From Library Journal
After literature (William Faulkner) and music (Elvis Presley), the South's greatest contribution to American culture has been its food: Smithfield ham, grits, gumbo, pecan pie, bourbon, and other delectables. "Our dishes and beverages express our faith, our good humor, our binding ties, our eternal joys and sorrows, our readiness for whatever awaits us," writes editor Egerton (Southern Food: At Home, on the Road, in History). In conjunction with the Southern Foodways Alliance, this first volume in a planned annual anthology gathers 50 previously published articles, essays, scholarly papers, and poems that celebrate the diverse foods and culinary traditions of the South. Food writer James Villas fondly remembers Craig Claiborne. Humorist Roy Blount shares his collection of Southern food songs ("Fried Chicken and Gasoline" is a fave), while Fred Chappell offers a contrarian's view on iced tea. One of the best pieces is journalist Jack Hitt's "A Confederacy of Sauces" about a fraternal feud involving barbecue, the Civil War, and race. Not all the selections are of the same high quality a few read like a Southern Living puff piece but this is still a tasty collection. Don't read it on an empty stomach. For regional cookery and Southern studies collections. Wilda Williams, "Library Journal"
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
First of a proposed annual series, this anthology of essays about southern cooking grew out of Oxford, Mississippi's Southern Foodways Symposium. Arguably America's first regional cuisine, southern cooking has taken a dominant position recently with the ascendancy of New Orleans flavors under the leadership of celebrity chefs such as Emeril Lagasse. Some trace southern cooking's hegemony back to the arrival of Mississippi native Craig Claiborne at the New York Times
. The volume's more scholarly essays dwell on fascinating minutiae, such as distinctions among various greens from different parts of the South. Others trace the origins and influence of leading proponents of Southern cooking, such as Edna Lewis and Leah Chase. James Villas' essay on Craig Claiborne does much to uncover the real man behind the urbane facade. Some entries document the vital culinary contributions of African Americans. Regional collections will want to add each volume of the series when published. Mark KnoblauchCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved