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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.


James and Evelyn Tamplin

Ninety-one year old James Tamplin and his wife, Evelyn, vividly recall growing up in the rural South during the Great Depression and the rationing of food and other necessities during World War II. Mr. Tamplin spent his youth in Georgia cities like Cedartown and Rome, while Evelyn remained in Centre, Alabama until she married and began teaching. Mrs. Tamplin began her teaching career in the field of Home Economics, a genre she admits had little demand at the time. Ironically Mrs. Tamplin’s experience in getting her Home Economics degree was the first time she had ever attempted to cook, her mother had always insisted she handle the family meals. Just as her mother was well known around the community for her tea cakes and fried pies years ago, Evelyn Tamplin’s unique recipes have led her to be dubbed the “muffin lady” around Carrollton, and “Betty Crocker” by her friends in Florida. Mrs. Tamplin’s Christmas Lizzies are a popular holiday treat and though convenience and health concerns have led her to use modern pre-packaged goods in some of her recipes, Evelyn fondly recalls the days when farm-fresh ingredients were available.

Date of interview:
2002-02-25 00:00

Deirdre Haywood-Rouse


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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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