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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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Sheri Castle

Born in Watauga County, North Carolina, high in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Sheri Castle grew up a voracious reader, especially of cookbooks. She wrote her first recipe—for a smoothie she named the Hawaiian Tropic Sunset Delight—at the age of four, and submitted it to a local housekeeping television show. At thirteen, she worked her way through the Joy of Cooking. Years later, Castle won Southern Living’s first annual holiday recipe contest.

A completely self-taught cook, she started doing recipe development and ghostwriting cookbooks for numerous chefs across the nation. After nearly a decade writing in the voice of others, Castle published her own book, The New Southern Garden, in 2011. She is recognized industry-wide for her palate, the reliability of her recipes, and for being an eleventh-hour “fixer” for struggling cookbooks and restaurant kitchens. Castle continues to prolifically publish books, recipes, and essays under her own name, for brands including Southern Living and Le Creuset, and as a ghostwriter.

Date of interview:

Rien Fertel

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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