More Oral Histories

Sort Histories By:
Yee Foodland building: Chinese Grocers

Chinese Grocers

Chinese came to America in the late nineteenth century in search of the fabled Gam Sahn or Golden Mountain. When they arrived to the alluvial plains of the Mississippi Delta all they found was back-breaking agricultural work.

Delta Lebanese

The first wave of Middle Eastern immigrants to the Mississippi Delta began in the 1880s and continued through the 1920s. They came from the Mount Lebanon region of Syria, looking to escape religious and political persecution and make better lives for their families in America.

Atlanta's Buford Highway

Atlanta’s Buford Highway

The Buford Highway Oral History Project explores a myriad of ethnic cuisines dotting old Atlanta Highway 13, stretching some thirty miles from interior Atlanta out to suburban Buford, Georgia. Whereas many major cities are divided into various and distinct ethnic neighborhoods (Chinatown, Little Italy, etc), the Buford Highway international corridor is jam-packed with strip malls featuring native cuisines of Atlanta’s varied immigrant population, one next door to another.

Mississippi State Icon

Mississippi BBQ

Community barbecues have a long tradition in the state and may be more central to the history of Mississippi barbecue than commercial places.

Georgia State Icon

Georgia BBQ

Introduction by John T. Edge “Get ten people together, and where the Irish would start a fight, Georgians will start a barbecue.” That quote, from a 1954 Saturday Evening Post article, lacks political correctness, but it packs a wallop. Rufus Jarmon, the author, drove home his point by quoting a nineteenth century observer: “The barbecue … Continued

Arkansas State Icon

Arkansas BBQ

When Wayne Shadden, a famed barbecue cook from the Arkansas Delta, died in May 2010, his obituary in The Daily World at Helena told us a lot in just a few words about the Arkansas barbecue culture. It read: “Wayne was a good cook and well-known for his barbecue. He was a Navy veteran, a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.”

Carter Family Fold

In 1927, A. P. Carter, his wife Sara, and Sara’s cousin Maybelle, who happened to be married to A. P.’s brother, made the thirty-mile trek from their home in Hiltons, Virginia, to Bristol, Tennessee, to record a few songs.

Kentucky State Icon

Kentucky BBQ

Kentuckians have barbecued on a grand scale since our land became a state in 1792, and that tradition continues today with such massive events as the annual political picnic at Fancy Farm.

Biloxi's Ethnic Shrimping Ccmmunities

Biloxi’s Ethnic Shrimping Communities

After another line-out-the-door lunchtime rush of Hurricane Katrina relief workers at Le Bakery Café, her little bakery and Vietnamese po-boy shop, Sue Nguyen turned to me and said, “I wish you could’ve seen Biloxi before.” By “before,” of course, she meant before the storm. But the history and the stories of this place run far … Continued

Trails & Regional Projects

Southern BBQ Trail - SFA Documentary

Southern BBQ Trail

Barbecue, barbeque, bar-b-q, BBQ: there are almost as many spellings as there are kinds of barbecue, as if the proliferation of words could express the mastering tastes and aromas of the food, all the experiences that can fill the mouth, the place where also words begin.

Southern Gumbo Trail a Documentary from Southern Foodways Alliance

Southern Gumbo Trail

Gumbo. So many versions, so many cooks, so many contradictions. Such as: Only use a roux with poultry, filé with seafood. Use okra in the summer, filé in the winter. You have to have a chaurice in your gumbo. You must use andouille.

Southern Boudin Trail

Food is a tie that binds, a constant, an equalizer, or in the words of James Beard: “Food is our common ground, a universal experience.” Food can also function as one of the defining characteristics of regional and cultural identity. Boudin, a unique but simple culinary concoction of pork, rice, onions and various other herbs and spices squeezed in to a sausage casing and served hot, is one of those foods.

Hot Tamale Trail

Hot Tamale Trail

Better known for its association with cotton and catfish, the Mississippi Delta has a fascinating relationship with the tamale. In restaurants, on street corners, and in kitchens throughout the Delta, this very old and time-consuming culinary tradition is vibrant.

SFA Founders Oral History Project

In the fall of 2004 the SFA launched its Founders Oral History Project. This important undertaking will forever preserve the history of the SFA through interviews with the organization’s fifty founding members.