|Photo by Rob Long|
|Photo by Heidi Brown|
While we love a good time here at the SFA, we think that our most important job is to shine a light on the stories behind Southern food and drink. As our events maven Melissa Hall told the crowd yesterday, we want you to have a great bite and stiff drink in your hand, but then we want you to think about where your food comes from and meet the individuals who prepared it. More than any drool-inducing photo opportunity, the stories and the people are what matters.
To that end, we presented two awards last night. Poet Kevin Young presented Greg Asbed of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers with our John Egerton Prize, which honors an individual whose work in Southern food addresses issues of civil and/or human rights. Asbed admitted that he hadn't heard of the Southern Foodways Alliance until we told him that we'd selected him for the Egerton Prize. But, he said, "I hope our relationship continues." So do we.
|Photo by Dave Mezz|
Pitmistress Helen Turner of Helen's Bar-B-Q in Brownsville, Tennessee, won our Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame Award. Each year, with the support of the Fertel Foundation, we honor an unsung hero or heroine of traditional foodways by commissioning a short film about his/her work. Joe York's film Helen's Bar-B-Q played to a rapt crowd, with Mrs. Turner seated in the front row. When the film ended with Mrs. Turner saying, "I'm Helen Turner, and I am the pitmaster," the audience went wild. Here's a hint: if you make it up to Brownsville and try one of her pulled-pork sandwiches, you'll go wild again.
There aren't many female pitmasters in the business, and yesterday we had the privilege of introducing our symposium goers to two of them. (You might remember that Mrs. Desiree Robinson of Cozy Corner in Memphis smoked the knockout ribs we enjoyed for lunch.)
|Photo by Bonjwing Lee, courtesy of Eater National. WOW.|
Today's talks are about to kick off, so you'll excuse us while we go grab a Neal's Deli pastrami biscuit for breakfast.