- Front Porch
Faithful readers will remember that we celebrated Southern Cultures’s twentieth birthday last year. It was a banner year, full of exciting programs, special issues, and happy memories. But you can’t cheat time; age brings its changes, large and small, and we are no exception. This issue brings a bittersweet moment of changing leadership as Jocelyn Neal steps down as my co-editor, and Marcie Cohen Ferris comes forward in her place. The change is bittersweet because we hate to see Jocelyn move on, but we are delighted to welcome Marcie. And using a flavor to describe our feelings is a perfect metaphor, for this is our special issue on southern food, in all its mouth-watering complexity.
Jocelyn Neal joined Southern Cultures in 2009 and has been an unending source of insight, inspiration, and intelligence ever since. A professor of music at unc, with an adjunct appointment in American Studies, her specialty is country music, and she has brought whole festivals’ worth of knowledge about every branch of southern rhythms and melodies as a referee, contributor, and editor. Her contributions to our regular music issues have been invaluable, and we rejoice that she will still be available to advise us on all things tuneful. After five years of service, Jocelyn is ready for different challenges, and we wish her well, relieved to know she is only a holler away.
We are just as pleased that Marcie Cohen Ferris will now serve as co-editor. Associate Professor of American Studies at unc, Marcie is a specialist in southern and American foodways and the southern Jewish experience. Her latest book is The Edible South: The Power of Food and the Making of an American Region (UNC Press, 2014). As you might expect, the Southern Foodways Alliance made a wise choice when it elected her as president in 2006 and 2008. When Marcie served as guest editor of our first special food issue in 2009, we saw right away that she was a great editorial prospect and never stopped calling on her for advice and support. She has now guest edited all three of our special food issues, including the present one, which is a perfect showcase for her talents. An able editor and an even better friend, we welcome Marcie with open arms and empty plates, ready to be filled.
Marcie’s opening piece, “History, Place, and Power,” not only samples some of the moral, historical, and gustatory complexity of southern eating, but it also introduces readers to our authors and their ideas. So don’t look for appetizers here, go straight to her table and dig in. [End Page 1]