Cornbread Nation 5: The Best of Southern Food Writing

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The fifth volume in this popular series from the Southern Foodways Alliance spans the food cultures of the South. Cornbread Nation 5, lovingly edited by accomplished food writer Fred W. Sauceman, celebrates food and the ways in which it forges unexpected relationships between people and places. In this collection of more than seventy essays and poems, we read about the food that provides nourishment as well as a sense of community and shared history.

Essays examine Nashville’s obsession with hot chicken and the South’s passion for congealed foods. There are stories of green tomatoes frying over a campfire in the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee and tea cakes baking for Easter in Louisiana. In a chapter on immigrant cooking, writers visit the Mississippi Delta where a Chinese family fries pork rinds in a wok and a Lebanese restaurant serves baklava alongside coconut cream pie. Alan Deutschman, a self-described “Jewish Yankee,” chronicles his search for the perfect country ham. Barbara Kingsolver extols on the joys of eating sustainably. Sara Roahen writes a veritable love letter to the venerable New Orleans Sazerac. Kevin Young delights with his “Ode to Chicken,” and Donna Tartt treats us to what else but bourbon. Cornbread Nation 5 is a feast for the eyes, and if you’re not hungry or thirsty when you pick up this book, you will be when you put it down.

Published in association with the Southern Foodways Alliance at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi. A Friends Fund Publication.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Cornbread Nation 5 is a mouth-watering read that evokes the smells of exotic foods like fried Coke, paddlefish, and livermush, as well as the familiar aroma of field peas, corn, and sweet potato pie. . . . Fred Sauceman has edited a truly historic body of reflections on southern food that will be read with gusto by all who love to eat. And eat they must after relishing this beautiful book.”—William Ferris, author of Give My Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues

“Sam the Tamale Man, Mama Sugar, Doe’s Eat Place, North Carolina livermush, Georgia chicken mull, Jelly Roll Morton, Sazeracs and Micheladas—the very names of eats, drinks, jazzmen, and cooks are riffs on the heard melodies of culture and cuisine. In the South, eating, like writing, celebrates the fact that there’s no place like home.”—Betty Fussell, author of Raising Steaks: The Life and Times of American Beef

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820335070
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 4/15/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 328
  • Sales rank: 991,116
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Fred W. Sauceman is an associate professor of Appalachian studies at East Tennessee State University. He is the author of four books including the three-volume series The Place Setting, which explores Appalachian foodways. He directed and produced the documentary A Red Hot Dog Digest. Sauceman’s Food with Fred appears monthly on WJHL-TV, the CBS affiliate in Johnson City, Tennessee. The Southern Foodways Alliance documents, studies, and celebrates the diverse food cultures of the changing American South. It is a member-supported organization of more than 1,000 cooks, thinkers, academics, writers, and eaters. Atlantic Monthly called the SFA "this country's most intellectually engaged (and probably most engaging) food society." John T. Edge is director of the Southern Foodways Alliance and Cornbread Nation general editor. He is the author or editor of more than a dozen books, including The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture: Foodways and A Gracious Plenty: Recipes and Recollections from the American South. Edge contributes to a wide array of publications, including the New York Times, Oxford American, and Garden & Gun.
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Table of Contents

Foreword John Egerton XI

Introduction Fred W. Sauceman 1

Setting the Table

Why Study Southern Food? Marcie Cohen Ferris 5

What Is Southern? Edna Lewis 7

The Grace before Dinner Jennifer Justus 12

Gardens, Fields, and Forests

Gratitude: May Barbara Kingsolver 19

Corn as a Way of Life Loyal Jones 26

Between the Rows with Both Hands: Bean-Picking in Northeast Tennessee Margaret Carr 30

Field Pea Philosophy Scott Peacock 33

The Season of Fried Green Tomatoes Martha Stamps 35

Onion Medicine Anthony Cavender 37

Coveted, French, and Now in Tennessee Molly O'Neill 41

Living through the Honey Daniel Wallace 45

Capturing Summer in the Ice Cream Churn Dan Huntley 48

Sweet Potato Pie Marilyn Kallet 50

Coops, Pens, and Pits

Ode to Chicken Kevin Young 53

Mulling over Mull: A North Georgia Foodways Localism Charles C. Doyle 55

Some Like It Extra Hot David Ramsey 62

Victory or Supper: The Easter Egg Fights of Peters Hollow Kara Carden 69

There's a Word for It-the Origins of "Barbecue" John Shelton Reed 71

A Jewish Yankee's Quest for the Last Great Country Hams of Western Kentucky: How a City Boy Fell Madly for Country Ham and Wound Up Eating It Raw Alan Deutschman 77

From Southern Waters

Ode to a Catfish House Katherine Whitworth 87

Soft-Shell Science Carroll Leggett 89

Humble Paddlefish Fulfills Southerners' Caviar Dreams Jeffrey Gettleman 93

Bayou Coquille Garland Strother 97


USDA Approved: The Mark of Discrimination in Twentieth-Century Farm Policy Pete Daniel 101

So Long, White Lily Jack Neely 107

What Happened to Poor Man's Pâté? Chuck Shuford 110

Friends and Fancy Food Rheta Grimsley Johnson 114

Eating My Heart Out: The Good and Bad of the Meal of a Lifetime Beth Ann Fennelly 116

Funeral Food Kathleen Purvis 121

Sad Streaks and Weepy Meringues Sarah Anne Loudin Thomas 126

Malabsorption Syndrome Marianne Worthington 127

African American Foodways: Food, Fear, Race, Art, and the Future Ari Weinzweig 129


Juneteenth Jamboree Robb Walsh 137

The Sacred Feast Kathryn Eastburn 143

Open City Jessica B. Harris 150

Red Velvet Revisited Neely Barnwell Dykshorn 155

The Food and Music Pantheon Roy Blount Jr. 158


A Fine Virginian Lucretia Bingham 165

Chapel Hill Eats and a Chef Remembers Ben Barker 169

Purdue John Martin Taylor 174

Platters and Permanence Walk and Talk A-Plenty at Spartanburg's Beacon Susan Shelton 177

The Restaurant That Time Forgot Lee Walburn 181

Miss Congealiality Julia Reed 185

Opinion Stew Salley Shannon 188

This Recipe Is Remembrance Michelle Healy 192

Knowing Sylvia Woods 195


Muffulettas and Meringue Pies: The Immigrant Experience in the South Amy C. Evans 199

Your Dekalb Farmers Market: Food and Ethnicity in Atlanta Tore C Olsson 217

Descendants of Greek Immigrants Aren't Pining for Pita John T. Edge 228

From Barbecue to Baklava: The Delta's Culinary Crossroads Amy C. Evans 232

The Delta Hot Tamale: Save Those Coffee Cans Martha Hall Foose 235

In the Doe's Kitchen with Aunt Florence Anne Martin 237

Home Cooking: East Meets South at a Delta Table Joan Nathan 240

Virginia Is for Wontons Mei Chin 244

Bozo's George Motz 247

Currying Flavor Brett Anderson 249

Cooking for a Sunday Day Corby Kummer 253

Welcome to Cuban Sandwich City Andrew Huse 257

Global Cornbreads: The Whole World in a Pan Crescent Dragonwagon 260

Demystifying Grits for the Northern Palate John S. Forrester 262

The Invasion of the Whores de Orvrays Robert St. John 265

Tasty Tradition Rolls On Bill Archer 269

Good Humor Devon Brenner 271

The Liquid South

Early Times in Mississippi Donna Tartt 275

Sazeracs: I Take My Liquor Brown Sara Ronhen 278

The Michelada: Getting to the Bottom of a Mysterious Texas Concoction Francine Maroukian 287

Dr. Enuf: A New Age Nutraceutical with a Patent Medicine Pedigree Fred W. Sauceman 289

Have a Fried Coke-and a Frown? John Kessler 294

Taste of Tradition: Iced Tea Fred Thompson 295

Praise Wine John Simpkins 297

A Benediction

Butter Elizabeth Alexander 301

Contributors 303

Acknowledgments 307

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