Foodie Friday: Southern Food as a Cultural Lens in The Potlikker Papers

What does the food we eat teach us about who we are? Many people develop fierce loyalty to their regional cuisine—and much more when there is a rich history of personal stories in the surrounding community. Those foods—and those stories—were the focus of this year’s Nashville Reads selection at our award-winning public library and the insightful events related to John T. Edge’s The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South.

It’s a take on food culture that has garnered national attention—from literary types and foodies alike. NPR’s food column The Salt featured Edge’s latest work, quoting his often-overlooked inspiration—the ordinary people behind Southern food:

In his new book, The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South, Edge attempts to pay down what he calls “a debt of pleasure to those farmers and cooks who came before me, many of whom have been lost to history.”

“These were women, these were often times people of color who didn’t get the respect they definitely earned,” Edge says. “And in paying down that debt of pleasure, I hope to bring their lives into relief and make explicit the ways in which, if you want to dig into Southern food, you’re explicitly digging into issues of race, class, gender, ethnicity.”

What do you think about the power of food to showcase our stories as families, communities, and individuals?

Celebrate the people as well as the plate this weekend. Happy Foodie Friday!


And, of course, for something a little weird…

Whether a snack of peanuts and Coke or a neon-colored Kool-Aid pickle, the South has its share of strange food items. Check out this list from Southern Living to learn about some odd Southern signatures.

Posted in: Books, Food and Drink, Food Trends, Foodie Friday

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