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Southern Belly: A Food Lover's Companion [Kindle Edition]

John T. Edge
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

John T. Edge, "the Faulkner of Southern food" (the Miami Herald), reveals a South hidden in plain sight, where restaurants boast family pedigrees and serve supremely local specialties found nowhere else. From backdoor home kitchens to cinder-block cafés, he introduces you to cooks who have been standing tall by the stove since Eisenhower was in office. While revealing the stories behind their food, he shines a bright light on places that have become Southern institutions.

In this fully updated and expanded edition, with recipes throughout, Edge travels from chicken shack to fish camp, from barbecue stand to pie shed. Pop this handy paperback in the glove box to take along on your next road trip. And even if you never get in the car, you'll enjoy the most savory history that the South has to offer.

Editorial Reviews


"To be in the company of a mind this curious is a pleasure."
The New York Times Book Review (New York Times Book Review )

"With a sensibility rooted in both research and rock'n'roll, [John T. Edge] has made throwbacks to standbys like catfish and collards and fried pimento cheese hip."
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta Journal Constitution )

"Sit back and travel with accomplished food writer Edge as he presents some of the best and most unique restaurants the South has to offer. . . .Without a doubt, Edge demonstrates just how much food is woven into the fabric of the South. This book will score high."
Library Journal (Library Journal )

"Edge is a man on a mission, a mission to preserve and celebrate two of America's greatest cultural gems: the food and the food lore of the South. . . . Southern Belly is the apotheosis of Edge's great passions for Southern food and Southern people. The book is filled with pictures, drawings, maps, stories, recipes and--most important--a carefully culled selection of Southern restaurants that serve what Edge calls 'honest food.' He is a spirited guide . . . What he does best: uncover another unsung gastronomical treasure with a surprising, uniquely Southern story." ( )

"The book blends history, culture and good eating, with visits to more than 200 restaurants."--Atlanta Journal Constitution (Atlanta Journal Constitution )


"I want to keep Southern Belly around for reference and re-reading. That's why I keep fighting off the urge to eat it."—Roy Blount Jr.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3595 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books (June 29, 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #474,223 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top of the Southern food chain! September 15, 2000
If you eat, you're gonna want a few copies of this book. One for the house, one for the glove box, and you probably know a couple people who would just love to find a copy under the tree come Christmas.
As director of the Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi, John T. Edge knows his subject. But while his knowledge of Southern foodlore is impressively deep and wide, don't think for a minute that this is a scholarly tome filled with academic jargon and lofty observations--nothing like it. In pursuit of his quest, John T. is not a man afraid of getting his hands dirty. Or his elbows. Or his shirt front, when you get down to it.
A native Southerner, John T. Edge stands firm and proud in the face of the Macdonalds and Burger Kings goosestepping through the heart of Dixie. The moral fire of his paean to butter pats offers up testimony to his eye for detail and the purity of his vision. "I fell in love with the Waysider soon after I reached for a pat of butter to slather on one of those thin tiles of coarse cornbread they serve hereabouts. Miracle of miracles, it was just that: a pat of butter, a lemony yellow square of salted, churned cream, sandwiched between a white cardboard base and a thin slip of wax paper. These days most restaurants stock little plastic tubs of margarine emblazoned with names that read like false promises: Country Crock, Farm Churn, and I Can't Believe It's not Butter."
John T. gets beyond the barbeque and biscuits reportage of the food magazine writers who figure if they've eaten a slaw dog at the Varsity they've done their slumming in the South. I bet you don't know what a scuppernong or Tabasco mash is. He does. He ain't too proud to eat a pig ear sandwich.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The burnt ends of food books July 16, 2001
Southern Belly is to food books what "burnt ends" are to barbecue: chewy, smoky, tender and tasty. John T. Edge understands that food = culture, and he captures the sum of that equation with efficient writing, colorful storytelling, and an obvious affection for his subject matter. It's a nifty travel book that would serve quite nicely as a guide to The South. And it's a well-researched antropological study that traces the history and status of the region's culinary traditions. But mostly it's a love story.
If you love food, if you love America, and especially if you love American food, you'll love Southern Belly.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Food Lover's Companion to the South August 30, 2000
One of those books you'll want two copies of, one for the kitchen and one for the car. John T. Edge's Southern Belly is indeed the Ultimate Food Lover's Companion to the South. The book combines insightful dining guides to the individual Southern States plus sidebars on tamales in the Delta, New Orleans po' boys, fish camps, and the birthplace of Kentucky Fried Chicken, to name just a few. Edge knows what he's talking about. He's the director of the Southern Foodways Symposium (sort of the heavy-weight championship bout of Southern food) and is author of the equally recommended A Gracious Plenty. Plan on getting this book good and greasy.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not A Cook Book; It's A Fabulous Food Book December 9, 2000
By A Customer
Anyone searching for cook books should be fascinated with John T.'s food documentary The Southern Belly. If you love the Southern food traditions you'll devour every page and be inclined to jump in your car to search out the source of the marvelous food he describes. Want Southern recipes? Buy Emeril or Justin Wilson. Want to learn more about how food shapes a culture? Read The Southern Belly. You'll savor every delicious word.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just a southern Road Food June 26, 2002
By A Customer
Hunger is never a simple matter in the South and unlike other road food books, this one is not only concerned with what's on the plate, but also with the how and why and by-whose-grace it got there. Yes, you'll find out what you need to know about (and where to get a great taste of) Kentucky beer cheese, Big Bob Gibson coconut pie and great barbecue in Birmingham. But you'll also meet the people who make and eat this food, and learn the history -- some bitter, some sweet -- that lies enticingly behind it. The ability to notice and relate social/political/spirtual undercurrents behing the food of the South is what makes John T. Edge and Southern Belly such great companions both for the road or simply dreaming about it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential for any trip to the south!!! October 24, 2009
By Peter D
John T has created the essential road trip guide to the South. With this book on the passenger seat, I went to almost all the places mentioned in Tennessee, N.C., and S.C. I have given this book to almost everyone I know. A great read even if you aren't planning a trip to the riches food culture area in the America. I have the first two editions, and waiting for the third. My original is stained with BBQ sauce, grease and sweet tea. His Fried Chicken book is also fantastic. He writes for people that love food.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John T's...Southern Belly October 18, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Such an informed study of Southern Foods and where to get them! I love his writing. It is so accessible.
And, of course, he knows all the nooks and crannies of the South. It's a great read and also a
culinary "tour guide" of the South.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A waste of money. February 16, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The author points out in the book's "forward" that it is Not a travel guide. Pity. If you go to AAA their travel guides offer descriptions of restaurants in much more depth. Seems he should have concentrated on either Southern "history" or Southern "food". He flip-flops to much and does not include even a single recipe in this book. Very disappointing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
I received what I paid for but I was disappointed that it offered so few recipes.
Published 5 months ago by Doug P
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very fun to read. Not a recipe book though.
Published 8 months ago by Robert VanNess
3.0 out of 5 stars Out of Date Travel Guide
Unfortunate that this is an out of date travel guide and not something more robust. I would not recommend to add this to your cook book or travel guide collections.
Published 20 months ago by Maine Man
5.0 out of 5 stars Here's your bucket list for dining in the South!
Spot on!! Descriptions are SO accurate.... You don't need a map to find these spots....or a menu to order from- but DO use the menu as there are so many one of a kind specialities... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Heatheryan
3.0 out of 5 stars I like this book a lot, but....
leaving out Florida is a HUGE omission. His forward states that he did this purposely (along with Texas), based on his criteria that he only included states that he felt were... Read more
Published on May 23, 2013 by CAC
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! Who knew?
I thought this book was a hoot.....and a big hit! Who knew that someone would take the time to address the "Southern belly" ! Read more
Published on February 22, 2013 by Sharron Y. Pitre
5.0 out of 5 stars A little dated but deliciously fun!
John T. Edge writes about food better than anyone I've read, and Southern Belly is a treat. His account of traveling through the South exploring local establishments, although... Read more
Published on December 21, 2012 by Doc
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun for Long Road-Trips
Loved this book- just be sure to double check all information before traveling -we found some locations had closed/changed since it was published.
Published on March 9, 2011 by E. Davis
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book but check your copy -- mine was missing pages!
Great book but check your copy, mine was missing pages 179-210.... Mississippi, the best part! ;-)
Published on October 7, 2008 by Mark E. Yacovone
5.0 out of 5 stars Good food
Fun book - I hope to take a trip sometime soon and visit some of the places mentioned in the book
Published on September 9, 2008 by leapin lizard
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