Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Preface: I Look for Food in Everything

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pp. vii-xiv

Food catches my attention. I can scan a page of a book or an old letter and find food as though it’s highlighted in fluorescent yellow marker. It jumps out at me—snippets of biscuits, cornbread, cake, preserves, elderberry wine—and pulls me in. My brother-in-law, writer Jim Magnuson, says that when I scan the horizon, the food grid rises up above everything else. ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-6

Throughout southern history, the politics of power and place has established a complex regional cuisine of both privilege and deprivation that continues to impact the daily food patterns of southerners today. Whites, blacks, and Native Americans struggled for control of their bodies and minds, nourishment, livelihood, land, and citizenship. ...

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Part I: Early South—Plantation South

From the first exploratory expeditions to the Carolina coast by Europeans in the late sixteenth century to the temporary settlements of the seventeenth-century Chesapeake and the sturdier farmhouses and plantations of the colonial and antebellum South, European and American travelers and naturalists wrote about food they observed and consumed in the American South. ...

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1. Outsiders: Travelers and Newcomers Encounter the Early South

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pp. 9-22

The story of food in the South begins at least 13,000 years ago, with the arrival of the First People (rather than the first Europeans) to the American continent. The earliest southerners were nomadic tribes, small groups of people who foraged for food, gathered native plants, hunted wild game, and fished. ...

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2. Insiders: Culinary Codes of the Plantation Household

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pp. 23-33

Contradictory dominions of food caught the attention of explorers, documentarians, and travelers as they experienced the early South, but a critical hearth of southern culinary cultures—the plantation household— is most clearly seen in the writings of southern-born diarists and correspondents in the antebellum period. ...

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3. I Will Eat Some for You: Food Voices of Northern-Born Governesses in the Plantation South

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pp. 34-47

Located at the heart of the plantation household, white governesses from the North were privy to an intimate portrait of family life in the interstices between slaveholders and the enslaved. Descriptions of food—the distinct tastes of southern cuisine; the rituals of daily meals, special occasions, and holidays; ...

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4. An Embattled Table: The Language of Food in the Civil War South

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pp. 48-70

On December 15, 1860, Margaret Ann “Meta” Morris Grimball, the wife of South Carolina rice planter John Berkley Grimball, wrote in her diary, “It seems strange that we should be in the midst of a revolution so quiet, and plentiful, & corn for table up here. Everything goes on as usual, the planting, the negroes, all just the same; & a great Empire tumbling to pieces about us.”1 ...

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5. Culinary Testimony: African Americans and the Collective Memory of a Nineteenth-Century South

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pp. 71-84

In March 1873, Nancy Johnson, a former slave in Georgia, sought reimbursement for her family’s property stolen by General Sherman’s troops as they moved toward the coast in late 1864.1 The same soldiers freed Johnson and her husband but stole their food, crops, and livestock over a period of two days. ...

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6. The Reconstructed Table

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pp. 85-94

Throughout Reconstruction, white women of the former Confederacy struggled to accept the meaning of an emancipated workforce. The era was marked by efforts to restore racial superiority through the political and economic reenslavement of black southerners, including their roles in the kitchen. ...

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Part II: New South

In the first decades of the twentieth century, southerners—Confederate veterans and former slaves, newly arrived European immigrants, sharecroppers and landowners, mill workers and businessmen, tenant farm-wives and middle-class club women, hobos and drifters—struggled to gain secure footing in the rapidly shifting landscape of the American South. ...

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7. The Shifting Soil of Southern Agriculture and the Undermining of the Southern Diet

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pp. 97-108

Whether living in the former plantation districts of the Carolinas and Georgia, in the Mississippi Delta, in the Alabama Black Belt, among the rice fields of northeastern Arkansas, amid the sugarcane operations in southwest Louisiana, or on the small hay and grain farms of the Piedmont and the Upcountry South, the majority of southerners at the end of the nineteenth century still encountered a world shaped by agriculture and the seasonal rituals of farming and food production. ...

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8. Home Economics and Domestic Science Come to the Southern Table

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pp. 109-123

High rates of tenancy and sharecropping, unhealthy work environments in southern industries, and relentless poverty made the South a virtual laboratory to examine food, diet, illiteracy, public health issues, and substandard living conditions in rural America. In 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt appointed a national Commission on Country Life to address these problems.1 ...

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9. The Southern “Dietaries”: Food Field Studies in Alabama and Eastern Virginia

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pp. 124-136

Tuskegee, Alabama, and eastern Virginia were the sites of the earliest field studies of southern foodways, in the 1890s, overseen by Wilbur Atwater, the Wesleyan agricultural chemist who directed the first U.S. Agricultural Experiment Station.1 Atwater and his associates conducted dietary fieldwork in communities across the United States in which they collected detailed records of what people ate for a period of one to two weeks.2 ...

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10. Reforming the Southern Diet One Student at a Time: The Mountain South and the Lowcountry

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pp. 137-150

By the turn of the twentieth century, the mountain South, contrary to romantic depictions of Appalachia’s rural character and hearty, homegrown cooking, was a rapidly industrializing region. Railroads connected the area to both local and global markets, while textile mills and timber and coal companies tapped the region’s natural resources and its people for labor. ...

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11. Agricultural Reform Comes Home

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pp. 151-165

The success of home and farm demonstration work in the South—the hands-on instructional methodology developed by agriculturist Seaman Knapp—was reflected in impressive numbers. In 1912, more than 100,000 southern farmers participated in racially segregated demonstration programs led by 700 extension agents.1 ...

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12. The Deepest Reality of Life: Southern Sociology, the WPA, and Food in the New South

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pp. 166-187

In late February 1920, Columbia University–trained sociologist Howard Odum, a native of Georgia, arrived in Chapel Hill, where he founded the South’s first Department of Sociology and School of Public Welfare, at UNC. Odum and his colleagues introduced the discipline of “regional sociology,” which brought the tools of social science to bear on the contemporary problems of the South. ...

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13. Branding the Edible New South

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pp. 188-212

In the first decades of the twentieth century, New South boosters offered a conciliatory olive branch to northerners through a vision of a welcoming South exemplified by new commercial southern food products, fine southern restaurants and down-home cafés, nostalgic cookbooks, and a developing southern market for national food brands. ...

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14. A Journey Back in Time: Food and Tourism in the New South

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pp. 213-242

A public relations machine operated by automobile clubs, railroad companies, hotels, restaurants, and city-and state-sponsored travel organizations pumped out a sea of tourist guides steeped in the romance and flavors of the southern colonies, the antebellum plantations, the colorful Creole landscapes, and the “isolation” of the mysterious mountain South.1 ...

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Part III: Modern South

The 1940s and the 1950s found southerners adjusting to a rapidly changing cultural landscape shaped by postwar affluence, industrialization, urbanization, agribusiness, and a vigorous consumer economy. John Egerton describes this period as a “hinge of time” in which the closing of a “constricted past” and the opening of an “expansive future” entwined.1 ...

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15. I’m Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table: Southern Food and the Civil Rights Movement

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pp. 245-265

Stories of food in the civil rights era begin in the Jim Crow South of the 1930s and 1940s, with the daily injustices and horrors that African Americans experienced as a result of institutionalized racism and white supremacy. Consider the lynching of Rubin Stacy, murdered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on July 19, 1935, after he asked a white woman, Marion Jones, for food.1 ...

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16. Culinary Landmarks of “The Struggle”

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pp. 266-284

On January 25, 1964, black community leaders staged a sit-in at Hop’s Bar-B-Q in the mill town of Asheboro, North Carolina, to protest the segregationist practices of its white owner, Burrell Hopkins. Four years after the February 1, 1960, Woolworth’s sit-in, writes Sarah McNulty Turner, Hopkins’s granddaughter, “the civil rights movement finally traveled the thirty miles between the two cities” of Greensboro and Asheboro. 1 ...

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17. A Hungry South

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pp. 285-300

Not until President Lyndon Johnson’s introduction of the Great Society campaign did policy makers, and the nation, finally recognize the real problem of hunger that existed within the country.1 Johnson announced his “unconditional war on poverty” on the front porch of the modest hillside home of Tom Fletcher and his wife and their eight children in Inez, Kentucky, on April 24, 1964.2 ...

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18. A Food Counterculture, Southern-Style

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pp. 301-314

The southern counterculture of the late 1960s and early 1970s was shaped by political activism reverberating from strongholds of the student movement in Berkeley, Ann Arbor, and Cambridge. Food was central to new ideologies as activists turned eating into a political act and created what Warren Belasco describes as a “countercuisine.” 1 ...

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19. New Southern Cuisine

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pp. 315-332

In 1976, Bill and Moreton Neal opened La Residence just outside Chapel Hill. Located in a historic farmhouse property developed by R. B. and Jenny Fitch, the restaurant combined southern-sourced ingredients and flavors with both classical and new French techniques. A native of south Mississippi, Susan “Moreton” Hobbs Neal had an understanding of fine dining as French cuisine shaped by the powerful influence of nearby New Orleans, ...

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Conclusion

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pp. 333-334

Food stands at the center of southern history and culture. From the prehistoric South, where indigenous peoples discovered unparalleled food resources, to the contemporary South, where industrial agriculture and small farms vie for the region’s future, food has defined the region for over five centuries. ...

Notes

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pp. 335-400

Bibliography

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pp. 401-444

Index

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pp. 445-477