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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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Stefan Neumann

Brooks Meats

Born and raised in Neunkirchern in Saarland, Germany, curing meat was an inherent part of Stefan Neumann’s culture. “Those traditions always intrigued me,” he says. His father, Guenther, a coal miner, and his mother, Luise ran a restaurant called Marien Schenke. They slaughtered and cured meats for the restaurant in the basement, making salami, bacon, and ham. Stefan, the youngest of six brothers, helped his parents with their restaurant, but decided running a restaurant wasn’t for him (“I would like to have one day off.”). Stefan went through a six-year apprenticeship at an institute called Muskalla in Heidelberg to train as a master sausage maker (fleischermeister). He worked in his native country for a few years, then moved to Cameroon to opened a butcher shop in Yaounde. He settled in Kentucky in 1998, moving to Florence in a region of Northern Kentucky with a large German community. For the past seven years, Stefan’s worked as the production manager and master sausage maker at Brooks Meats in Walton. Among his many creations: more than 40 different kinds of sausage, Kentucky country ham, and traditional German Black Forest ham.

Date of interview:

Sara Wood

Sara Wood

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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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