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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.

ORAL HISTORY

Martha Foose


Martha Foose grew up in Yazoo City, where the Mississippi Hill Country meets the Mississippi Delta. She fell in love with cookbooks while working in the upstairs café at Oxford’s Square Books. From there, she cooked her way across the country. Foose worked in Aspen, Colorado; Burlington, Vermont; and La Brea Bakery in Los Angeles before attending École Lenôtre baking school in Paris, France.  She returned to Oxford, Mississippi, and opened Bottle Tree Bakery. Afterwards, she worked for Susan Spicer in New Orleans. Foose eventually landed in Minneapolis, writing recipes for the Pillsbury publishing department. Finally returning to Mississippi, she published her first cookbook in 2008, the James Beard Award-winning Screen Doors and Sweet Tea. That and her second book, A Southerly Course (2011), helped establish Foose as one of the Mississippi Delta’s premier food writers. She has since co-written cookbooks for Southern India-meets-the American South chef Asha Gomez and country music star Kimberly Schlapman. Her next book, A Good Meal is Hard to Find: Storied Recipes from the Deep South, explores the lives of fictionalized characters through food and art. For Foose, recipes, like fiction, are just another form of storytelling.

Date of interview:
2018-04-21

Interviewer:
Rien Fertel

Photographer:
Rien Fertel

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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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