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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

< Back to Oral History project: Faith and Foodways in Alabama


Norma Ajlouny

St. George Melkite Greek-Catholic Church

Norma Ajlouny, born in 1953, grew up in the Southside neighborhood of Birmingham, Alabama. As a child she attended St. Elias Catholic Church with her family. Her mother was the cook in the family. Often extended family gathered at their house to make baklawa and kibbee and enjoy meals together.

Ajlouny married her high school sweetheart Naseem Ajlouny in 1974. They began attending St. George’s Melkite Greek Catholic Church. Her husband went into the grocery store business, and they are owners of thirteen Piggly-Wiggly stores in the Birmingham area. When another member of the St. George congregation had the idea to start the Middle Eastern Food Festival, she came to Ajlouny to ask her to co-chair it. She has been in charge of ordering all the food for the festival since it began in 1981.

Date of interview:

Michelle Little

Cary Norton

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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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