Review by: Liz Williams
Edited by Fred W. Sauceman
General Editor, John T. Edge
UGA Press. Published in association with the Southern Foodways Alliance at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi
Page count: 328 pp.
16 b&w photos
Trim size: 6 x 9.25
Once again the University of Georgia Press has gathered together what it calls “the best of Southern food writing.” This year that task fell to Fred W. Sauceman, an expert in the foodways of Appalachia, who has reached far and wide to not only spotlight good writing, but also good storytelling. And he has also gathered writing that extols Southern foodways of all types: the high and the low, the familiar and the obscure. This book is a good read.
Sauceman asks whether Southern food is endangered or enduring. I think that it is enduring and evolving, if this book is any indication. Are some things lost? Sure. But there are new things being explored.
One thing that is lost is White Lily flour in Knoxville, written about with objective affection by Jack Neely. An article by John Shelton Reed about the origins of the word barbecue is elucidating and provocative. And Marcie Cohen Ferris’ defense of the study of Southern food is fierce. Each of these pieces is a joy to read – and to look at. It contains a terrific photo essay by Amy Evans about immigrants in the South. And the pieces are short. The book lends itself to a short read. I like that it about it. Sometimes there isn’t time to read for a long time. This book gives you a satisfying short sip.
This book reeks of the smells of the South. It makes your mouth water over the tastes of the South. It satisfies your mind and your senses. You will want it on your shelf to return to it many times.
Join the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, Cornbread Nation 5, and the Oxford American for a symposium exploring food journalism and celebrating the release of Cornbread Nation 5 and the Food Issue of the Oxford American on April 17 at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. Meet some of the featured writers in Cornbread Nation 5! To learn more, click HERE!