If Appalachian cuisine could speak, I think it’d sound like my grandmother: loving but no-nonsense, pleased but bemused by your enthusiasm over the meal she’s just made from little more than dried beans and a tin of flour.
Join the Southern Foodways Alliance on a romp through our home state of Mississippi (and the birthplace of the OA). We'll take you from the Delta to the state capital to the Gulf Coast. While you're here, enjoy the foods that draw hungry travelers from far and wide, as well as the community treasures that fly under the radar.
As this request wells up from within me, it feels at once ancestral and strange. I don’t really eat fried chicken, certainly not store- or restaurant-bought fried chicken. I live in California, for heaven’s sake. I live in Berkeley. But frying a chicken seems like an ancestral art, like knowing how to make a pie crust or a green tomato chutney, both of which I pride myself on knowing how to do. Here in my great-aunt’s house, here in Greensboro, I want to heed my grandmother’s injunction.
If Lewis could go unnamed in a picture that foretold the promise of America in the postwar era, I figured that image might serve as a metaphor for the lesser role Americans have long ascribed to African-American contributions to the culinary arts. Telling that story might be a way for me to pay down the debts of pleasure, both culinary and other, that a privileged white son of the South like me has accrued over a lifetime.