The Myth of Cornbread Fingerprints

In part two of her recent Gravy series, Tanya Peres demonstrates how “in the nineteenth-century rural South, sharecroppers grew [corn], sold it, ate it, and became sick—all because of a lost recipe.”

Attempts to curb the pellagra epidemic eventually connected the disease to a diet based predominantly on cornmeal. Many Southerners, though, ardently defended the staple food.

At our 2016 fall symposium, Mark Essig dissects this cornbread controversy and the myth of the common Southern table.