Best of Food (2014 Collection)

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Best of Food (2014 Collection)

Nourishment and nostalgia, Native ingredients and global influences. Southern Cultures‘s debut “best of” collection gets straight to the heart of the matter: food.

For those of us who’ve debated mayonnaise brand, hushpuppy condiment, or barbecue styleincluding, in some quarters, whether the latter is a non or a verb (bless your heart)we present here a collection equal to our passions.

Culled from our best food writing, 2008–2014, this special volume serves up tomatoes, turtles, molasses, Mother Corn and the Dixie Pig, bourbon, gravy, cakes, jam, jellies, pickles, and chocolate pie. Dig in!

Mother Corn and the Dixie Pig: Native Food in the Native South

by Rayna Green

"They all know, out there in Indian Country, that the loss of traditional diet and the cultural skills needed to maintain it has killed more Indians than Andy Jackson."

Picking Blackberries and Getting By

by Bruce E. Baker

"Nineteenth-century newspaper accounts tell of snake attacks. Hornets, as my brother could tell you, can be a problem, and bears are not unheard of."

“The Deepest Reality of Life”: Southern Sociology, the WPA, and Food in the New South

by Marcie Cohen Ferris

"'I know your damned photographer's soul writhes, but to hell with it. Do you think I give a damn about a photographer's soul with Hitler at our doorstep?'"

Molasses-Colored Glasses: WPA and Sundry Sources on Molasses and Southern Foodways

by Frederick Douglass Opie

"Poor white and black southerners ate molasses in some form with almost every meal."

Canning Tomatoes, Growing “Better and More Perfect Women”

by Elizabeth S. D. Engelhardt

"Tomato Club. Tomato Club. See how we can. See how we can. Give us tomatoes and a good sharp knife—This is the place to get a good wife. Did ever you see such girls in your life—As the Tomato Club?" —Tomato Club Song, c. 1914

“She Ought to Have Taken Those Cakes”: Southern Women and Rural Food Supplies

by Rebecca Sharpless

"In April 1930, five hundred potential customers showed up at the opening of Staunton's curb market, and, in 1936, the market's most successful vendor, Nettie Shull, made more than $2,000 by selling potato chips, fried apple pies, potato salad, and dressed poultry."

“Eat It to Save It”: April McGreger in Conversation with Tradition

by Whitney E. Brown

"There is a deep, pulsing current of heritage and emotion when your hands are in the dirt, and that's a feeling worth recapturing in the age of the iPhone."

An Eye for Mullet

by David S. Cecelski

This essay is excerpted from the Southern Waters issue (vol. 20, no. 3). To view in full, please access via Project Muse.

Theodore Peed’s Turtle Party

by Bernard L. Herman

"There's only one piece of white meat in him, and that's his neck. The rest of the meat is dark meat. If you fry it, it's still like a white piece of meat, like a chicken breast. The rest of it looks like a chicken leg."

Every Ounce a Man’s Whiskey?

by Seán S. McKeithan

"It is about the aesthetic of Bourbon drinking in general and in particular of knocking it back neat . . . The joy of Bourbon drinking is not the pharmacological effect of C2H5OH on the cortex but rather the instant of the whiskey being knocked back and the little explosion of Kentucky U.S.A. sunshine in the cavity of the nasopharynx and the hot bosky bite of Tennessee summertime." —Walker Percy, "Bourbon"1

Chocolate Pie

by Michael Chitwood

both sweet and bitter, like that afternoon