Kelly Alexander is a writer and an anthropologist based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. For many years she was an editor at Saveur magazine, where she won a James Beard Journalism award for her magazine writing. Prior to joining Saveur, Alexander worked as an editor at Food & Wine. Her essays and articles have appeared in the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, O: The Oprah Magazine, Newsweek, and many other publications. She has written a number of cookbooks, including the New York Times bestseller Smokin’ with Myron Mixon, now in its tenth printing. Alexander has been a regular contributor on the subject of food to NPR programs across the country. She is a PhD candidate in anthropology at Duke, and a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
An installment in our weekly series, The By and By.
Speculation is delicious. Meditating on half of a cake, pondering its varieties and iterations, contemplating its value as an edible commodity and a social comestible . . . that is pure pleasure. An answer is satisfying, but speculation is limitless.
I came to Replacements, Ltd. to see the huge collection of Fiestaware, the beloved American-made brand of colorful china, and to follow a hunch I had that a plate has special significance in the South. This was both an ethnographic mission for my work as a cultural anthropologist and a personal quest: I am one of countless Americans who collect Fiestaware.