Talk to Me: Down Home Food Up North
Friday, April 16, 2010
Fried chicken, okra, biscuits, sweet tea and pecan pie — it's enough to make any food lover dream of lazy summer days in the South. Happily, Southern food has found a home in the North, where it has grown in popularity in the past three years. The Museum of the City of New York held an event to discuss the social history of "the great migration" of food from the South. In partnership with the Southern Foodways Alliance and Mississippi Development Authority/Division of Tourism, the museum invited Jessica B. Harris, Ted Lee, and John T. Edge to discuss how Southern food has influenced what and how we eat in New York City.
Stream and download the talk here for free.
Edge writes for The New York Times and is the director of the Southern Foodways Alliance. Harris is the author eight cookbooks documenting the foods and foodways of the African Diaspora. Along with his brother Matt, Lee founded the Boiled Peanuts Catalogue, a mail-order catalogue for Southern ingredients.
On the Southern Migration: “On a trip to Chicago…I ate a breakfast of fried eggs and sugared rice at a place called “Baby Jeans Yazoo Mississippi-Style Soul Food.” That name was plastered in the door...as a way of claiming the south side of Chicago for the expatriates of Yazoo city Mississippi.” —John T. Edge
On Southern Culture in the North: “There has always been a South in the North. It is located in every African-American neighborhood. I am a native New Yorker born and raised and I grew up with my grandmother picking peanuts in a little garden plot behind the south Jamaica projects.” —Jessica B. Harris
On the Lack of Context: "There is so much excitement going on now [about Southern food], and we have this enthusiastic food community twittering, writing, talking about it but I feel a little concerned…it seems to have come out of nowhere, there is very little historical context given for these developments.” —Ted Lee