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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to annemarie@southernfoodways.org.

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Edna Lewis

Edna Lewis was born in 1916 in the African American community of Freetown, Virginia, near Charlottesville. Raised in a family that grew and prepared all of its own food, Lewis devoted much her life to cooking the simple, Southern cuisine that she loved. Her work took her from New York to Atlanta and many points in between. As the cook at Cafe Nicholson in New York, she served many fellow expat Southerners, including William Faulkner and Truman Capote. Later in life she authored several cookbooks, the most famous of which was The Taste of Country Cooking, first published in 1989. She spent her last years in Atlanta with the chef Scott Peacock, and they collaborated on Lewis’s last book, The Gift of Southern Cooking, published in 2003.

Edna Lewis passed away in 2006.

Date of interview:
2012-05-04 00:00

Kim Severson


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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


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