Project introduction by John Hunter Allgood, University of Mississippi student. [Part of a paper written for a documentary fieldwork class in cooperation with the Southern Foodways Alliance.]

Greek life at University of Mississippi is a pretty big deal. A large percentage of the student body is involved in the sororities and fraternities on campus. Many of those guys and girls live at the houses, and many of them live elsewhere; but they all have one thing in common: they all eat at their house. Hundreds of students are moving through the breakfast, lunch and supper lines every day, and that means a lot of food to cook. Behind every food line stands the men and women that slice, dice, and sweat every day to ensure the well-being and satisfaction of a bunch of hungry college kids with some ferocious appetites.

Some of the men and women have been working the same houses for generations, some have followed their mothers and grandmothers into their profession, and some now have family of their own working with them. But, the relations go beyond individual houses. One house is tied to the other with friendships grown out of years of trading stories and jokes, helping one or the other, sharing ideas and recipes, and simply being there together. There is a distinct feeling of family among these [men and] women, and there is a lot to learn from them.

TAGS: Mississippi, service industry, race, Fraternity and Sorority House Cooks, Alpha Omicron Pi: Laura "Mama" Reid House Mother, Fairy Bell Hewlett Retired Cook, Kappa Alpha Fraternity: Patricia Brown Cook, Kappa Alpha Fraternity: Ruth Miller House Mother, Kappa Sigma Fraternity: Jean Foster Cook, Kappa Sigma Fraternity: Johnny Brown Cook, Kappa Sigma Fraternity: Sarah Frison, Sigma Chi Fraternity: Mechille Ivy Cook, Sigma Chi Fraternity: Wilmette Booker Cook, Sigma Nu Fraternity: Ethel Lockhart Head Cook, Sigma Nu Fraternity: Sandra Petties Cook, Sigma Nu House: Georgia Wise House Mother, Sorority House Cook: Mary Alice Lewis, Sorority House Cook: Ollie Vaughn Retired, Sorority House Cook: Verlean Caruthers Retired House Cook, Treber Kappa Alpha: Treber McGuirt, collegiate life