Wednesday, December 3


Rolled oysters. Photo by Amy C. Evans.

In 1884 Phillip Mazzoni opened Mazzoni's, a tavern on Third and Market streets in downtown Louisville. Along with beer, Phillip sold a few items to augment his business: hot dogs, boiled eggs, and the iconic Louisville bar food, rolled oysters. As far as anyone knows, the Mazzoni family originated the rolled oyster: a trio of a few bivalves rolled in a thick breading and then fried. When Prohibition hit in 1919, beer stopped flowing from the taps, and rolled oysters took center stage. Other items were added, including hot tamales, which first appeared on the menu in 1921. Over the years, Mazonni's Cafe has had a few different locations. In early 2008 fifth-generation owner, Greg Haner, moved the family restaurant to its fourth location on Louisville's east side. After less than a year in operation at the new location, Greg was forced to close the doors of his family's century-old tradition.

Read our oral history interview with Mazzoni's owner Greg Haner here.

Read the Louisville Courier-Journal article about the closing of Mazzoni's here.

Tuesday, November 18


SFA friends in Kentucky may be interested in an upcoming edition of Louisville Life, which will feature the SFA with film footage gathered at our summer field trip. Here are the details:

The next Louisville Life features the Southern Foodways Alliance, the Weber Group's imaginative theme-park creations, the history of the oldest Masonic home in North America, and more. The program, hosted by Candyce Clifft, airs Thursday, Nov. 20 at 7:30/6:30 p.m. CT on KET2; Saturday, Nov. 22 at 7/6 p.m. CT on KET1; and Sunday, Nov. 23 at noon/11 a.m. CT on KET2.

If you can't see it live, visit for the video podcast.

Wednesday, November 12


Thanks to everyone at the symposium who contributed to the film about the W.H.O. Farm. Already, this new film by Joe York has been viewed by over 1500 guests, thanks to links by national blogs. Check it out for yourself.

The Who Farm from Joe York on Vimeo.


Folklore Forum is seeking articles for its upcoming issue on foodways. By building rituals and ideologies around the consumption, production, and preservation of food, many cultures establish and express unique systems of belief and other social distinctions. The choice of what to eat (or not to eat) is an integral part of both forming and maintaining an individual and group identity.

In this issue, we seek to present examples of foodways that are relevant to the study of folklore and folklife. Folklore Forum invites proposals that consider, but are not limited to, the following suggestions:
- Methods of Food Production & Collection (farming, gardening, bee keeping)
- Foods as a Means to Communicate Gender, Identity, Emotion
- Methods of Preservation (canning, jarring, freezing)
- Food Movements (Slow Food Movement, Organic/Sustainable Food Movement)
- Methods of Consumption (cooking, setting the table, restaurants)
- Food and Education ("learning" food, acquiring a taste)
- Acted Foodways (festivals, celebrations, observations, tastings?)
- Foodways and Religion (taboos, traditional, non-traditional, history)
- Food and the Formation of Identity (national, cultural, ethnic)
- Food and the Perception of "The Other"
- Food and Family
- Manners
- Food Lore Regarding a Specific Food
- Food "Clubs"
- Immigration and Foodways
- Food as Art

The deadline for submissions is February 1, 2009. For submission guidelines, please see:
Editors can be contacted at

Wednesday, November 5


Couldn't make it to the symposium?
Attended, but want to experience it again?
Download the podcasts.
And view SFA's latest film, Buttermilk: It Can Help.

Hear Robb Walsh's treatise on Mexican Cokes and Dublin Dr. Peppers. Learn about buttermilk from Anne Mendelson. And listen to Junior Johnson recall early days of bootlegging and NASCAR. SFA podcasts are available now. Visit here to view our offerings, or click here to see our listing and subscribe to SFA podcasts in iTunes.

And Joe York's newest SFA film, Buttermilk: It Can Help, is also online.

Buttermilk: It Can Help from Joe York on Vimeo.

If the image above doesn't automatically launch, click here to meet Cruze Dairy, recipient of our 2008 Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame award.

And don't forget to check out the newest installment of our oral histories, celebrating wine in the South. They're here.

Tuesday, November 4


Photographs from the 11th Annual Southern Foodways Symposium, The Liquid South, are now available for viewing on our Flickr page. Thanks to SFA member Fred Sauceman for documenting the event and sharing his photos with us.

Friday, October 31


Submissions are now being accepted for the spring/summer 2009 issue of Now & Then: The Appalachian Magazine, to be published by the Center for Appalachian Studies and Services at East Tennessee State University. The theme of the issue will be "Appalachian Foodways."

The magazine seeks nonfiction and fiction work, including news and feature articles, interviews, personal essays, reviews, short stories, poems, photographs, photographic essays, and line art or graphic illustrations. Work can have a contemporary or historical focus. Excellence in writing and reporting and image quality are important, as is the tie-in to Appalachia. Fiction, news, and feature articles, interviews, and personal essays generally run between 1,000 and 2,500 words.

Because Now & Then is part of a non-profit, educational initiative, payment is modest and generally in the form of a small honorarium. The deadline for submissions is February 15, 2009. Send queries or completed manuscripts (in Microsoft Word) to the magazine's editor, Fred Sauceman:

Tuesday, October 21


For the longest time, talk of Southern-grown grapes and Southern-vinified wines elicited dismissals from oenophiles. Some impressions were fueled by insecurity of the we-can't-compare-to-California sort. Others were fueled by bad wine.

Southern wines, made from vinifera grapes, are improving. Markedly. "If you haven't had a Southern wine in a few years," says Barbara Ensrud, author of American Vineyards, "you haven't had a Southern wine."

In the interviews that follow, you will meet vignerons from Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia. In varying degrees they advocate that Southerners should not only eat local, they should drink local. As chefs and home cooks alike embrace the tenets of the farm-to-fork gospel, some Southerners are beginning to question the prevailing food and wine pairings of locally grown greens and locally raised pork alongside West Coast and Old World wines.



On Thursday evening, October 23, the band One Ring Zero will appear on a special edition of Thacker Mountain Radio at 6pm in the Nutt Auditorium on the Ole Miss campus. This event will be open to the public. In addition to musical guests One Ring Zero and Andy Friedman, this special edition of Thacker Mountain Radio will also feature poet Kevin Young and writer Ken Wells. Later that evening One Ring Zero will play at Proud Larry's, located at 211 South Lamar Blvd.

Led by Michael Hearst and Joshua Camp, One Ring Zero is a Brooklyn, New York, band described by The New Yorker as the creators of "soundscapes that are both haunting and entertaining."

"Oxford is one of our favorite places to play, and we jumped on this chance immediately," said founding member Hearst, a composer, multi-instrumentalist and writer. "We thought it would be fun to tie in with the symposium and do a song based on graffiti from Taylor Grocery."

In past albums, they have focused on literary themes and have featured collaborations with authors such as Jonathan Lethem. Their latest effort sets its sights on food and features the likes of Mario Batali. "Every song is a different recipe from a different chef, sung word for word," said Hearst. "It is pretty ridiculous and fun."

Friday, October 10


The SFA will be in Birmingham this weekend, celebrating fall with the good folks at Jones Valley Urban Farm. JVUF is an urban farm that teaches youth and the Birmingham community about sustainable agriculture and nutrition through outdoor experiential education. And Saturday, October 11, is their annual fall festival in downtown Birmingham.

Join us for a Jim 'N Nick's barbecue lunch, pumpkin carving, live music, and an evening screening of our film about the farm, sponsored by Whole Foods and produced by the University of Mississippi's Center for Documentary Projects. For details on the event, visit


The Atlanta History Center invites you to attend the Aiken Lecture
with guest speaker Frederick Douglass Opie
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
8:00 p.m.

Admission for all lectures is $5 for AHC members and $10 for non AHC members. Reservations are required. For more information or to purchase tickets, please call 404.814.4150.

Friday, October 3


The SFA Viking Range Lecture, hosted at the University of Mississippi on September 10, is now available as a podcast episode. Visit here, and click the link for the Viking Lecture Series to hear it online. Or visit here and opt to subscribe to SFA podcasts on iTunes. Pictured above: SFA's Melissa Hall, UM professor and lecture interlocutor Dr. Katie McKee, guest author Bich Minh Nguyen, SFA director John T Edge, and guest author Monique Truoung.


The Hospitality Management Program at the University of Mississippi presents Square Toast for Scholarships on Monday, October 6th, from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. on the Oxford Square.

Square Toast for Scholarships is a food and wine tasting event that also features a silent auction, music, and more. With Square Toast for Scholarships, several of Oxford's favorite restaurants and retail shops are opening their doors and hearts to raise scholarship money for students in the Hospitality Management program at Ole Miss.

To make an online purchase of tickets or donations go here.

For more information or to contribute to the silent auction try:

Tuesday, September 30


A couple of weeks ago we shared news of the passing of oyster tong maker Albert "Corky" Richards. Today we learned of the passing of oyster tag printer and proprietor of the Franklin County Press, Genaro "Jiggs" Zingarelli, pictured above. From The Times (Apalachicola & Carrabelle):

For over six decades, the Franklin County Press hummed with the sounds of printing and conversation.

Monday through Friday, the antique presses came to life, roaring over the steady chatter of old friends who gathered each morning to talk politics, economics and whatever else came to mind.

Today, the presses are silent and the chairs, empty.

On the door, a floral wreath marks the passage of a man and an era in Apalachicola's history.

Genaro "Jiggs" Zingarelli, the Franklin County Press' founder and proprietor, passed away on Sept. 10 in Port St. Joe.

He was 93.

* * *

Read the rest of this beautiful tribute to the man and his work here.
Read our oral history interview with Jiggs here.

Friday, September 12


SEPTEMBER 19-28, 2008

Experience the connection between farmer, chef, and winemaker at this new food and wine festival. From butter churning and beekeeping, to 30-minute sommelier classes and the musings of foodwriters including NPR's Roy Blount, Jr., you'll have a delicious time. This event is included in the regular price of Biltmore admission.

Explore the "field" aspect of this festival, learning how plants and animals are raised, used, and developed into food. Also learn the story behind Biltmore's historical and ongoing legacy of sustainable agriculture. Visit the winery to explore the "table" part the festival. See how produce from the farm is prepared, transformed, and enjoyed. Enjoy cooking demonstrations with Biltmore chefs, artisans, children's grape stomps, red wine and chocolate seminars, a 30-minute sommelier class, and cookbook signings.

Learn about food, cooking, and wine from passionate foodies as they wax poetic about the joys of homemade biscuits, North Carolina wines, and other regional legacies. Speakers include notables from the Southern Foodways Alliance, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, and celebrated community figures.

For a complete schedule of events, click here.


Mr. Ramsey's suit for Mardi Gras Day 2006 commemorated the lost history of the Corner Bar. The names of all the old bars that no longer exist post-Katrina are listed on his suit. Courtesy of photographer, Courtney Egan, and Hurricane Digital Memory Bank.

The Cultures of Rebuilding in Post-Katrina New Orleans
November 6-8, 2008

The Midlo Center for New Orleans Studies, the University of New Orleans Graduate School, and the Louisiana State Museum are collaborating with graduate students from Cambridge University for a conference that seeks to address the complex interplay between culture, heritage, and the rebuilding process. Timed to coincide with the three-year anniversary, the conference assumes that many of the primary rebuilding efforts will have been in place long enough to merit sustained analysis and critique. Taken broadly, we ask: how are culture and cultural heritage transformed, in both material and immaterial ways, following a natural disaster? How do culture and cultural heritage contribute to the rebuilding of a society following a disaster, and what are the processes by which culture and cultural heritage themselves are rebuilt? For more information on this event, including how to submit a paper for consideration, visit

Thursday, September 11


It is with great sadness that we share the news of the death of Albert "Corky" Richards, oyster tong maker and part of our oral history project documenting Florida's Forgotten Coast, who passed away in July at the age of 66 after a battle with lung cancer. From The Times (Apalachicola & Carrabelle):

In his life, Albert "Corky" Richards built oyster tongs, furniture for million dollar homes and everything in between.

Self-taught, self-made and self-reliant, the former fisherman crafted work that mirrored his character - frank, straightforward and unpretentious.

He used the finest materials, favoring centuries-old deadhead cypress pulled from the Apalachicola River, which he admired for its tight, straight grain and resiliency.

Nothing gave Richards greater pleasure than a job that challenged his imagination and put his skills to work.

He left the slap-dash work to others.

"You could always tell his work by the quality of what he did," remembered his wife, Margaret. "The quality is what stood out, the beauty and the quality."

After a long battle with lung cancer, Richards, 66, passed away on July 8 at the Apalachicola home he built with sons Rodney and Buddy.

The many timeless, well-crafted pieces Richards left behind serve as monuments to his life as a master craftsman.

* * *

Read the rest of this beautiful tribute to the man and his work here.
Read our oral history interview with Corky here.

Wednesday, September 10


Call for Papers
8th Annual Louisiana Conference on Literature, Language and Culture
Hilton Garden Inn ~ Lafayette, Louisiana
March 5-7, 2009

Conference Theme: "Beyond Pleasure: The Force of Desire in Text and Culture"

Desire is central to human pursuits, and the determination to understand its function continues to drive inquiries into how we think, what we make and do, and what makes us who we are as individuals, families, cultures, and nations. Contemporary scholarship attests to a continuing preoccupation with desire and a commitment to laying bare its cultural machinations.

In one form or another, desire acts across forms of media, from novels to the network news, and even in the most "scientific" of research studies. Narrative is driven by desire, and literary texts and other cultural artifacts testify to the desires of those who write, compose, or imagine them. Yet desire also exceeds expressivity, driving not only the work of imagination and composition, but also emerging in the actions and attitudes of those who read, use, or make meaning of them throughout their existence in the public sphere. Not only manifest in an author's choices, desire is equally apparent in the processes of publication, in the systems of exchange which give it value, and in the imaginations of readers.

Meanwhile communities develop around shared desires and the practice of traditions determines how each new generation will reconcile its own desires with the desires of those who came before. The diversity of contemporary approaches to the examination of desire has grown in scope from purely psychological analysis to include projects which probe the personal, the political, the economic, and even the technological.

Submission of Abstracts
The conference welcomes the submissions of 350-500 word abstracts on the topic of desire from the following fields: Literary Studies, Travel Literature, Rhetoric and Composition, Creative Writing (fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, drama, and travel writing), Folklore, Linguistics, Modern Languages, History, Cultural Studies, Gender Studies, Critical Theory, Cognitive Science, Cybernetics and Information Sciences.

For more information, write Submission deadline is October 15, 2008.

Friday, September 5


Discovering Identity Through Food

Tupelo Room Barnard Observatory University of Mississippi
6:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Each year, the SFA in partnership with the Viking Range Corporation, will present the Viking Range Lecture Series featuring writers, chefs, poets, or artists. Each lecturer, using food as a vehicle, will explore a greater understanding of self, community, culture, or art.

In this inaugural year of the lecture series, we are pleased to bring two noteable authors to campus: Bich Minh Nguyen and Monique Truong. Nguyen and Truong will read from their work and will discuss the discovery and exploration of identity through food. Katie McKee, McMullan Associate Professor Southern Studies and associate professor of English, will serve as interlocutor for this discussion.

Bich Minh Nguyen received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan and currently teaches creative nonfiction, fiction, and Asian American Literature at Purdue University. She lives in Chicago and West Lafayette, Indiana, with her husband, Porter Shreve. She is the author of Stealing Buddha's Dinner which received the PEN/Jerard Award from the PEN American Center. The memoir was also recognized as a Chicago Tribune best book of 2007, a Kiriyama Prize notable book and a Book Sense pick. Nguyen writes about growing up in a Vietnamese household in an "All-American" city in the deep 1980s. She shares her often poignant tale of becoming American through junk food, classic children's literature, and 80's pop radio.

Monique Truong is coeditor of the anthology Watermark: Vietnamese American Poetry and Prose. The Book of Salt, her first novel, was inspired by a brief mention of an Indochinese cook in The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book. Monique Truong was born in Saigon in 1968 and moved to the United States at age six. She graduated from Yale University and the Columbia University School of Law, going on to specialize in intellectual property. The Book of Salt, a national bestseller, was awarded the 2003 Bard Fiction Prize, the Stonewall Book Award-Barbara Gittings Literature Award, and the Young Lions Fiction Award, among other honors. Granting Truong an Award of Excellence, the Vietnamese American Studies Center at San Francisco State University called her "a pioneer in the field, as an academic, an advocate, and an artist." Truong now lives in Brooklyn, New York.

The SFA Viking Range Lecture series is free and open to the public.

Monday, August 25


Boudin maker Beverly Giardelli of C. Hebert's Slaughter House & Meat Market - Abbeville, LA
Photo by Sara Roahen, 2008

Last year we began working with writer and SFA board member Sara Roahen to collect more of the stories behind the food. Sara spent weeks roaming Louisiana, talking up cooks and meat market owners in an effort to add more oral histories to our Boudin and Gumbo Trail documentary projects. This year she's back in the field--and back home in New Orleans--adding even more content to these two culinary trails. By the spring of 2009, we hope to double the number of interviews for each project, making these two iconic Louisiana foods some of the most thoroughly documented traditions in our archive. Until then, take some time to look at some of Sara's photos from the road on our Flickr page.

Monday, August 18


On Sunday, September 14, 2008, the Atlanta History Center invites
visitors of all ages to CHOW DOWN! A Southern Foodways Festival. From Noon to 5:00 p.m., guests enjoy an afternoon of activities exploring the heritage of the regionally diverse food cultures greatly influenced by the traditions of the Native American, African American,
and Northern European communities. There will be crafts, cooking demonstrations, garden tours, and a presentations by familiar SFA faces: Jessica Harris, Angie Mosier, and John T Edge. Also on the program is Rayna Green, curator at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. The program is free for AHC members, and included in the price of museum admission for non-members. For more information or a schedule of events, visit the Atlanta History Center online.

Monday, August 11


SFA oral historian Amy Evans is on her second trip to document Southern wine. This week, she's in North Carolina, where the native Muscadine is holding strong and European varietals are taking root in Southern soil. The interviews will appear online in the fall, just in time for our drinkways-themed symposium. Meantime, check out Amy's photographs from the road on our Flickr page.

Sunday, August 10


Bon Appetit, Y'all: Recipes and Stories from Three Generations of Southern Cooking
By Virginia Willis. Berkeley, California: Ten Speed Press, 2008. $32.50

Virginia Willis has a delightful way of weaving together three generations of Southern cooking in Bon Appetit, Y'all. She begins by introducing her family--her maternal grandmother "Meme," her grandfather "Dede," and her mother, all of whom grew up in rural Georgia. Her grandmother's fond memories of farm life--milking cows, curing hams, and making butter and cheese--inspire her and naturally evolve when her family moved to Louisiana and expanded their culinary repertoire. She watched Julia Child's show religiously, which led to her work with Southern cooking icon Nathalie Dupree, and then study at both L'Academie de Cuisine in Maryland and La Varenne in Burgundy, France.

No doubt, the old South comes through in recipes like Pimento Cheese, Meme's Fried Chicken and Gravy, Old-Fashioned Pot Roast, Country Captain Chicken, Mama's Fried Fatback, Gulf Coast Oyster Po' Boys, and Mama's Seafood Gumbo. Some Southern dishes are adapted to contemporary tastes, such as Chicken Saltimbocca with Country Ham, Fried Catfish Fingers with Country Remoulade, and Shrimp with Parmigiano-Reggiano Grits and Tomatoes. There are also counterparts with a French accent, such as Fingerling Potato Salad, Boeuf Bourguignon, Provencal Lamb Chops, and Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts and Walnut Oil.

It's the techniques that give the book a common thread--the braising, stewing, frying, and baking. Ms. Willis admits trying to update certain dishes without success, like Aunt Julia's Chocolate Pie, finally admitting, "If it's not broke, don't fix it." There are also many sections with culinary instructions and photos, to help with cutting up chicken, making souffles, choosing fish and fish substitutions, and so on. Who knew that Meme's Fried Okra, Funeral Grits, and Buttermilk Angel Biscuits would find a comfortable place next to Yukon Gold and Edamame Mash, Coq au Vin, and Chocolate Pots de Creme? Virginia Willis sets a table where it allcomes together and still feels supremely Southern and wonderful.

The Savannah Cookbook
By Damon Lee Fowler. Gibbs Smith, Publisher, 2008. $29.95

The latest in Damon Lee Fowler's meticulously researched, beautifully written books about Southern cooking looks at the food of his hometown Savannah. It's traditionally a home-based cuisine, blessed by an abundance of seafood and rice and enlivened by the contributions of the many cultures that passed through this port city. Chief among these is the cooking of the enslaved peoples who provided the labor for the rice and cotton economy.

The cooking of Savannah has much in common with that of the rest of the South, but Fowler concentrates on the dishes that are unique to this community: Savannah Black Turtle Bean Soup, Daufuskie Crab Fried Rice, Creamed Chicken Madeira on Rice Waffles, Crab and Grits. Of particular interest, given the subject of the 2008 SFA Symposium, is the section on Savannah beverages. Madeira is, of course, identified with Savannah, but you'll also find recipes for Chatham Artillery Punch--the original is said to have been mixed in horse-watering tubs; Sherry Cobbler; and a lethal milk rum punch called Milk of a Wild Cow.

The book is sumptuously illustrated with photographs by John Robert Carrington III.

Reviews by Karen Cathey.

Thursday, August 7


On Friday, August 15, Joe York's documentary Above the Line: Saving Willie Mae's Scotch House will screen at Chattanooga's Back Row Film Series. The Pulse, Chattanooga's Weekly Alternative, has an article describing the film as the evening's highlight. Members of the public are invited to attend; click here for more info on the festival.

Wednesday, August 6


Photo by Sara Roahen

The Imperial Calcasieu Museum in Lake Charles, La., and the Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors Bureau will present "Java: The History of Coffee Roasters in Louisiana," from Friday, Sept. 5-Saturday, Nov. 1, 2008, at the Museum, 204 W. Sallier St.

Coffee has played an integral role in Louisiana history since the early 19th Century. In 1802, 1,438 bags of coffee arrived at the Port of New Orleans; just 50 years later, the city imported more than 530,000 bags, according to the Louisiana State Museum. The Port of New Orleans quickly became a port of choice for Latin American coffee planters because of its enviable position at the bottom of the Mississippi Valley and its ability to receive goods from the Caribbean and South and Central America.

The exhibit will celebrate roasters from every region of the state – Jelks Coffee Roasters of north Louisiana; Mello Joy, of Acadiana; French Market Coffee of New Orleans; the ever-present Community Coffee in the southern region and other companies from around the state.

For more information on the exhibit, contact Susan Reed at 337-439-3793, or visit

Tuesday, July 22


SFA's graduate assistant, Cale Nicholson, has coordinated the Teaching Garden at the Boys & Girls Club in Oxford, Mississippi, this summer. Students were involved in the garden design and planting, and throughout the summer they'll help tend the beds. On Tuesdays, they donate produce to the local food pantry. The garden project began as part of Cale's assistantship with the SFA, and ongoing activities are now funded by the Oxford Garden Club and private donations. We'll keep you posted as they learn about plants, bugs, and patience -- the three major lessons of this summer's garden.


Visit our Flickr page to check out the photos from the SFA's eighth annual field trip, Louisville: Blue Grass & Brown Whiskey, courtesy of SFA member Fred Sauceman.

SFA members and Louisville locals Bob Cox and Brenda Major have posted their photos from the weekend online, as well. You can find them here. (Note: sign-up required for viewing)

Thursday, July 17


Please join Chef Donald Link
and the Southern Foodways Alliance
in New Orleans
as we celebrate the release of
Tuesday, July 29, 2008 at 7:00 p.m.

Fried Chicken and Link Andouille Gumbo

Sabine Pass BBQ Crab with Hush Puppies

Guineau Hens and Dumplings
Collard Greens and White Cornbread

Lemon Ice Box Pie

$45 per person
For reservations, call 504-524-4114

*This dinner will sell out quickly, and early reservations are encouraged.

Thursday, July 10


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, the city's nickname-namesake brewery, Falls City, and that little horse race called the Kentucky Derby. But there's more to this town than brown liquor, local breweries, and racetracks. This is where, it's said, the Old-Fashioned was invented. It's where Al Capone dodged the law during Prohibition, ducking out of the Seelbach Hotel through secret passageways. And it's where barkeeps plied their customers with rolled oysters and bean soup to keep them coming back. Louisville's private clubs, hotel bars, and neighborhood taverns are rich with drinking history and lore. But they're also rife with innovation and talk of the future. In Louisville, there's always time for another round. Meet the folks behind--and in front of--the bar by visiting our Louisville Barroom Culture oral history project.


Wednesday, July 2


Bobby Bradley Jr., Shun "Lil' Shun" Williams, and Desiree Robinson of
Cozy Corner Restaurant in Memphis, TN
Photograph by Rien Fertel, 2008

SFA member Rien Fertel is spending the summer in Tennessee, revisiting the barbecue joints that are part of our Memphis and Rural Tennessee barbecue oral history projects. Those projects, which were conducted back in 2002 and 2003, respectively, were our first efforts at collecting the stories behind the food. And, since we were new to this thing called oral history, the stories were short and the projects thin. So Rien is in the field, following up with all of the folks we spoke with a handful of years ago, and he already has a lot to report: one place has burned, others are closed, and the whole hog tradition in rural Tennessee is dying out. But other places are still going strong, such as Memphis's Cozy Corner Restaurant, pictured above.

This is the first opportunity we've had to revisit a project and, while the changing face of barbecue is a sad reality, our celebrations of the people who have dedicated their lives to the craft of 'cue have become much more. Some of them are records of stories long past. They are history.

The new interviews will appear online as part of our Southern Barbecue Trail in the coming months.

Thursday, June 19


The Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation in Vicksburg, Mississippi, is hosting SFA's photo exhibit, "Meet the Folks Behind the Food: The SFA Oral History Initiative at Year Three."  The photos will open with a reception on Monday, June 23, and will remain on display through July 23. To see coverage of the exhibit in The Vicksburg Post, click here.

The SFA's photo exhibit offers visual introductions to the people behind the food who have shared their stories through oral history interviews. These exhibits are intended as tools for educational enrichment, inspiration for community dialogue, and visual celebrations of our regional foodways.

Monday, June 16


SFA oral historian Amy Evans is on the road again, embarking on a fieldwork gathering journey to document Southern wine. This week, she's in Virginia, where the indigenous Norton grape is experiencing a strong revival and European varietals are taking root in Southern soil. The interviews will appear online in the fall, just in time for our drinkways-themed symposium. Meantime, check out Amy's photographs from the road on our Flickr page.

Friday, June 13


Visit our Chicago Eats oral history project to learn about Southern food--and Southerners--in the Windy City. And here the morning lecture from Camp Chicago on Chicago Public Radio here.

Tuesday, June 3


On May 30 The SFA traveled to Franklin, Tennessee, for the first annual Franklin Food & Spirits Festival. There, SFA oral historian Amy Evans conducted interviews with two of the many food vendors: Paradise Ridge Cafe and Bolton's Spicy Chicken & Fish, both of Nashville. The interviews will be part of our existing Nashville Eats project and will be added to our online archive real soon. In the meantime, check out the photographs of Bolton's and Paradise Ridge on our Flickr page.

Go here to view photos of the event taken by SFA member Angie Mosier.

Thursday, May 22


SFA oral historian Amy Evans was recently interviewed by NPR's Weekend America. She and host Bill Radke dished up conversation on our new Chicago Eats oral history project--everything from hot dogs to hoecakes. The segment airs this Saturday, May 24, just as the SFA is hitting up bbq joints and blues haunts during Camp Chicago. Find participating NPR stations or download the podcast to listen.

The oral histories will be online soon, so keep checking back!

Wednesday, April 2


Edna Stewart of Edna's Restaurant in Chicago

SFA oral historian Amy Evans just returned from a week-long fieldwork-gathering trip to the Windy City, looking for stories of transplanted Southerners who left their homes but held on to family recipes. She found a whole lot more. Amy visited with 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 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 recalled the moment when Civil Rights workers first visited her restaurant, Edna's, and when Reverend Jesse Jackson fell for her sweet potatoes. Izola White, originally from Tennessee, outlined her opinions on the color of dumplings and cornmeal served at Izola's Famiy Dining. Rose DeShazer White, who was born in Hollandale, Mississippi, baked a caramel cake from her grandmother's recipe and shared a slice, along with stories. Chicago native John Pawlikowski of Fat Johnnie's shared his thoughts on the mother-in-law sandwich, Chicago's long history with tamales, and their curious connection to Mississippi.

These oral histories 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. And 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. Hear their stories in person, and get ready to eat.

Tuesday, April 1


Photographs from SFA events and documentary projects can now be found of Flickr, the popular photo management and sharing Website. We hope you'll take the time to browse our pages and, if you're a Flickr member, add us to your contacts. Look for more photographs to be uploaded soon.

Monday, March 31


2008 has brought a lot of change to Greenwood, MS. In February, Stacey Ragland, owner of the legendary Cotton Row Club for almost 40 years and a patron for 60, sold his business on Ramcat Alley. While there's talk that the club may still exisit in some form, Ragland won't be at the helm, and there's no telling what the new owner has in store.

On March 1, Mattie Smith closed the doors of her namesake restaurant, Mattie's, on W. Market Street. Known for her friend chicken, turkey & dressing, and sweet potato souffle', Mattie's was the place to go for good old fashioned home cookin'. At 62, though, Mattie was already thinking about retiring. But after spending 46 years at the stove, serving customers, and making friends, she's already missing putting her apron on every morning.

Mattie's Restaurant and the Cotton Row Club are each featured as part of our Greenwood Restaurants oral history project, which was produced in 2003. We're sorry to see these places go, but we're certainly glad that we still have their stories.

Tuesday, March 18


Cornbread Nation 4: A Celebration Dinner
Friday, April 4 @ 7 p.m.
City Grocery, Oxford, MS

With oysters by Tommy Ward. A film by Joe York. And reflections on the bay by SFA oral historian, Amy Evans.

For reservations, call City Grocery at 662-232-8080 and tell them you'd like reservations for the SFA Cornbread Nation dinner.

Monday, March 17


An SFA Benefit Dinner by Zingerman's
Monday, April 7 @ 7 p.m.
Zingerman's Roadhouse, Ann Arbor, MI

$75 / dinner (proceeds from the dinner to go to the SFA)

Zingerman's Roadhouse is hosting a fundraiser for the Southern Foodways Alliance featuring a meal from the Mississippi Delta. Special guest (and SFA board president) Marcie Cohen Ferris will reflect on her experience as a Southern Jewish woman in the South. Her husband, Bill Ferris, will speak about the Delta blues. The talented Alex Johnson will provide the music.

The menu is online here. The Roadhouse is taking reservations now. Call 734.663.3663.

Tuesday, March 11


SFA'S newest film, sponsored by Whole Foods and directed by Matthew Graves at the Center for Documentary Projects, shares the story of artisanal cheeses in the South. Visit Belle Chevre in Alabama, Sweet Grass Dairy in Georgia, and Bonnie Blue Farm in Tennessee. The film is available online at this link:

Users must have Quicktime installed to view the film. PC users may need to wait a few moments for the film to download before it begins to play.

Monday, March 10


CulinaryCorps invites eligible culinary students and professionals to join our fifth volunteer outreach trip to New Orleans, LA and the MS Gulf Coast from June 1-6, 2008. Over the next few weeks, a team of twelve cooks, culinary students and food professionals will be selected to volunteer. The group will apply their time and kitchen skills to food-related community projects invaluable to the area's rebuilding efforts. Beyond the service activities, participants will be immersed in the vital culinary culture of the region. Each trip aims to provide both cultural exchange and service opportunities to cooks who believe that good food can lead to great change. For more information, visit

Sunday, March 9


The Greater Midwestern Foodways Alliance invites guests to study sweets. Featured speakers include Robin Mather Jenkins and Donna Pierce of The Chicago Tribune. The one day seminar will be held at Kendall College in Chicago, and advance registration is only $50. For more information, visit

Monday, March 3


SFA oral historian Amy Evans just returned from Georgia, where where she collected a handful of oral history interviews and spread the good word about the SFA.

While in Atlanta, Amy interviewed longtime SFA member Cappy Ricks. Then she set her sights on Georgia 'cue, collecting stories from the fine folks at Fresh Air Bar-B-Q in Flovilla, Paul's Barbecue in Lexington, and The Pink Pig in Cherry Log. Amy ended her trip at the 11th Annual Georgia Organics Conference in Dalton, where she gave a presentation on conducting oral histories. While she was there, she had the opportunity to interview Nicolas Donck and Helen Dumba of Crystal Organic Farms.

Look for these and other interviews to appear online in the coming months.

Tuesday, February 26


The most recent SFA event, Potlikker Birmingham, invited over 200 people to feast on fried catfish, artisanal cheeses, and coconut cream pie (among other favorite local dishes). There was poetry by Jake York. Music by the Pine Hill Haints. And films--including our newest, THE RISE OF SOUTHERN CHEESE--by SFA filmmakers Joe York and Matthew Graves. Thanks to all who worked to make this event a success.

Saturday, February 9

Feb 20 Egerton Dinner at Highlands in Bham

A few tickets remain for the dinner, set for 6:30 on February 20 at Highlands Bar and Grill in Birmingham, Alabama.

Sales of the $100 tickets benefit the John Egerton Prize, awarded annually by the Southern Foodways Alliance to scholars, activists, and artists whose work in the world of food addresses issues of race, class, gender, and social and environmental justice.

Featuring Alabama-born poet Jake Adam York, author of A Murmuration of Starlings.

And chef Frank Stitt, whose menu for the night -- oysters Bienville, shad roe, black bottom pie, and more! -- drew inspiration from Egerton's words.

And John Egerton, author, agitator, eater.

Call 205-939-1400 to book a seat.

Friday, February 8


Alabamians interested in gathering the stories behind the food for the SFA Oral History Initiative can learn to do so at the Alabama Communities Scholars Institute (ACSI). This training program, for people who want to research and document Alabama's traditional culture, is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Alabama State Council on the Arts.

The 2008 Alabama Community Scholars Institute will take place in Mobile starting after dinner on Friday June 20 and continuing through Sunday, June 29, after breakfast. Throughout the intensive 9-day program participants study
--all aspects of doing fieldwork: recognizing traditions, conducting field surveys, interviewing and recording, photographing and videotaping tradition bearers and logging and transcribing interviews.
--ways to present their findings in exhibits, films, CDs, articles, etc.
--how folk traditions can be part of cultural tourism plans which may be of economic benefit to their communities.

Students come with a project concerning their own local culture in mind and throughout the Institute they learn how to make that project a success. To gain hands-on experience during the Institute, participants will research Mobile's Mardi Gras and interview people involved in that traditional event.

Applications are due by April 1. For complete details about the Alabama Community Scholars Institute and how to apply, visit and click on ACSI or call Joyce Cauthen, 205-822-0505.

Thursday, January 31


Today the Kitchen Sisters will share a story of Lebanese kitchens in the Mississippi Delta. They found this story last October, when visiting Oxford for the annual Southern Foodways Symposium.

Visit NPR's Web site to hear today's story, featuring Jimmy Thomas (managing editor of the new foodways volume of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture) and the folks at Abe's BBQ (who you'll find on our Tamale Trail). And read on to learn more about the episode, straight from the Kitchen Sisters.
Like the Kitchen Sisters story, "Georgia Gilmore and The Club From Nowhere," this hidden kitchen came to us from John T. Edge of the Southern Foodways Alliance. We were headed to Oxford, Miss., to interview Alice Waters and Scott Peacock for the SFA's 10th Annual Symposium.

We asked Edge for a suggestion of a hidden kitchen in the Delta. "Kibbe," he said.


He began to tell of Lebanese people who migrated to Mississippi in waves beginning in the late 1870s through the 1920s, and even into the 1960s. Many of the early Lebanese first worked as peddlers and went on to become the grocers and restaurateurs of the region.

Edge pointed us down the road and said to be sure to read down the menus. There, nestled between the fried chicken and barbecue, we would find tabouleh, grape leaves, stuffed cabbage, and kibbe, fried, baked or raw-- sort of the national food of Lebanon, a meatloaf of sorts.

Monday, January 28


Sara Roahen has contributed lots of new fieldwork to the Boudin and Gumbo Trails. Learn more about these iconic Louisiana foods from interviews with Bubba Frey in Mowata, the Dunbars in New Orleans, the Uzee family in Larose, and many more. Read their stories, listen to audio clips, and view photos. Grab a napkin and go!

Sunday, January 27


Cooking the Book: A Celebration of John Egerton's Southern Food: At Home, On the Road, In History

Benefiting the John Egerton Prize, awarded annually by the Southern Foodways Alliance to scholars, activists, and artists whose work in the world of food addresses issues of race, class, gender, and social and environmental justice.

Featuring Alabama-born poet Jake Adam York, author of A Murmuration of Starlings; Chef Frank Stitt of Highlands Bar & Grill; and John Egerton, author, agitator, eater.

6:30 pm
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Highlands Bar and Grill
Birmingham, AL

Cost is $100 per person. Call 205-939-1400 for reservations. Events sell out quickly. Early registration is encouraged.

Tuesday, January 15


SFA oral historian Amy Evans is on the road again, documenting bartenders in Louisville, Kentucky. From Schnitzelburg to the Seelbach, she's collecting their stories and learning a few secrets, one drink at a time.

Look for the interviews to appear online this spring. And mark your calendars for Blue Grass and Brown Whiskey Field Trip to Louisville, July 11-13.


Friday, January 4


The collection of fifty portraits from our oral history archive that was on view at the Center's Gammill Gallery this fall is on the road! "Meet the Folks Behind the Food: The SFA Oral History Initiative at Year Three," is currently on display at Old Alabama Town in Montgomery, Alabama. The exhibition runs from January 2 through February 15.