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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

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Meredith McMillan

Merry Cheese Crisps

Meredith McMillan was born in 1972 and raised in Alexander City, Alabama. From an early age, McMillan watched her mother and grandmother cook. Her paternal grandmother was a prolific baker, often experimenting with recipes. McMillan’s father was an executive at a local textile mill, and her mother often cooked meals for visiting clients. After she graduated from high school and college, McMillan moved to Birmingham, Alabama. McMillan would make cheese crisps to give as holiday gifts for friends and family. The crisps are a round, smaller version of a cheese straw.

While in Birmingham, she worked for a floral designer. Her employer loved her cheese crisps and asked McMillan if she would make some to give as gifts for her business. In 2013, McMillan began selling her cheese crisps by word of mouth at farmers’ markets. She expanded her operation, renting kitchen space in order to sell her baked goods in local stores. By 2015, she opened her own facility. She hired a baker and packers to help her process orders. McMillan sold her cheese crisps in stores regionally and online.

Date of interview:

Annemarie Anderson

Beth Hontzas

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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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