Music and Food: Exploring Independent Cultural Expressions
October 30-November 1, 2009

The twelfth Southern Foodways Symposium was held October 30—November 1, 2009, in and around the town of Oxford and on the campus of the University of Mississippi. The Delta Divertissement, now in its seventh year, was October 29—30 in nearby Greenwood and Indianola. Both events explored music and food as intertwined evocations of Southern peoples and places.

Over the course of four days of lectures and performances, as well as breakfasts, dinners, and suppers, we unlocked the key to what Memphis Minnie really meant when she sang, “I’m selling my pork chops/But I’m giving my gravy away.” New Orleans got its due, by way of red beans and rice and jazz. So did Texas blues. And Tennessee country. And hip hop from the ATL. We staged a ballet and a goat roast. We fed on deep-fried catish and slow-simmered greens. We traveled down to the crossroads where food and music meet, and we sketched the ways in which these cultural expressions are complementary.