There are so many Souths, and thus there are so many ways of thinking about “Southern” food. If we think of food, as John T. Edge says, as a narrative, then “it is through this narrative that we not only speak to what we like to eat, we speak to who we are”. Sometimes we hear individual’s [some from the South, some not] declaring that something they are eating, “isn’t really Southern.” What we think they are saying is that a dish doesn’t ring personally true for them because it isn’t the way their grandmother or mother made it. It doesn’t support their understanding of what their identity means to them. As John Edge would say, “What you eat is who you are – a way of broadcasting your identity through food”
Our understanding of “Southern food” is composed of all the people, experiences and conditions of our upbringing, our childhood, our education and our adulthood. Our culinary understanding is fueled by our chef’s training at the French Pastry School in Chicago combined with the impact of the two most important “cooks” in his life: his mother, Ethel Ann, for whom this bakery is named and the African American woman who worked for his family for most of his childhood, Sennie Mae Allen.
We are incredibly proud members of the Southern Foodways Alliance, a member-supported organization that documents, studies, and explores the diverse food cultures of the changing American South. Their work “sets a welcome table where all may consider the South’s history and its future in a spirit of respect and reconciliation [www.southernfoodways.org]. Based at the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture, the SFA collects oral histories, produces films and podcasts, publishes great writing, sponsors scholarships, mentors students, and stages events that serve as progressive and inclusive catalysts for the greater South.
"Yankees are just good people who have chosen to live in the wrong place."