The Potlikker Papers by John T. Edge
A Food History of the Modern South

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Without question, this is a book for foodies, but it is also for readers who may be indifferent to the food they consume yet care deeply about regionalism, individual health, and race relations, among other themes.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

“The one food book you must read this year."
—Southern Living 

A people’s history that reveals how Southerners shaped American culinary identity and how race relations impacted Southern food culture over six revolutionary decades

Like great provincial dishes around the world, potlikker is a salvage food. During the antebellum era, slave owners ate the greens from the pot and set aside the leftover potlikker broth for the enslaved, unaware that the broth, not the greens, was nutrient rich. After slavery, potlikker sustained the working poor, both black and white. In the South of today, potlikker has taken on new meanings as chefs have reclaimed it. Potlikker is a quintessential Southern dish, and The Potlikker Papers is a people’s history of the modern South, told through its food. Beginning with the pivotal role cooks and waiters played in the civil rights movement, noted authority John T. Edge narrates the South’s fitful journey from a hive of racism to a hotbed of American immigration. He shows why working-class Southern food has become a vital driver of contemporary American cuisine.
 
Food access was a battleground issue during the 1950s and 1960s. Ownership of culinary traditions has remained a central contention on the long march toward equality. The Potlikker Papers tracks pivotal moments in Southern history, from the back-to-the-land movement of the 1970s to the rise of fast and convenience foods modeled on rural staples. Edge narrates the gentrification that gained traction in the restaurants of the 1980s and the artisanal renaissance that began to reconnect farmers and cooks in the 1990s. He reports as a newer South came into focus in the 2000s and 2010s, enriched by the arrival of immigrants from Mexico to Vietnam and many points in between. Along the way, Edge profiles extraordinary figures in Southern food, including Fannie Lou Hamer, Colonel Sanders, Mahalia Jackson, Edna Lewis, Paul Prudhomme, Craig Claiborne, and Sean Brock. 
 
Over the last three generations, wrenching changes have transformed the South. The Potlikker Papers tells the story of that dynamism—and reveals how Southern food has become a shared culinary language for the nation.

The Potlikker Papers makes a great Father's Day gift!
 

About John T. Edge

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John T. Edge's work has appeared regularly in Gourmet and Saveur and has been featured in the 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004 editions of Best Food Writing. He is currently the director of the Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi. His cookbook, A Gracious Plenty, was nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award. In 2003, he was named "One of Twenty Southerners to Watch" by the Financial Times of London, and he was a finalist for the 2004 M. F. K. Fisher Distinguished Writing Award from the James Beard Foundation.
 
Published May 16, 2017 by Penguin Press. 381 pages
Genres: History, Cooking, Science & Math, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
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Kirkus

Excellent
on Jan 16 2017

Without question, this is a book for foodies, but it is also for readers who may be indifferent to the food they consume yet care deeply about regionalism, individual health, and race relations, among other themes.

Read Full Review of The Potlikker Papers: A Food ... | See more reviews from Kirkus

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