“A veritable feast of good writing and original thinking . . . Like the well-made meal, it’s carefully sequenced to document tradition as well as innovation, history as well as the surprisingly new.”
—Tom Rankin, director of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University
The hungrily awaited sixth volume in the Cornbread Nation series tells the story of the American South—circa now—through the prism of its food and the people who grow, make, serve, and eat it. The modern South serves up a groaning board of international cuisines virtually unknown to previous generations of Southerners, notes Brett Anderson in his introduction. Southern food, like the increasingly globalized South, shows an open and cosmopolitan attitude toward ethnic diversity. But fully appreciating Southern food still requires fluency with the region's history, warts and all. The essays, memoirs, poetry, and profiles in this book are informed by that fluency, revealing topics and people traditional as well as avant garde, down home as well as urbane.
The book is organized into six chapters: "Menu Items" shares ruminations on iconic dishes; "Messing with Mother Nature" looks at the relationship between food and the natural environment; "Southern Characters" profiles an eclectic mix of food notables; "Southern Drinkways" distills libations, hard and soft; "Identity in Motion" examines change in the Southern food world; and "The Global South" leaves readers with some final thoughts on the cross-cultural influences wafting from the Southern kitchen. Gathered here are enough prominent food writers to muster the liveliest of dinner parties: Molly O'Neill, Calvin Trillin, Michael Pollan, Kim Severson, Martha Foose, Jessica Harris, Bill Addison, Matt and Ted Lee, and Lolis Eric Elie, among others. Two classic pieces—Frederick Douglass's account of the sustenance of slaves and Edward Behr's 1995 profile of Cajun cook Eula Mae Doré—are included. A photo essay on the Collins Oyster Company family of Louisiana rounds out Cornbread Nation 6.
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