Thursday, June 30

THE BOURBON BOOM

Photo courtesy of John Autry/Garden & Gun

It's no secret that Kentucky is the bourbon capital. Did you know that Kentucky produces 95 percent of the world's bourbon? In fact, there are more barrels of bourbon aging in KY than there are people (4.7 million barrels vs 4.3 million people). I have a hangover just thinking about it!

But, apparently, that's not enough. Wild Turkey has a new $50 million facility; Maker's Mark just completed a $50 million expansion; Jim Beam is spending $26 million expanding their bottling plant...and these are just a few examples. Money is being pumped into the bourbon industry. The question is--why? What's going on here?

According to the Associated Press, "producers are aiming to quench a thirst for bourbon - especially premium brands - that is steady in the U.S. and rapidly expanding overseas, thanks in part to the comeback of cocktails appealing to younger adults and a larger middle class in emerging markets."

Bourbon is for the classics like the Manhattan, for the newer cocktail creations (like Greg Best's Pig-Pik Sour), and for the tried and true two-fingers-splashed-in-your-favorite-sipping-glass... but I digress. There's little wonder that this brown delicacy that calls the South its home is finding new fans worldwide.

So, drink up. We won't run out. For a long, long [long] time.

Want to know more about what's going on inside the bar? Read our oral histories on Louisville Barroom Culture.


Wednesday, June 29

SFA ORAL HISTORY INTERN ON THE SOUTHERN BBQ TRAIL IN MISSISSIPPI



Photo by Nell Knox

Last week I went up to Marshall County, MS, to interview Timothy Davis, owner of Betty Davis BBQ.

Betty Davis BBQ is located about 20 miles north of Oxford on Highway 7, a few miles south of the actual town of Waterford, MS. It’s easy to miss the signs on the side of the road as you drive along the railroad tracks, but if you look to your left once you cross the bridge into Marshall County, you see signs proclaiming “cold beer,” “live bait,” and “Betty Davis BBQ and Store.”

The store itself is a small building, situated next to a greenhouse. The place is really not a sit-down restaurant, but a mom-and-pop store that also sells bait, cold beer, and some miscellaneous goods ranging from Little Debbie snacks to toilet paper.

Photo by Nell Knox

Mr. Davis, his wife, Betty, and their daughter work behind the counter. They seem to know every customer that comes in the store, and the ones they don’t know, they still greet warmly as though they are meeting old friends. 

When I first introduced myself to Mr. Davis, he asked me, “So you’re looking for the best BBQ around?” 

Mr. Davis was a wonderful interviewee. He loved to talk about his family, their shop, their future plans, and their food. 

-Nell Knox

Nell Knox is a Southern Studies graduate student at the University of Mississippi and one of our 2011 In-House Oral History Interns. Look for her fieldwork to appear on the Mississippi leg of the Southern BBQ Trail later this summer.

Tuesday, June 28

SUMMERTIME CORN FRITTERS

It's the height of summer. And it's hot. The last thing you might want to do is heat up your kitchen by frying something, but our friends at the Communal Skillet tell you otherwise. Corn is in season. It's at farmers markets by the truckloads. And it's time for corn fritters. Check out their experience at battering and frying summertime's royalty, Silver Queen corn. Click here.

Monday, June 27

CAJUN COUNTRY RAMBLE PICS ARE UP!


We're back from Cajun Country and have a few images to share. Check them out on our Flickr page

Thanks to all who joined us.

Saturday, June 25

Southern Six-Pack

Greetings from Cajun Country, where we are in the spiced, stuffed, and smothered thick of our annual SFA Field Trip. We wish you were here! But if you couldn't make it this year, we'll be sure to fill you in next week. Or you can follow our adventures on Twitter 140 characters at a time; look for the hashtag #cajuncountry. And now, this week's six-pack:

1. Summer officially began earlier this week, and in honor of the season, The New York Times offers ideas for simple and refreshing cocktails with three ingredients or fewer. One of the experts they consulted was spirits savant Bobby Heugel of Anvil Bar and Refuge in Houston. Be on the lookout for another one of Bobby's signature libations in the August issue of GRAVY.

2. If you missed photographer Landon Nordeman's stunning barbecue portraits in the latest issue of Saveur, catch the audio slideshow on the magazine's website.

3. Kim Severson discovers Austin trio The Beat Divas, who shake up their cooking classes with food-themed songs, both original and classic.

4. The Atlantic's Corby Kummer visits "What's Cooking, Uncle Sam?" a new exhibit at the National Archives in Washington, DC.

5. How does your garden grow? If it could use a little help this summer, take a lesson from John Coykendall, Master Gardener at Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tenn.

6. The South's booming Hispanic population has brought a host of top-notch (but often under-the-radar) taquerias to the region. But if you're looking to branch out, try a pupusa, the Salvadoran corn-masa pancake stuffed with beans, meat, cheese, or vegetables. Here's a how-to video on vegetarian pupusas from La Macarena restaurant in New Orleans.

Thursday, June 23

ICE COLD...SMOKY BEER?

Photo Courtesy of Bayou Teche Brewing


We "offer authentic, responsible, and damn good food and drink at all of our events. We know where the food we share comes from, who prepares it, and how it can tell stories of our region." (it's so important, that it's part of our Values Statement)

Yeah, we like to eat and drink well. But our plate and cup have context. The smell, the taste, the experience...it reads like a history book of our place.

This weekend, on the SFA Field Trip, our plates will tell plenty about the Cajun Country and its people. Our beer will too. We'll be drinking LA 31 from Bayou Teche Brewing. The Louisiana-based company was founded with a mission to craft beers that complement the cuisine and lifestyle of Cajuns and Creoles.

This summer, there's a new release from Bayou Teche. Boucanèe, a smoked wheat ale, is a nod to the wild cherry tree of south Louisiana (both the fruit and the tree logs in the smokehouse). The new ale is meant to enhance the flavors of many local dishes.

Not hitting the road to Cajun Country with us this weekend? Be with us in spirit: sit back and crack open a smoky one.

Wednesday, June 22

WE BRAKE FOR BOUDIN!

Tomorrow, the SFA staff hits the road for Cajun Country. Leaving from our home base of Oxford, MS, we plan to stop in Manchac, LA, to enjoy a lunch of ribbon-thin fried catfish at Middendorf's (in preparation for the pork-filled weekend ahead, of course). As we approach south-central Louisiana on Friday, we'll make a point to take advantage of the Southern Boudin Trail, visiting meat markets and corner stores along on our way to Eunice. We hope you will, too!

If you'll be joining us in Cajun Country or visiting the area on your own this summer, take advantage of the Southern Boudin Trail's interactive map and trip builder feature to find links of boudin along your route.

Grab a napkin and go!

Tuesday, June 21

COOK THE BOOK: SOUTHERN STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE

Each Tuesday, the SFA is pleased to share the stories of two members as they spend a year cooking their way through the SFA cookbook. This is the first post in our series covering their project to "cook the book." You may follow them online daily, if you'd like. You'll find their adventures at The Communal Skillet: Cooking Culture in the American South. Or feel free to keep up with them here with our weekly updates.

In the South, it's strawberry season. It's a signal that winter is gone, summer is here, and it's time to bake, make jams, and eat homemade ice cream. For our friends at the Communal Skillet, it signaled time to tackle the SFA cookbook's strawberry shortcake recipe. Whether you like sweetened shortcake or something closer to a traditional biscuit, you'll have to decide. Read their musings on the proper shortcake here.

Monday, June 20

AN EXTRA HELPING OF GRAVY, BY RIEN FERTEL

Photo courtesy of Denny Culbert

Every now and again, SFA is pleased to share Gravy content online. Yep, that's right. It's an extra helping of Gravy, available online only, but with all the good content and flavor of our printed food letter. Get a glimpse of Cajun Country with Rien Fertel today.


The French Press: A Freshly Brewed Spin on Cajun Classics

by Rien T. Fertel

“Hey Otis, can we play some Bobby Charles now?” sous chef Nick Belloni shouts as he flips a saucer-shaped boudin patty on the grill. The French Press, in Lafayette, Louisiana, opened for breakfast less than an hour ago. Otis Doucet obliges, explaining that the late swamp-pop icon from Abbeville, Louisiana, is the kitchen’s Sunday-morning standard.

The room begins to rock like a boat on the Bayou Teche. The sweet and steady voice of Bobby Charles sets the kitchen pace. As the third track starts, chef Justin Girouard sighs, “‘I Must Be in a Good Place Now’—I love this song.” He may be talking about the song title. Or his state of being. Maybe both.

Breakfast is a serious endeavor at The French Press. Girouard pralines his bacon. He stuffs French toast with bananas and cream cheese. And he baptizes that toast with strawberry-champagne compote.

And then there’s the boudin, made by his Uncle Sammy at Hebert’s Specialty Meats in Maurice. The French Press goes through fifty pounds of the spicy meat-and-rice sausage every week. Among the highlights of that collaboration is an Acadian Breakfast Sandwich of eggs, bacon, and boudin, stacked between slices of locally baked Evangeline Maid Texas Toast, bound with a slice of bright-orange American cheese.

Gooey cheese-glue also plays a part in the Cajun Benedict of Langlinais French Bread, two poached eggs, and boudin. Instead of hollandaise, chicken and andouille gumbo provides the drench.

Girouard, who is of French-Acadian background, earned his stripes at the restaurant Stella! in New Orleans. As a college student, he signed on as a dishwasher. Soon he was shredding cheese and chopping onions. He became chef Scott Boswell’s sous chef within three years, before moving to Stanley, Boswell’s upscale Jackson Square diner.

Margaret Collier Girouard—who conjured the gumbo-bath for the Cajun Benedict while pregnant—also dreamed up the restaurant’s name. Her choice was fated. Planning the eatery, the couple wanted to serve the same pot-pressed coffee they drank at home. Propitiously, the downtown location they secured for the restaurant was once the Tribune Printing Plant. Here, antique wooden movable-type pieces decorate the brick walls, and black ink swaths still stain the floors.

Breakfast is the lodestar here, so much so that, on the two weekend nights that the restaurant opens for dinner, Justin Girouard and his crew incorporate breakfast techniques into entrées. A bacon-and-English-muffin-encrusted, deep-fried poached egg crowns the filet mignon. Seared foie gras tops molé-slathered cornmeal pancakes. Sometimes those fattened livers are tucked under sunny-side-up quail eggs.

Meanwhile, weekday breakfast continues to evolve. For their most recent invention, Girouard and his staff dreamed up the Sweet Baby Breesus, a biscuit slider that sandwiches a flat of bacon and a fried boudin ball. Otis, the man with his finger on the pulse of all sorts of sweetness, came through with the winning addition—a none-too-subtle swipe of Steen’s cane syrup, an Abbeville product with a history that dates back more than a century. The name of the dish, of course, references more recent Louisiana history: the Drew Brees–led victory of the New Orleans Saints in last year’s Super Bowl.

Rien T. Fertel, a bi-coastal South Louisianian living on the Mississippi River and the Bayou Teche, is writing a dissertation on New Orleans Creole literature. He is proud to celebrate 5 years of SFA membership in October.

FEED YOUR GEEK: ASFS LIST SERVE


A confession: We SFA folk are lurkers on the ASFS list serve.

That's the mechanism by which the leading academics in foodways studies and food studies (is there a difference?) share ideas and debate wonkishly cool research.

If those 4 letters, arranged in that particular order, are new to you, ASFS is the Association for the Study of Food and Society. In addition to that list serve, which is pretty darn active, and which you can subscribe to by way of their website, they publish a journal, give out awards, and stage conferences.

Of late our lurking has yielded pissy debates about whether certain academic conferences on food are honest endeavors, short histories of this nation's food stamp programs, treatises on the vulgarity of toothpicks, and recaps of Jon Stewart's televised critique of Donald Trump's pizza knowledge.

Varied, sometimes idiosyncratic, sometimes insular, ASFS is worth your while if you, like the staff here at SFA world headquarters, keep one foot in the academy and one foot in the kitchen.

Friday, June 17

SOUTHERN SIX-PACK



This week we debut our "Southern Six-Pack," in which we bring you a half-dozen stories that caught our attention this week. Every Friday we'll be serving up a fresh batch. (But if you're worth your weight in cracklins, you already check the SFA blog every weekday or subscribe to our RSS feed.)

1. Grow Dat Youth Farm in New Orleans teaches high-school students how to raise and market their own food.

2. Floods wreak havoc on rice crops in Arkansas, which produces nearly half of the nation's rice.

3. Think twice before you order Bananas Foster. In Palm Harbor, Florida, a waiter used 151-proof alcohol to ignite the flaming dessert, injuring four diners.

4. Do restaurant servers really make minimum wage? Which restaurant employees are bringing home the bacon? Click through for the slideshow of highest paying restaurant jobs. (Hint: If you can't get behind the bar, start at the deli counter.)

5. Barry Estabrook exposes Florida's industrial tomato industry in his new book, Tomatoland. Read an excerpt at GiltTaste.

6. Pineapples or raisins? Vinegar instead of mayo? And why do home cooks get so fired up over celery seed? Eatocracy asks the hard-hitting coleslaw questions.

Thursday, June 16

NEW ORAL HISTORY PROJECT: LUNCH HOUSES OF ACADIANA




Meet Dot Vidrine of Ruby's Café in Eunice, Louisiana, one of the six people profiled for our newest oral history project, Lunch Houses of Acadiana.

In the lunch houses of Acadiana, okra is revered, rice with gravy is a given, and almost every dish gets smothered. Here menus change daily, but are the same every week. Here a full day’s caloric allowance can be had for often less than 10 bucks.

The places documented in this project are part diner, part meat-and-three. You might call this soul food, or you might call it country cooking. Here in Acadiana, this style of cooking and eating is called, simply, lunch.


We'll be enjoying plates of smothered goodness from a few of these establishments as part of our upcoming field trip to Cajun Country. For those of you not joining us on the field trip, make sure to pay a visit to the lunch houses of Acadiana the next time you find yourself in south-central Louisiana.

Wednesday, June 15

JOE YORK'S LATEST FILM: "TO LIVE AND DIE IN AVOYELLES PARISH"



Check out Joe York's latest short documentary for the SFA, To Live and Die in Avoyelles Parish, about Louisiana's cochon de lait tradition. The film premiered on Sunday, June 12, at the Big Apple BBQ Block Party in New York and will screen again at the upcoming SFA field trip to Cajun Country

The field trip sold out long ago, but, if you're interested in learning about Cajun Country from afar, check out the bibliography we put together.

We also have a new oral history project, Lunch Houses of Acadiana, that we'll feature here soon.

Tuesday, June 14

SFA & BROADCASTR COLLECTED 200 STORIES AT THIS YEAR'S BIG APPLE BBQ BLOCK PARTY IN NYC

Kate Petty of Broadcastr and Amy Evans Streeter of the SFA

Last weekend, Kate Petty of Broadcastr and Amy Evans Streeter of the SFA collected bbq stories at the 9th annual Big Apple BBQ Block Party in NYC. They gathered 200+ stories from festival goers, SFA members and participating pitmasters. Check them out by visiting broadcstr.com and searching for "BigAppleBBQ". Share your own bbq story while you're there!

Monday, June 13

AMERICA WALKS INTO A BAR

New from Oxford University Press is America Walks into a Bar: A Spirited History of Taverns and Saloons, Speakeasies and Grog Shops. 


This new book from Christine Sismondo may sport the best title of any academic work published to date. 


Know of a better one? 


We've ordered a copy for SFA HQ.


Soon, we'll now how it stacks up against some of our favorite booze books, including Imbibe! by David Wondrich, and The Last Fine Time, Verlyn Klinkenborg's loving homage to George and Eddie's, a working class bar in Buffalo, NY, that any citizen of New Orleans would claim as his own. 


For now we're just reveling in the genius of that title. 



Friday, June 10

SFA ORAL HISTORY WORKSHOP REPORT #8: TANDRA TAYLOR

Abe's Bar-B-Q courtesy of the Southern Foodways Alliance

As part of our recent oral history workshop, participants were asked to create blog posts--short pieces in response to any part of their time spent in Oxford. This is the last post in the series.

* * *

Growing up as a third generation northern transplant listening to the matriarchs of my family recant stories (almost always around food, of course) of my great-grandmother, who moved from Meridian, Mississippi, to St. Louis in 1921, I never would have imagined there was so much more for me to learn about the food of Mississippi (and the South) and the cultural landscape as well. The SFA’s Gathering the Stories Behind the Food oral history workshop gave me a more personal perspective of the larger narrative of Southern identity and culture through its food. My initial expectation was to learn to conduct interviews, but as the week progressed, the oral history workshop helped me to connect to and make meaning of the past.

One of my favorite parts of the workshop was the glimpse of the wide array of work the SFA conducts. The project most indelible in my mind was the Delta Lebanese. The project caused me to reevaluate what I know about southern foodways and culture. Until last week, I was not familiar with the story of late nineteenth century Middle Eastern immigrants to the Mississippi Delta. Pat Davis, owner of Abe’s Bar-B-Q in Clarksdale recants in his interview with Amy Evans Streeter that in the late thirties Clarksdale was referred to as Little Lebanon, a time when kibbe balls were popular even so with the non immigrant Deltans. At that moment, I realized the magnitude of significant contributions that the SFA makes giving perspective to the popular textbook narrative.

My second aha moment was when I had no clue about the relationship of tamales, immigrants, and the Delta. I was delighted to have had my first and second tamale at Soulshine Pizza Kitchen in Oxford’s town square. They were heavenly! I must now begin to include tamales in my arsenal of Southern cuisine as I learned they are just as deeply woven in the Delta’s food cultural fabric as they are in Latin America’s.

TANDRA TAYLOR
Heritage Preservation, Georgia State University – Atlanta, GA

Thursday, June 9

SFA ORAL HISTORY WORKSHOP REPORT #7: QIAOYUN ZHANG

Photograph courtesy of Qiaoyun Zhang

As part of our recent oral history workshop, participants were asked to create blog posts--short pieces in response to any part of their time spent in Oxford. We will be featuring their submissions here every day this week.

* * *

The SFA oral history workshop was truly an eye-opening experience for me. During the five days of my study at the beautiful Ole Miss, I learned plenty of interview skills from the experienced oral historian and wonderful lecturer, Amy Evans Streeter, as well as some up-to-date techniques of taking field pictures and making audio slideshows. Amy’s lecture was not only interesting but also informative. She presented us many oral history projects and explained to us in detail how those documentaries were made. Amy was very generous and patient of sharing with us her own stories and experiences of conducting oral history interviews all over the southern states. 

One of the highlights of this workshop was that we went as a group with Amy to interview the owner of the local Farmers’ Market Store in the backyard of the store. It was a precious opportunity for me to observe and study how a professional oral history interview was performed. We spent the rest one and half days in processing this one-hour long interview into a five-minute audio slideshow presentation. Towards the end of the workshop, I was very excited and proud that I was able to make an audio slideshow by myself. 

I sincerely believe that the skills and knowledge that I took from this workshop will help tremendously with my future research on New Orleans foodways. This workshop, Ole Miss, and the historic town Oxford will make my best memories of summer 2011.

QIAOYUN ZHANG
Anthropology, Tulane - New Orleans, LA 

Wednesday, June 8

SFA ORAL HISTORY WORKSHOP REPORT #6: ANNE GESSLER

Photograph by Anne Gessler

As part of our recent oral history workshop, participants were asked to create blog posts--short pieces in response to any part of their time spent in Oxford. We will be featuring their submissions here every day this week.
* * *
I  was thrilled when the nine of us pulled into the Farmers’ Market Store parking lot for our interview with Liz Stagg; I wanted to learn how Stagg demonstrates sustainability, ethical food sourcing, and a balance between international and local needs to the Oxford community. The Farmers’ Market Store is located next to a tire shop in a semi-residential and industrial neighborhood on County Road 101. The store itself was a small, dark green building that housed a remarkable collection of vegetables, fruits, meats, and cheeses, as well as specialty goods such as fu fu flour, canned lychee, and pickled pork. Customers milled between rows of sweet potatoes and tomatoes, and the conversation flowed easily between patrons and employees. Colorful paintings dotted the walls, some done by local children. Music sang out from a stereo a top a refrigerated case of sodas, crowded next to a large animal skull. Liz Stagg held court at the cash register but also flitted among diverse customers, staff, and produce. It was clear that the store filled a pressing need in Oxford.

ANNE GESSLER
American Studies, University of Texas - Austin, TX

Tuesday, June 7

SFA ORAL HISTORY WORKSHOP REPORT #5: NELL KNOX

Photograph by Nell Knox

As part of our recent oral history workshop, participants were asked to create blog posts--short pieces in response to any part of of their time spent in Oxford. We will be featuring their submissions here every day this week.

* * *

The best thing about this workshop was that we got out into the field and worked. Instead of just talking about how to do documentary fieldwork, Amy took the whole gang out into the field and showed us what documentary fieldwork is all about.

I've lived in Oxford for a year and never made it to the Farmers' Market, so I was thrilled to go and meet Liz and see what's happening at a really great place in Oxford. Hearing Amy interview Liz emphasized to me the importance of letting an interview flow naturally, even if there are distractions in the vicinity. Also, watching and helping Amy use the software to make the audio slideshow was crucial, since I will be making audio slideshows myself this summer as an intern.

NELL KNOX
Southern Studies, University of Mississippi - Oxford, MS

OKRACAST: BUBBA FREY

Bubba Frey, 2007. Photo by Sara Roahen. 

In 2007 Sara Roahen, an SFA oral historian, visited one of Cajun Country’s jack-of-all-trades and a keeper of traditions: Bubba Frey. 
While Bubba professes not to have strayed much from his home turf of Mowata—a town so small that the United States Postal Service doesn’t even acknowledge it with a zip code—he possesses extensive knowledge about, and perspective on, the culinary history of his region. Straight out of high school, Bubba took to rice and cattle farming, just as his grandfather and father had done. 
He also dabbled successfully in crawfish farming, but when that market became saturated and the Mowata Store came up for sale, he made a life-change. 
These days, if you stop by the store for hot boudin or cracklings, breakfast sausage or hogshead cheese, you might just find Bubba himself behind the register discussing various ways to properly cook a turtle. Then again, he could be in the poultry coop tending to his guinea hens, or down the road assisting a neighbor with his first hog killing, or practicing the fiddle that he taught himself to play.
This is a special Southern Boudin Trail edition of Okracast.
Grab some headphones and go! 

Monday, June 6

2011 CAJUN COUNTRY RAMBLE: BIBLIOGRAPHY ONLINE

Attending our field trip and want to study up on Cajun Country? Not able to attend but still interested in everything that will happen? Click here to download the 2011 SFA field trip bibliography. We've included books, articles, films, and music -- all to help you learn about Acadiana!

SFA ORAL HISTORY WORKSHOP REPORT #4: NIKO TONKS

Photograph by Niko Tonks

As part of our recent oral history workshop, participants were asked to create blog posts--short pieces in response to any part of their time spent in Oxford. We will be featuring their submissions here over the course of the next few weeks.

* * *

I learned a great many things in my (short) time at the SFA, not least of which is that bacon jam is actually as good as it sounds. But I think my favorite aspect of the oral history workshop was being reminded, in the classroom and out of it, the importance of being connected to your surroundings. When practiced in your backyard (in this case, the South as a whole), oral history can't help but make you more aware of the networks of people and stories that exist in every town, city, state, or region.

Living in the city, it's easy, sometimes, to forget how these networks support and animate community. In close quarters with close to a million people, there are so many things happening at any given moment that trends seem to take on lives and inertia of their own.

After absorbing as many stories from the SFA as I possibly could in a week, and spending as much time as I could wandering the streets of Oxford, I feel more ready than ever to begin to do my part in shining the spotlight on the people behind the food.

Also, I felt and odd "close encounters of the third kind" pull to the Oxford water tower the entire time I was in town, which resulted in probably a dozen pictures of it. The one here was taken from the porch at Main Squeeze on University.

NIKO TONKS
American Studies, University of Texas - Austin, TX

Friday, June 3

SFA ORAL HISTORY WORKSHOP REPORT #3: KATIE RAWSON

Liz Listening by Katie Rawson

As part of last week's oral history workshop, participants were asked to create blog posts--short pieces in response to any part of their time spent in Oxford. We will be view featuring their submissions here over the course of the next few weeks.

* * *

The Oral History Workshop reminded me why collecting people's stories is central to understanding a subject. Before the interview [with Liz Stagg at The Farmers' Market], we brainstormed questions. From our conversation, it was clear we had preconceived ideas about the Farmers' Market--particularly how it fit into popular and politicized discourses of local food movements.

The interview itself brought brought to the fore how important details are. Liz Stagg's answer to why they sell locally grown and produced veggies, milk, and meat was more practically and socially nuanced than the idealized, ethically-driven narrative of local food movements. Her essential message was: We talk to customers and producers, and we listen.

Learning to listen was central to what Amy taught us during the workshop as well. Amy's interview with Liz interrupts and expands popular narratives of local food, attesting to the importance of the SFA's oral history work. For me, it provides an important model for conducting my own work on the stories people tell about food.

KATIE RAWSON
Liberal Arts, Emory - Atlanta, GA

Wednesday, June 1

SFA ORAL HISTORY WORKSHOP REPORT #2: ASHLEY ROSE YOUNG



Photographs by Ashley Rose Young

As part of last week's oral history workshop, participants were asked to create blog posts--short pieces in response to any part of their time spent in Oxford. We will be featuring their submissions here over the course of the next few weeks.

* * *

As part of the Gathering the Stories Behind the Food oral history workshop, Amy Evans Streeter gave us a small taste of the plethora of the SFA’s documentaries.  One of my favorites was Smokes & Ears, the story of Geno Lee and the Big Apple Inn in Jackson, Mississippi.  The film documents two of the Big Apple Inn’s most famous items: hot smoked sausage sandwiches called “smokes” and pig ear sandwiches called “ears.”  Within moments of starting the film, I was not only captivated by the sights and sounds of sizzling sausages on a hot griddle, but also by the warm and inviting smile of Geno Lee. 

Later in the week, Amy informed us that Geno Lee was interviewed for the SFA’s Tamale Trail and that his tamales are available at a new pizza place in Oxford’s town square: Soulshine Pizza Kitchen.  Naturally, our small cohort of food scholars agreed to take lunch at Soulshine that day.  Amy ordered a dozen tamales for us to share, and handful of us split “The Kitchen Sink” pizza (marinara base, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, Italian sausage, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms and black olives).  The tamales were a real treat—a bit larger and dryer than typical Delta tamales, but delicious nonetheless!  The pizza was great as well—the crust was thicker than I am used to (what can I say, I love New Haven thin crust), but overall the pizza was really satisfying!  Our cohort agreed that our meal at Soulshine was another successful culinary adventure in Oxford.

ASHLEY ROSE YOUNG
History, Duke - Durham, NC