“She was a genius, I’ve come to recognize, at recasting defeats as glorious spectacles. Faced with small-town ignorance, fearful of what small-town boredom might wrest from her, she did her best to divert and subvert. Looking back, I see my best self in her flagrancy. And I glimpse what my worst self might have nurtured, had the darker times in Clinton defined my life.”
—John T. Edge, “My Mother’s Catfish Stew”
John T. Edge, the director of the Southern Foodways Alliance and author of The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South, has served as an Oxford American food columnist since 1997; under the shingle “Local Fare,” he interrogates trends, profiles innovative figures, and upends assumptions (sometimes his own previous assumptions) with passion, style, and intelligence.
For this video, filmmaker Ethan Payne interviewed John T. Edge about his childhood in Georgia, preparing to send his son to college, and his mother’s catfish stew.