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!
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 on the South Side and naming it after her.
- Edna Stewart, who recalled the moment when Civil Rights workers first visited her restaurant, Edna's, and when the Reverend Jesse Jackson fell for her sweet potatoes.
- Izola White, originally from Tennessee, who outlined her opinions on the color of dumplings and cornmeal served at Izola's Family Dining.
- Rose DeShazer White, who was born in Hollandale, Mississippi, and was kind enough to share a slice of carmel cake and her grandmother's caramel cake recipe.
- Chicago native John Pawlikowski of Fat Johnnie's, who shared his thoughts on the mother-in-law sandwich, Chicago's long history with tamales, and their curious connection to Mississippi.
These stories will be online soon. In the meantime, please visit our new Flickr page to catch a glimpse of some of Amy's photographs from the road.
Ready to hear these stories in person? Then plan to join us in May for Camp Chicago: An Up South Expedition. Many of the people Amy interviewed are part of the weekend's programming. Meet them and, of course, get ready to eat!
What's On the Up South Menu?
- Soul Food Luncheon at West Town Tavern with Chef Susan Goss, honoring the traditions of Ms. Edna Stewart.
- Musings on Blues and Food and the Mississippi/Chicago Highway 61 connections, featuring Scott Barretta, Bruce Kraig, and Audrey Petty.
- Optional Chicago X'Cursions, Meet the Up South Eats Oral History subjects and Tour Southside BBQ joints. Taste Barbara's rib tips and Lem's links. Sip from Chicago's (and likely the country's) best bourbon selection at Delilah's. Wander the streets in search of the mother-in-law sandwich, or visit Edna Stewart's restaurant to see where the civil right's movement was nourished.
- Catfish-n-Blues at the Hideout, a private event for registrants featuring blues by the legendary Jimmy Burns.
Register now to travel Up South with the SFA. At the low price of $85, this day camp is sure to please. Spaces are limited, as is the time to book your Palmer House Hilton room at the unbelievable rate of $179/night.
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