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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.


Patricia Brown, Cook

I really got started cooking oh god, years and years ago I guess when I was just a little girl. My grandmother–I used to watch her cook. I think I started out going with her to the camp, the old camp out there on–camp meetings; they used to have camp meetings, a religious you know thing and she used to cook and I used to go out with her and cook. They didn’t have any running water; they had a woodstove and they–so you had to tote your water and you know cook on the woodstove, and I really–it was exciting to me. I loved it. And after my mother–grandmother got old, she couldn’t do it much so my mother started–started going, you know working at the camp. And I–when I got I guess about 15–16 years old I started working out there. But they had–somehow just had gotten indoor plumbing, but a lot of them didn’t have it, so we still would work it, you know with–without the running water and without the plumbing and without the stove, you know the electrical stoves, so…. And from that point on I just–I don’t know; I just like cooking. I’ve always you know–and today I still, you know I–my mother is deceased. She’s been deceased for two years and about three years now, and my sisters and brothers; they still expect that southern home-cooked meal every Sunday. And thank god I’m able to do that; so I feed my siblings every Sunday. –Patricia Brown

Date of interview:

Mary Beth Lasseter


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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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