2013 Southern Foodways Symposium Recap from Southern Foodways on Vimeo.

16th Southern Foodways Symposium  **SOLD OUT
October 4–6, 2013
Women at Work
University of Mississippi and Oxford, Mississippi

*Photo of Alzina Toups by Sara Roahen.

**To have your name added to the wait list for tickets, email marybeth@southernfoodways.org with your name, best contact email and phone number, and the number of requested tickets. Should tickets become available, we’ll make them available in the order that wait list requests are received. An individual on the wait list will have 1 business day to respond to an offer before we move to the next name on the list, to be fair to all who are waiting.

The sixteenth Southern Foodways Symposium will be held October 4-6, 2013, on the campus of the University of Mississippi and in and around the town of Oxford. The Symposium formally convenes at noon on Friday, October 4, and closes at noon on Sunday, October 6. (On the evening of Thursday, October 3, there will be optional activities for early arrivals). Click here for the schedule.

This year we examine the role of women in Southern foodways. Much previous academic and popular attention has focused on women as stewards of home and hearth. Instead, the SFA will ask questions about how women farmers, artisans, and cooks have forged cultural identities, challenged gender conventions, built businesses, and driven economies. Click here for our bibliography.

For 2013, we explore female spaces like kitchen libraries and project kitchens. We tell stories of female entrepreneurs who earned their keep selling standards like yeast rolls and mayonnaise. We pay homage to the women who have long worked both the back-of the-house and the front-of the-house. And we celebrate the lives of women of letters like Vertamae Grosvenor, author of Vibration Cooking, and Edna Lewis, author of The Taste of Country Cooking.

With women in the lead, we will savor breakfasts of fire-toasted cornmeal pound cake, lunches of country captain, and dinners of cayenne-sluiced fried chicken. First time attendees will enjoy Tabasco-spiked bloody Marys. Everyone will enjoy wine from Virginia and beer from Tennessee, both crafted by women.

You’ll note that women will do the talking (and performing, and cooking) this year. Men will not step to the stoves until Sunday, when they pay homage to the women who went before them. Also, please note that SFA will not host a Delta Divertissement this year. Look for notice of a new Delta adventure in 2014.

Host for the symposium is the Southern Foodways Alliance, an institute of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi. Generous corporations and foundations fund the SFA and our annual Symposium:

Blackberry Farm Taste of the South
Jim ’N Nick’s Bar-B-Q
McIlhenny Company, maker of Tabasco® Brand Products
Order of the Ossabaw

Alabama Tourism Department
Anson Mills
Billy Reid
The Chisholm Foundation
The Cockayne Fund
Lodge Manufacturing
Mountain Valley Spring Water
New South Family Supper
North Carolina Division of Tourism
Order of the Okra
Piggy Bank Dinner Series
Royal Cup Coffee
Stir the Pot Dinner Series
Simmons Farm Raised Catfish
Taqueria del Sol
Virginia Wine Board

Cathead Distillery
Charleston Wine + Food Festival
Fertel Foundation
Fullsteam Brewery
Music to Your Mouth
Order of the Scuppernong
Union Square Hospitality Group
Whole Foods Market
Zingerman’s Community of Businesses

Contributors to our efforts include Caramont Farm, City Grocery Restaurant Group, Fatback Collective, Foggy Ridge Cider, Honey Bee Bakery, Jackalope Brewing, Lyric Theater, and Making Ideas Visible. Also supporting the cause are Media and Documentary Projects at the University of Mississippi, Mississippi Delta Community College Culinary School, Square Books, Winding Wheel Press, and the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council.

The mission of the Southern Foodways Alliance it is to document, study, and celebrate the diverse food cultures of the changing American South. We set a common table where black and white, rich and poor—all who gather—may consider our history and our future in a spirit of reconciliation. Enrollment is open to everyone.

Highlights of the symposium include


THACKER MOUNTAIN RADIO broadcasts a special edible edition live from the Lyric Theater, featuring Natalie Chanin and lots of other hip folks

DINNERS ON AND OFF THE SQUARE, featuring Rebecca Wilcomb, the ladies of La Cocina, and more.

(Dinners are by separate registration. Look for an email in September with details on how to book seats at these dinners. Pricing will be reasonable and availability will be limited.)


REGISTRATION begins at nine in the morning

ROYAL CUP COFFEE and the debut of the 2013 SFA travel mug

FIRST TIME ATTENDEE BLOODY MARY RECEPTION hosted by Blair Hobbs and her husband

TOASTED CORNMEAL POUNDCAKE BREAKFAST baked by Dolester Miles, the pride of Birmingham, Alabama

STATE OF THE NATION: SFA membership meeting, led by board president Sara Roahen


TED OWNBY AND STEPHEN MONROE WELCOME ALL and then retreat from the stage, since this is a weekend when women talk and men listen


COUNTRY CAPTAIN LUNCH presented by the Order of the Okra, cooked by Kerala, India, native Asha Gomez

CAROLINE RANDALL WILLIAMS AND ALICE RANDALL talk cookbook dowries and family histories

YOU CAN TAKE THE WOMAN OUT OF THE SOUTH argues Audrey Petty, but you can’t take the hock out of her pot



WINE AND CHEESE PARTY OF YOUR DREAMS featuring Caromont Farm cheeses, confitures from Lisa White, wines from Virginia, and bathtub drinks by Alba Huerta

EGERTON AWARD PRESENTATION to Cynthia Hayes of the Southeastern African American Farmers Organic Network for achievements in social justice

NEW SFA-PRODUCED JOE YORK DOCUMENTARY honoring the 2013 Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame Award winner, presented by Randy Fertel

THE BEST SCHOOL BUS RIDE EVER eight miles south down a dark country road

SIMMONS FARM RAISED CATFISH SUPPER featuring Debbie Hewlett, mistress of the Taylor Grocery fry basket and salt shaker

REBECCA WILCOMB’S DEGUSTATION OF DELACATA served on the porch with Foggy Ridge cider





REBECCA SHARPLESS GOES BEYOND THE STEREOTYPES to define kitchen life in black and white before the Civil Rights Movement

JAKE ADAM YORK INVOCATION by Natasha Trethewey, US Poet Laureate

TABASCO LUNCHEON featuring Vivian Howard, the North Carolina Tom Thumb champion

TALES FROM THE COUNTER by documentarian Candacy Taylor

CHARLOTTE DRUCKMAN takes us to the back of the house, where women thrive

INTRODUCING THE LARDER the new SFA book with the snazzy subtitle of Food Studies Methods from the American South

LINCOLN-DOUGLAS PIE-CAKE DEBATE featuring scribes Kim Severson and Kat Kinsman

SCRATCH BAKED (AND FRIED) PIES AND CAKES from Lisa Donovan, pastry whisperer


ALBA HUERTA delivers a punch in the mouth


LODGE CAST IRON FRIED CHICKEN FEED with André Prince Jeffries, Sarah O’Kelly, and Kerry Seaton



BENEDICTION by Natasha Trethewey

EDNA LEWIS DINNER THEATRE written by Shay Youngblood

EMANCIPATION DAY DINNER from The Taste of Country Cooking, presented by Dwayne Ingraham, Todd Richards, and Steven Satterfield


Registration opens Monday, July 15, at 1 p.m. EST. Registrants must be SFA members in good standing, and all members will receive the password to buy tickets online via email on July 8. (If you are a current member but have not received this notification of ticket sales, please contact marybeth@southernfoodways.org.)

Please know that SFA has augmented the registration process by selling 2013 Symposium tickets through a vendor with greater capacity to handle SFA traffic. Although we don’t anticipate selling out in 12 minutes like last year, we do encourage guests who plan to attend to submit their registration application as soon as possible.

Tickets, priced at $595 each, include all lectures, meals, and social events. Due to limited capacity, we are unable to sell meal-only tickets. We appreciate your understanding. Also, to be fair to those on the waiting list, tickets are non-transferable and may not be resold by individuals. Refunds, minus a $100 cancellation fee, are available through August 30. If cancellation is necessary after August 30, your ticket fee will be considered a donation to the SFA. An acknowledgment letter may be mailed to you upon request.

Tickets are currently sold out. To have your name added to our waiting list, please email marybeth@southernfoodways.org.


Book your symposium flights to and from Memphis (Tennessee) International Airport. Rental cars from all the major companies are available at the airport. SFA will coordinate a ride share board via email two weeks before the symposium for attendees who wish to coordinate travel to Oxford. Ride share coordination begins September 16.


A block of rooms has been reserved on campus at the Inn at Ole Miss, 234-2331. Blocks have also been reserved at the Hampton Inn (Conference Center), 234-5565, and the Holiday Inn Express, 236-2500. (The Downtown Inn is closed for renovations.) These hotels will begin accepting reservations on July 15, and be sure to tell them that you’re with the Southern Foodways Alliance Attendee reserved block. The area code for all calls is 662. Other accommodations include:

Comfort Inn: 234-6000
Days Inn: 234-9500
Hampton Inn: 232-2442 (West)
Puddin’ Place: 234-1250
Super 8: 234-7013
The 5 Twelve B&B: 234-8043
The Ravine: 234-4555

Weekend condo rentals are also available for groups who may wish to share lodging. You may browse properties online at the following websites:


To find housemates, you may fill out our online form by clicking here. SFA will email the results to all respondents on August 12, so participants may coordinate rental plans.


Menus at SFA events are designed to illustrate our theme and to celebrate the bounty of the Southern larder. Please know that if you have a restricted diet or food allergies, we are unable to prepare or serve meals to accommodate individual needs.

A symposium packet, with detailed schedules, bibliographies, and instructions for the self-coordinated ride share program will be emailed to all confirmed participants two weeks prior to the event.

Dress for the weekend is casual. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes.

First time attendees will be invited to a special welcome reception to meet one another on Friday morning. Details will be shared in August, but–if you’re planning travel as a first-timer–you’ll need to be in Oxford on Friday morning to attend the social.

The Delta Divertissement will not be offered in 2013. Look for a new Delta adventure announcement for 2014.


Tamar Adler, author of An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace recently wrote a critique of “macho food” for the New Yorker.

Natalie Chanin of Florence, Alabama, is the founder and creative director of Alabama Chanin and the author of, most recently, Alabama Studio Sewing + Design.

John Currence of City Grocery Restaurant Group serves on the SFA board of directors. Did you know he just opened an Oxford barbecue joint?

Lisa Donovan, proprietor of the Buttermilk Road Sunday Supper, is pastry chef at the restaurant Husk in Nashville.

Charlotte Druckman, author of Skirt Steak: Women Chefs on Standing the Heat and Staying in the Kitchen, has contributed to the Wall Street Journal and Medium.

Melanie Dunea is a New York City-based photographer and documentarian. Among her books is My Last Supper: 50 Great Chefs and Their Final Meals.

Marcie Ferris, who teaches at the University of North Carolina, will soon publish The Edible South: Food and History in an American Region.

Randy Fertel of New Orleans is president of the Fertel Foundation and the Ruth U. Fertel Foundation. He is author of the memoir The Gorilla Man and the Empress of Steak.

Asha Gomez, a native of Kerala, the southwestern-most state of India, is chef and proprietor of Cardamom Hill in Atlanta.

Cynthia Hayes, director of the Southeastern African American Farmers Organic Network in Savannah, works with African American farmers to achieve organic certification.

Debbie Hewlett is co-proprietor of Taylor Grocery, arguably the South’s most fabled catfish house. Her husband Lyn is a mean whittler.

Blair Hobbs, a lecturer in the English department at the University of Mississippi, teaches poetry and paints. She’s now at work on a show, The Tragedy of Flowers.

Vivian Howard is chef and co-proprietor of the Chef and the Farmer in Kinston, North Carolina. Her television show, A Chef’s Life, will debut on PBS this fall.

Alba Huerta of Houston is general manager of Anvil and proprietor of Julep, a Southern-focused bar that should open about the time you read this.

Dwyane Ingraham, pastry chef for the City Grocery Restaurant Group in Oxford, was recently profiled in Gravy, the SFA’s journal.

André Prince Jeffries is matriarch of Prince’s Hot Chicken in Nashville. Earlier this year she received an America’s Classic award from the James Beard Foundation.

Kat Kinsman, a native of Kentucky, is the managing editor of CNN’s Eatocracy and a television commentator who says smart things.

La Cocina, a San Francisco non-profit, mentors low-income and immigrant women entrepreneurs to start and grow food businesses.

Dolester Miles, a native of Bessemer, Alabama, has served as pastry chef at Highlands Bar and Grill, and later, Bottega, both in Birmingham, for more than 30 years.

Stephen Monroe is assistant dean of the University of Mississippi’s College of Liberal Arts, home of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture and the SFA.

Sarah O’Kelley, co-owner of the Glass onion in Charleston, recently studied technique and spicing with Martha Lou Gadsden, the fabled South Carolina fried chicken cook.

Ted Ownby, director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, is coeditor of The Larder, part of the UGA Press series, Southern Foodways Alliance Studies in Culture, People, and Place.

Audrey Petty, who teaches at the University of Illinois, is the editor of High Rise Stories: Voices from Chicago Public Housing, published this fall.

Todd Richards, chef at the Shed at Glenwood in Atlanta, recently battled on Iron Chef. Try his collard green and cornbread homage to Edna Lewis.

Sara Roahen of New Orleans writes, collects oral histories, and serves as president of the SFA’s board of directors. She is the author of Gumbo Tales.

Diane Roberts, who teaches at Florida State University, contributes to the Guardian and has written four books, including Dream State, a political history of Florida.

Steven Satterfield, chef and co-proprietor of Miller Union in Atlanta, was a 2013 James Beard Award finalist for Best Chef: Southeast.

Kim Severson, Atlanta bureau chief for the New York Times, is the author of Spoon Fed: How Eight Cooks Saved My Life, and co-author of Cook Fight.

Kerry Seaton-Stewart owns and operates Willie Mae’s Scotch House, the New Orleans citadel of fried chicken.

Rebecca Sharpless, author of Cooking in Other Women’s Kitchens: Domestic Workers in the South, 1865-1960, teaches history at Texas Christian University.

Candacy Taylor, author of the book Counter Culture: The American Coffee Shop Waitress, is at work on a new project, Beauty Shop Culture.

Natasha Trethewey, a native of the Gulfport, Mississippi, teaches at Emory University. A Pulitzer Prize winner, and the author of Native Guard, she serves as US Poet Laureate.

Emily Wallace is a writer, illustrator, and pimento cheese scholar. She writes for Raleigh-Durham’s Independent Weekly and has contributed to The Oxford American.

Lisa White, who worked as a Red Cross volunteer after Hurricane Katrina, is the pastry chef at Domenica in New Orleans.

Rebecca Wilcomb has served as chef de cuisine at Herbsaint in New Orleans since 2011. Try her Louisiana shrimp with Calasparra rice.

Caroline Randall Williams, a graduate of the University of Mississippi MFA program, is the daughter of Alice Randall, the Nashville-based author of The Wind Done Gone.

Virginia Willis, author of Bon Appétit, Y’all! Recipes and Stories from Three Generations of Southern Cooking, began her career on Nathalie Dupree’s PBS show.

Shay Youngblood, a former Grisham Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi, is author of the plays Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery and Talking Bones.

Joe York has directed more than thirty-five short foodways documentaries. Look for Pride and Joy, his SFA feature, on public television stations this fall.