retired from the airline and devoted all of his energies to Sal’s. Steven has several theories for the post-Katrina spike in sno-ball sales. Whatever the reason, he and his employees shave roughly 1,000 pounds of ice daily during sno-ball season (March through October). He drives 30 miles roundtrip every other day to fetch the ice in 300-pound-blocks from Cristina Ice Service in Marrero because, he says, Cristina’s ice is softer than other commercially available ice. And when passed through a New-Orleans-style ice-shaving machine, soft ice produces the lightest—and most readily packed—sno. Steven still uses some of Mr. Sal’s original syrup recipes. Flavors like Joker, Sock-It-To-Me, and Crème de Menthe are relics from his era.

This is a special New Orleans Sno-Balls edition of okracast
Grab some headphones and go!

Thursday, September 1


photo courtesy of Serious Eats

In honor of the start of football season, we're talking beer today. Specifically, Southern-brewed, Indian Pale Ales. Serious Eats tastes 8 hoppy IPAs crafted at breweries in the South and gives a review of each. There's beer for the "IPA hopheads" to the "IPA-phobic." Before stocking your coolers this weekend, take a look at this list for inspiration.

And if you haven't made plans for this Labor Day weekend, see if there's a brew festival near you and find a new locally-crafted beer to love:

Savannah Craft Brew Fest; Savannah, Georgia; Sept 2-4
Lexington Fest of Ales; Lexington, Kentucky; Sept 2
Brewmasters Craft Beer Festival; Galveston, TX; Sept 2-5
High Country Beer Fest; Boone, North Carolina; Sept 3
North Carolina Hops and Roots Fest; Pittsboro, North Carolina; Sept 3