Friday, April 30


As the oil spill gets closer to the Gulf Coast, wildlife, wetlands and livelihoods are in danger. We've captured quite a few stories of people who spend their days working on the water, and we think of them now as their way of life is threatened once again.

People like Frank Parker, a seventh-generation shrimper in Biloxi, Mississippi. His story is part of our recent project documenting Biloxi's ethnic shrimping communities.

And A. L. Quick, who has been tonging for oysters in the Apalachicola Bay since he was a teenager. His story is part of our project documenting the seafood industry along Florida's Forgotten Coast.

Our thoughts are with them, their families, and all of the people who make their living on the water.

Wednesday, April 28


We're home from Nashville, where City House hosted 250 food- music- and haiku-obsessed souls for a Potlikker Film Festival that unfolded like a lazy day in the country. Big thanks to all, especially the kind staff at City House who served and smiled big all afternoon long.

Alongside is the crew from the Capitol Grille, taken by Colleen Cruze, the buttermilk gal.


Last Wednesday, Lucky 32 in Greensboro, NC, hosted a book party for Cornbread Nation 5, edited by Fred Sauceman. Jay Pierce, above, was the soft-shell crab wizard. Also in attendance were Sauceman, Carroll Leggett, and other contributors. A documentary film on soft shells was shown. Get the details here in Michael Hastings Winston Salem Journal article.

photo by Lauren Carroll

Thursday, April 22


First Food: St. Augustine and the Birth of American Cuisine

photo courtesy of Los Companeros

On June 19, 2010, First Food, the first, annual heritage food event of the living history group, Los CompaƱeros de la Cocina (The Companions of the Kitchen), will be held at the Colonial Spanish Quarter Museum in St. Augustine, Florida.

The founding of Florida in the 16th century saw the blending of European, African, and Native American foodways and the birth of the first uniquely American cuisine. Los CompaƱeros will present interpretations and demonstrations of the foodways of early Florida and the southeastern U.S., including:

• what foodstuffs were available in 16th-century Florida
• how they were procured
• how they were preserved
• how they were prepared
• and how they were consumed.

For more information, you can contact or 1-877-FLA-HIST.

Wednesday, April 21


Matt Neal, of Neal's Deli in Carrboro, NC; photo courtesy of NY Times

Hey now--Durham, NC gets praise in the NY Times today. A once "scruffy, unkempt sibling in the Research Triangle" (their words, not ours!) known for having tobacco in that precious soil, it is now becoming known for the variety of locally grown food sprouting around the area. And those local fruits, vegetables, and livestock have become the stars on the menus at the restaurants--fine dining and delis, alike--in town. "But the most intriguing cooks here have an understanding of how to give a menu a sense of place."

Good things are cooking in Durham.
Check out today's NY Times piece by Julia Moskin, Durham, a Tobacco Town, Turns to Local Food.

Thursday, April 15


UPDATE: York won the Ruma award, for most promising Mississippi filmmaker!

Joe York is on a roll. This Saturday at 3, in Jackson, at the Crossroads Film Festival, Smokes & Ears plays on the big screen.

See the story of the Big Apple Inn of Jackson, Mississippi. Known as "Big John's" by its faithful customers, the Big Apple Inn's defining duo of pig ear sandwiches and hot smoked sausage sandwiches (known as "smokes") has kept folks coming back again and again for over 70 years, and counting.

The film was made in recognition of 2009 Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame Award Winner Geno Lee.

Wednesday, April 14


The Atlanta Film Festival blog sat down with Joe York to pick his brain about CUD. See the film at the Atlanta Film Festival on Wed, April 21 at 9:30am at the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema. Can't wait until then? Watch the trailer here.

If you could describe your film using only 3 words, what would they be?
Honest, Funny, Beefy
Is there a character or subject in your film you most identify with? Would you switch places with them just for a day?
I identify with cow #31 from the cud chewing montage. If I had to be a cow, I'd want to be that cow.
What's the one thing about your film you're most proud of?
I'm most proud of the fact that this film is really a megaphone for the voice of Will Harris. He's an incredible man doing incredible work and if this film can help his voice be heard by more and more folks, then I'm proud of that.
When you first screened your film, was there a moment, scene or character the audience reacted to, that surprised you?
I'm never surprised by how folks react to Will Harris. He's a funny, smart, passionate, no crap kind of guy and people really fall in love with him. I can't tell you how many women have come up to me after screenings to ask if he's single. Sorry, ladies, he's happily married.
What do you want audiences to take away from your film?
Will Harris makes a statement in the film that goes like this, "You know, you are what you eat, and I think that probably you are what you eat eats." I hope folks will see CUD and think a bit more about what they eat and what what they eat eats.
Who are the directors, filmmakers and artists that most influenced your film or yourself?
I really like Errol Morris' series "First Person". I keep trying to do a portrait of an individual that's half as good as any one of the profiles in that series. I doubt I'll ever do it, but it's a heck of great benchmark to shoot for.
Where do you see your film in 5 years?
I'll see it the same place anyone else can, at That was shameless, I know.
Someone has to go to the bathroom during your film, and they have to miss part of your film. Do they miss the beginning, the middle or the end?
Our film is like the small southern town where it was shot. If you blink, you'll miss it. But if you pay close attention for the short time it takes to go through it, you'll come out better for having done it on the other side.
How do you properly refer to Atlanta? A) The ATL B) Hotlanta C) The A D) The Dirty South E) Anything but B, no one in Atlanta who knows better still uses it. F) I'm embarrased to say I still use Hotlanta and I now a vow to never use it again except to denounce as corny and outdated. G) Huh? What does this have to do with filmmaking? (But, the answer is E)
F) I'm embarrased to say I still use Hotlanta and I now a vow to never use it again except to denounce it as corny and outdated.
Extra Credit: Use our 2010 festival words EXPERIENCE, THINK, LAUGH, CONNECT, FEEL and Do in a sentence describing your film.
If you like experiencing, thinking, laughing, connecting and feeling, then you'll absolutely love watching CUD! If you you don't like those things, you should DO it anyway!


From today's Greensboro News-Record

Since the debut of "Cornbread Nation: The Best of Southern Food Writing" in 2002, readers can't seem to get enough of this anthology published in conjunction with Southern Foodways Alliance. "Cornbread Nation 5" debuts Thursday.

To highlight the latest anthology, Lucky 32 (1421 Westover Terrace, Greensboro) is hosting a debut party from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. April 21. The book's editor, Fred Sauceman, and contributor Carroll Leggett will be on hand to sign copies.

At 7 p.m., a five-course dinner prepared by chef Jay Pierce, a Louisiana native, will be served. Cost for the dinner is $65. For reservations, call 370-0707. For more information about the event, visit


CUD, a film by the SFA's resident filmmaker Joy York, will screen next Wednesday, April 21, at the Atlanta Film Festival.

“My beef is just like industrial commodity beef except it’s healthier, safer, better for the environment, and it tastes better. Other then that it’s exactly the same,” says Georgia cattleman Will Harris. Harris raises grass-fed beef cattle on a small family farm that has been in his family since the 1840s. Ten years ago he turned his back on the excesses of the modern beef production system and converted his farm into the first certified organic cattle farm in Georgia.
Filmmaker Joe York and the film's subject Will Harris will both be in attendance.

Go here for more information on the festival.

Tuesday, April 13


Exploring the Global South along the Buford Highway International Corridor

Travel the Buford Highway International Corridor. With expert Southern Foodways Sherpas in the lead, we’ll explore the strip malls and reconfigured fast food bunkers where intrepid eaters feast on some of the region’s best (Chinese) barbecue, and (Salvadoran) fried chicken. We'll eat a deep South dim sum lunch at Abattoir. And explore Mexican cookery with Eddie Hernandez of Taqueria del Sol.

Friday, April 9


On Monday, April 12, at 11 in the morn, Ashley Christensen of Poole’s Diner in Raleigh, NC, will host a potluck brunch for food industry folks at her home in Raleigh. By food industry folks, Ashley means people who are touched and moved by the industry in some way: cooks, servers, bartenders, writers, eaters, and drinkers.

Sean Brock, from McCrady’s in Charleston, will be at the center of the conversation. Guests will enjoy a main course, beer, wine and bloody Marys. This will be an informal event for conversations with other food peeps in the area.

Brunch is $35 per person. 100% of the proceeds will benefit the SFA documentary film initiative.

Please call Poole's for reservations, as seating is limited. 919.832.4477

Sean will be cooking a sold-out dinner the night before, also to benefit the SFA. Among the eats will be black cherry-smoked flounder with piquillo and mustard-espelette aioli; Charleston stone crab with apple jelly, wood sorrel, and preserved lemon; and poached torchon of Charleston shrimp with Benton's sausage, Brock-milled grits, and wild ramps.


(photo credit Elizabeth Galecke Photography)


Great email to recieve on a Friday afternoon:

To Whom It May Concern:

The United States Library of Congress has selected your Web site for inclusion in its historic collections of Internet materials. The Library's traditional functions, acquiring, cataloging, preserving and serving collection materials of historical importance to the Congress and to the American people to foster education and scholarship, extend to digital materials, including Web sites. We request your permission to collect your web site and add it to the Library's research collections.

Thursday, April 8


Photo courtesy of Pableaux Johnson

The SFA has lost a friend. Cliff Barton, father of past SFA board member Scott Barton, passed away today. Cliff tagged along with his son to many an SFA event, always pleased to visit new places, meet new people and and eat whatever was put in front of him, whether it be Sean Brock's cotton candy at the symposium or smoked mullet dip on our field trip to Apalachicola, Florida. Cliff was a wonderful supporter of the SFA and, most of all, his son. He will be missed. Our thoughts are with the entire Barton family.

Wednesday, April 7


In the Charlotte Observer today, Kathleen Purvis ponders Why the South Loves Banana Pudding, and also gives a shout out to all SFA members of the Banana Pudding Republic.

"At Carolinas barbecue restaurants, if dessert is offered at all, it is usually banana pudding. It can be made cheaply in big quantities and turned out in sheet pans or disposable aluminum trays at church potlucks.

[Banana Pudding]'s so connected to this part of the world that if you join the Southern Foodways Alliance this year, you'll get a sticker declaring you a "Proud Citizen of the Banana Pudding Republic."

But why is banana pudding Southern? Bananas are everywhere."

Monday, April 5


Dr. Franklin Penn - C. F. Penn Hamburgers from Southern Foodways on Vimeo.

The Southern Foodways Alliance has embarked on a new oral history project documenting slug burgers in Mississippi and Alabama. This peek at our interview with the Penn family of C. F. Penn Hamburgers in Decatur, AL, is our first interview in the series.

Believed to be a holdover from World War I, slug burgers grew out of frugality. Hamburger meat is mixed with an extender, such as cracker meal, soy flour or wheat flour and egg. The patty is then fried in oil and is dressed with mustard and onions, sometimes sliced pickle. The term "slug burger" comes from the early 20th century slang for nickel, which is what the burgers used to cost.

This is an ongoing project. Visit our Flickr page to view photographs from the road, and check for updates and additional interviews.