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Oral Histories

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Marie Rudisill

Born in Alabama, Marie Rudisill is the author of eight books, including Sook’s Cookbook and Fruitcake: Memories of Truman Capote & Sook. She was aunt to novelist Truman Capote and helped to raise him. He lived with her, both in Monroeville, Alabama, and New York City. Rudisill currently resides in Florida.

The book Fruitcake: Memories of Truman Capote & Sook led to a Tonight Show invitation in December 2000. During her first visit, Rudisill taught Jay Leno and Mel Gibson to bake fruitcakes. She now appears regularly on the show, dispensing advice and holding forth as The Fruitcake Lady.

Rudisill was an early and insistent champion of Southern foodways. She is a stickler for details, a font of knowledge about heritage foods, and a voice of generations past. In 2001, the Southern Foodways Alliance celebrated her contributions by awarding her the Craig Claiborne Lifetime Achievement Award.

Marie Rudisill passed away on November 3, 2006.

Date of interview:
2005-11-01 00:00

John T. Edge, SFA Founding Director


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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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