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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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Ronni Lundy

Born in Corbin, Kentucky, Ronni Lundy grew up in Louisville well aware that her mountain roots made for a distinctive upbringing. After graduating from college and living for a spell out West, Lundy returned home and worked as a journalist for the Louisville Times, covering the new American and international roots music scenes. That led to her first cookbook, Shuck Beans, Stack Cakes, and Honest Fried Chicken (1991), a compendium of Southern recipes with contributions from country musicians. Her second book, Butter Beans to Blackberries (1999), captures the bountiful Southern garden. These first two books celebrated Appalachian life, according to Lundy.

For her most recent, Victuals (2016), she wanted to understand the region’s “darkness.” Honest and insightful—not to mention the winner of two James Beard Awards—Victuals quickly joined the pantheon of American cookbooks. Ronni Lundy’s work uncovers not just the contradictions inherent in the Appalachian regions but of the South and the entire nation.

Date of interview:

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.


Alex Raij Txikito

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