'Southern Foodways Alliance' on Serious Eats

Critic-Turned-Cook Goes On SFA Field Trip, Eats Nasty Bits

I've been a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance since 2004, the year I moved to Memphis and fell hard for the rich regional cooking traditions. Loads of glowing praise has been heaped on this incredible organization, but I've got to pile on: I've never learned so much or eaten so well among so many good people as when I'm at an SFA event. That's why I was more than willing to brave the wilting summer heat in Atlanta to climb on board a sweltering yellow school bus to explore the global South along Hotlanta's Buford Highway during this year's SFA Field Trip. More

Plan a Road Trip with Southern Foodways Alliance's Oral History Interactive Map

If you plan on road tripping around the South this summer, check out the Southern Foodways Alliance's Oral History Interactive Map. The map features restaurants, roadside stands, and purveyors from Virginia to Texas with an Oral History about each location. Use the Trip Builder to plan an itinerary around the eateries along your route. There are also specific trails for barbecue, boudin, gumbo, and tamales. More

Critic-Turned-Cook Gets Fired Up By David Chang

David Chang and me. [Photograph: Traca Savadogo] Lucky me—I recently got a double helping of David Chang, who unwittingly reaffirmed my culinary quest to try and make the leap from critic to cook. First, at the Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium last month in Oxford, Mississippi, I shamelessly ingratiated myself by offering the superstar chef a little "Trick or Meat" on Halloween, sharing some salumi I toted from Salumi in Seattle. Chang and his crew were at the awesome annual event to make lunch for the 300-plus participants. (One highlight of the meal was beautiful, paper-thin slices of Allan Benton's country ham draped over tender salad greens.) After sampling some salumi, I think "mole" might be David Chang's new favorite four-letter... More

Southern Foodways: Franklin Food and Spirits Festival Benefitting the SFA

Southern Foodways appears weekly as part of our collaboration with the Southern Foodways Alliance, an organization based in Oxford, Mississippi, that "documents and celebrates the diverse food cultures of the American South." Dig in! Southern Foodways has an event coming up that serious eaters might want to attend. It is: Franklin Food & Spirits Festival May 30 – May 31, 2008, in Franklin, Tennessee Discover the secrets of the smoke from the nation’s best barbecue pit masters. Indulge in authentic fried pies. Journey by film deep into the legends and lore of the South’s richest food traditions. We promise tasty food and a good time to everyone who attends. Jim 'N Nick's knows good old-fashioned Southern cooking, and we are... More

Southern Foodways: Up South Eats Camp Chicago, May 23-25

Southern Foodways appears on Fridays as part of our collaboration with the Southern Foodways Alliance, an organization based in Oxford, Mississippi, that "documents and celebrates the diverse food cultures of the American South." Dig in! Photographs taken by Amy C. Evans SFA oral historian Amy Evans just returned from a weeklong fieldwork-gathering trip to the Windy City, looking for stories of transplanted Southerners who left their homes but held on to family recipes. Some of the people she visited include: James Lemons of Lem's Bar-B-Q, who left Indianola, Mississippi, as a young man, following his brothers to Chicago and into the barbecue business.Barbara Ann Bracy, who laughed as she remembered her Mississippi-born father opening the barbecue joint she still runs... More

Southern Foodways Alliance Cookbook: A Call For Recipes

Southern Foodways appears on Fridays as part of our collaboration with the Southern Foodways Alliance, an organization based in Oxford, Mississippi, that "documents and celebrates the diverse food cultures of the American South." Dig in! At long last, the SFA is producing a cookbook. We've thought about it. Talked about it. And, we've heard you ask the question: "Why don't you guys do this?" We listened and it's happening. Our cookbook team has been working since last fall to figure out how the thing will look (a fun, funky, respectful riff on community cookbooks), what recipes we'll include (nothing from previously published sources or generic web sites—only the tried and true, much loved and well-used, creased and grease stained), and... More

Southern Foodways Alliance Fundraiser at Zingerman's Roadhouse

Southern Foodways appears on Fridays as part of our collaboration with the Southern Foodways Alliance, an organization based in Oxford, Mississippi, that "documents and celebrates the diverse food cultures of the American South." Dig in! Interested in Southern food but find yourself geographically challenged and living above the Mason Dixon line? Never fear—Zingerman's Roadhouse in Ann Arbor, Michigan is here! Zingerman's is devoted to finding (and making) the best foods in the world, and they're kind enough to ship their treasures right to your door. The Roadhouse (one of several jewels in the Zingerman crown, including the Bakehouse, the Creamery, the Delicatessen, and the Coffee Company) specializes in really good American food—their description, not mine! Alex Young, the chef at... More

Southern Foodways: Southern Seed Legacy

Southern Foodways appears on Fridays as part of our collaboration with the Southern Foodways Alliance, an organization based in Oxford, Mississippi, that "documents and celebrates the diverse food cultures of the American South." Dig in! It's cold today and snowing (or about to snow) here in Mississippi. We don't get snow that often. In fact, if this forecast becomes reality it will be the first real snow Oxford has seen in five or six years. Truth be told, I'd enjoy a little snow, sort of. The Ole Miss students are heading out of town for spring break. March Madness is upon us. My yard is full of daffodils. The tulip trees have bloomed and the rest of the trees aren't... More

Southern Foodways: Cork and Pork at the High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction

Southern Foodways appears on Fridays as part of our collaboration with the Southern Foodways Alliance, an organization based in Oxford, Mississippi, that "documents and celebrates the diverse food cultures of the American South." Dig in! Arguably one of the hottest tickets in town, if not in the country, the High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction celebrates its 16th year. Last year, the auction set records as the most successful live auction in its 15-year history, bringing in revenues of more than $1.8 million. Friday night’s gala and Saturday’s live auction are already sold out. But, there is still space available at many of the events leading up to the big finale, one we think you’ll particularly enjoy because we planned it... More

Southern Foodways Alliance at the Georgia Organics Conference

Southern Foodways appears on Fridays as part of our collaboration with the Southern Foodways Alliance, an organization based in Oxford, Mississippi, that "documents and celebrates the diverse food cultures of the American South." Dig in! Georgia Organics is hosting its 11th annual conference, Quantum Leap: Taking Food & Farms Back...to the Future, February 28 to March 1 at the North West Georgia Trade and Convention Center in Dalton, Georgia. Listen and learn as we imagine a future where farm, family, and community values merge with sustainable innovation—where thriving family farms connect with consumers at school, at work, at play. At this conference, you’ll gather the knowledge, tools, and connections needed to take your food and farms into that future. Learn... More

Southern Foodways: Bar Culture in Louisville, Kentucky — An Oral History Project

Louisville is awash in bourbon. And beer. It's a drinking person’s town, due in no small part to the state’s bourbon heritage and the city’s nickname-namesake brewery, Falls City. This is where the Old Fashioned was invented. It’s where Al Capone dodged the law during prohibition. And it’s where barkeeps plied their customers with rolled oysters and bean soup to keep them coming back. More

Southern Foodways: The Hog Killing Workshop

Southern Foodways appears on Fridays as part of our collaboration with the Southern Foodways Alliance, an organization based in Oxford, Mississippi, that "documents and celebrates the diverse food cultures of the American South." Dig in! A few months ago, just as the weather was turning cold, I waxed nostalgic about hog killing. I included some pictures of the practice and an essay from Southern Food Alliance member Evan Hatch. At The Old South Farm Museum and Agricultural Learning Center, they don’t just talk about, write about, or photograph hog killing—they actually do it. And, if you ask nicely, they’ll let you help. The Woodland, Georgia museum traces Southern rural life from the 1800s to the 1960s. On the property you’ll... More

Southern Foodways: Upcoming Southern Food Events

Southern Foodways appears weekly as part of our collaboration with the Southern Foodways Alliance, an organization based in Oxford, Mississippi, that "documents and celebrates the diverse food cultures of the American South." Dig in! Happy New Year! Most of my time in this space is spent talking about the people who are the soul of Southern food—the men and women who grow, harvest, cook, and serve our meals. That’s a huge part of what we do at the Southern Foodways Alliance. We document those stories. But there’s another part to our mission: We also celebrate all aspects of Southern cuisine. How do we do that? Through events—Potlikker Film Festivals, day camps, field trips, fund-raisers, and, of course, our annual symposium.... More

Southern Foodways: Lucky New Year's Dishes

Southern Foodways appears weekly as part of our collaboration with the Southern Foodways Alliance, an organization based in Oxford, Mississippi, that "documents and celebrates the diverse food cultures of the American South." Dig in! Looking for good luck and good fortune in the new year? Secretly wishing for both while publicly resolving to do good unto others? Maybe you're just looking for a way to celebrate the new year that doesn't involve Champagne, Times Square, or staying up late? Try a New Year's Day feast of black-eyed peas and collard greens. Both are thought to bring a year filled with prosperity. Some think the black-eyed peas represent copper—pennies, specifically. So, for truly good fortune in the new year, be sure... More

Southern Foodways: Florida's 'Forgotten Coast' Endangered

Southern Foodways appears on Fridays as part of our collaboration with the Southern Foodways Alliance, an organization based in Oxford, Mississippi, that "documents and celebrates the diverse food cultures of the American South." Dig in! In 2006, the Southern Foodways Alliance headed to Apalachicola, Florida, for a field trip. We were there for four days—tonging for oysters, gathering Tupelo honey, casting shrimp nets, worm grunting, and, of course, eating well. As always, we did more than a bit of talking with the folks who have built their lives and livelihoods in the Apalachicola Bay. These people tell stories of the days when schools of mullet were thick in the water and when Tupelo honey was a local find, not a... More

Southern Foodways: Allan Benton Wins Lifetime Achievement Award

Southern Foodways appears on Fridays as part of our collaboration with the Southern Foodways Alliance, an organization based in Oxford, Mississippi, that "documents and celebrates the diverse food cultures of the American South." Dig in! By way of this blog, the Southern Foodways Alliance seeks to introduce you to folks you might not otherwise ever encounter. While it's likely you won't ever meet Allan Benton in person, it is likely you'll encounter his ham or bacon in the finest restaurants across the country. Momofuku in New York City serves Benton's bacon. So does McCrady's in Charleston, South Carolina. You'll also find Benton's on your plate at The City Grocery in Oxford, Mississippi. Allan Benton's hams and bacon have been highlighted... More

Southern Foodways: The State of Southern Food

Southern Foodways appears on Fridays as part of our collaboration with the Southern Foodways Alliance, an organization based in Oxford, Mississippi, that "documents and celebrates the diverse food cultures of the American South." Dig in! There was no talk of Southern food on these pages last week Friday. Mostly because we were all hunkered down here in Oxford, Mississippi, ruminating on the state of Southern food at the tenth annual Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium. We pondered where we’ve been and where we are going. We thought critically about the SFA’s role in documenting and celebrating the diverse food cultures of the American South. We paid homage to the subjects of our oral history initiative. Some of whom you’ve met on... More

Southern Foodways: Boudin

Southern Foodways appears on Fridays as part of our collaboration with the Southern Foodways Alliance, an organization based in Oxford, Mississippi, that "documents and celebrates the diverse food cultures of the American South." Dig in! Chances are, if you don’t happen to live in or around Louisiana you might never have heard of boudin. If you do know about it but don’t live anywhere near where it’s made, you likely got your first taste of boudin courtesy of Calvin Trillin through his essay, "The Missing Links: In Praise of the Cajun Foodstuff That Doesn’t Get Around." Since boudin is so good, why is it such a secret? Trillin posits a possible answer, “I figure that about 80 percent of the... More

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