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.
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.
On August 11, 2006, the SFA awarded Guardian of the Tradition Awards to Andre Jeffries, E. W. Mayo, David Swett, and Hap Townes. And, of course, we collected their stories.
It is only by cartography, law, and convention that Alabama is a state. From within, it reads like a perverse anthology in which the Appalachians give us a taste of the Carolinas, the Tennessee River guides a northern influence, the pine barrens continue the work of Georgia, the Black Belt gestures toward Mississippi, the coast combines Florida and Mississippi, and the Wiregrass gives you a sense of another world entirely.
The Southern Foodways Alliance is collaborating with, among other entities, the Ruth U. Fertel Foundation and the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, on The Gulf Coast Foodways Renaissance Project. This initiative chronicles the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the foodways of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, while concurrently tracking the rebirth of the New Orleans restaurant industry. The interviews featured here are from the first phase of the project.
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.
In the fall of 2004, through generous support from Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q of Birmingham, Alabama, 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.
In Kentucky, curing bacon and hams has been a necessity of life for generations. In more recent years, this tradition has been in retreat. Some blame onerous government regulations. Others see urbanization as the culprit. Others still ponder our region’s evolving food habits.
Doe’s Eat Place Located in Greenville on Nelson Street, this family-owned and operated restaurant is a cultural and culinary icon of the Mississippi Delta. Doe’s Eat Place tells the complicated story of Italian immigration, Delta foodways, and Mississippi social history.