The Edible South: The Power of Food and the Making of an American Region

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9781469617688: The Edible South: The Power of Food and the Making of an American Region

In The Edible South, Marcie Cohen Ferris presents food as a new way to chronicle the American South's larger history. Ferris tells a richly illustrated story of southern food and the struggles of whites, blacks, Native Americans, and other people of the region to control the nourishment of their bodies and minds, livelihoods, lands, and citizenship. The experience of food serves as an evocative lens onto colonial settlements and antebellum plantations, New South cities and civil rights-era lunch counters, chronic hunger and agricultural reform, counterculture communes and iconic restaurants as Ferris reveals how food--as cuisine and as commodity--has expressed and shaped southern identity to the present day.

The region in which European settlers were greeted with unimaginable natural abundance was simultaneously the place where enslaved Africans vigilantly preserved cultural memory in cuisine and Native Americans held tight to kinship and food traditions despite mass expulsions. Southern food, Ferris argues, is intimately connected to the politics of power. The contradiction between the realities of fulsomeness and deprivation, privilege and poverty, in southern history resonates in the region's food traditions, both beloved and maligned.

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Book Description:

"The best scholarship bridges gaps between academic and popular writing, amplifying primary source research with insightful commentary and approachable analysis. In this genre-defining work of history told through foodways, Marcie Cohen Ferris meets that charge, escorting readers from Virginia, where bread riots erupted in the 1860s, to Arkansas, where agricultural communes emerged in the 1970s. To understand how and why the South defines itself in the kitchen and at table, start here."--John T. Edge, series editor, Southern Foodways Alliance Studies in Culture, People, and Place

About the Author:

Marcie Cohen Ferris, professor of American studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is author of Matzoh Ball Gumbo: Culinary Tales of the Jewish South.

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