The Gulf South – Tracing the Arc of Eats from Texas to Florida
October 19-22, 2006

The ninth annual Southern Foodways Symposium explored the Gulf South, racing an arc of eats from Texas through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.

We dug deep into the subject of regionalism. With the coast as our backdrop, we pondered where the South gives way to the Caribbean. We studied wetland loss and projected the future of the Cajun Coast. Ethnicity came into play, too. We examined the lives of Cubans in Ybor City, Florida, and the Vietnamese in Biloxi, Mississippi. And we heard from Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Tretheway about the African American rituals and traditions of her youth. We learned the provenance of gazpachi salad, the pressed poor boy, and West Indies salad. In short, we covered the waterfront, to render the Gulf a feast of words and foods. SFA screenedWorking the Miles.

We, of course, ate well. Green gumbo from Leah Chase of New Orleans. Banh Mi, known to some as Vietnamese Po’Boys, too. Breakfast casseroles of oysters and eggs. Biscuits slathered with farm-churned butter. Lunch was a tribute to Eugene Walter, the man John Egerton called “the once and future king of Southern cookery writers.” There were snacks of bacon peanut brittle, nibbles of sweet potato-blanketed catfish, and sips of sparkling wine and Lynchburg lemonade.