John T. Edge On Southern Food And Culture

Aug 17, 2017

John T. Edge is the director of the Southern Foodways Alliance. Based out of the University of Mississippi, the SFA studies and documents Southern food cultures. A respected authority, Edge writes about Southern food and culture for publications such as Garden & Gun Magazine and The Oxford American. He joined us to talk about his new book, “The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South,” which explores the South by way of its food.

We begin with a simple but tough question—what is Southern food? Does a meal of tacos and Mexican Coke qualify if it’s made by recent immigrants to Mississippi? Hear why Edge would say yes. 

Edge also comments on today’s culinary trends. The “farm to table” movement may seem like a new phenomenon, but Edge explains how Southern chefs have long relied on locally-sourced ingredients. He points to African-American chef Edna Lewis who recommended cooking with fresh greens and seasonal ingredients more than four decades ago. 

Plus, Edge traces the commercialization of traditional Southern food all the way back to Coronel Sanders.