“Everything we have been handed down, from cookbook to rosette wand, everything we receive, from egg roll to taco, everything we jones for, from red hot hotdogs to candies, becomes a piece of our history, a thread in the story leading to more story. Sitting at the Appalachian table we can taste the proof of a strong, lasting, surprisingly diverse, and infinitely textured history.”
From the afterword by Ronni Lundy
“Engelhardt and Smith bring together a diverse group of writers who deftly use foodways to tackle a number of important themes, from identity and power to placemaking and the meaning of ‘Appalachia.’ Working against lingering but misleading and politicized regional signifiers, this riveting and readable book offers a fresh perspective on Appalachia, using foodways as a lens.”
Jessica Wilkerson, author of To Live Here, You Have to Fight: How Women Led Appalachian Movements for Social Justice
“In The Food We Eat, the Stories We Tell, Engelhardt and Smith offer an important and informed antidote to Hillbilly Elegy. The contributors handily debunk commonly held narratives and stereotypes, offering a well-rounded, balanced, and insightful look into Appalachia’s peoples and their foodways.”
Ashli Quesinberry Stokes, author (with Wendy Atkins-Sayre) of Consuming Identity: The Role of Food in Redefining the South
“This book is a creative and challenging anthology about food and Appalachia. I don’t know anything else like it. It both pokes fun at nostalgia but also absorbs it. It doesn’t bow to so-called foodies but is most definitely focused on the power of food to mediate memory, place, social stratification, pleasure, and resistance.”
Katherine J. Black, author of Row by Row: Talking with Kentucky Gardeners
Blue ridge tacos, kimchi with soup beans and cornbread, family stories hiding in cookbook marginalia, African American mountain gardens—this wide-ranging anthology considers all these and more. Diverse contributors show us that contemporary Appalachian tables and the stories they hold offer new ways into understanding past, present, and future American food practices. The poets, scholars, fiction writers, journalists, and food professionals in these pages show us that what we eat gives a beautifully full picture of Appalachia, where it’s been, and where it’s going.
Contributors: Courtney Balestier, Jessie Blackburn, Karida Brown, Danille Christensen, Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle, Michael J. Croley, Robert Gipe, Suronda Gonzalez, Emily Hilliard, Rebecca Gayle Howell, Abby Huggins, Erica Abrams Locklear, George Ella Lyon, Jeff Mann, Daniel S. Margolies, Will Schumann, Lora E. Smith, Emily Wallace, Crystal Wilkinson
Elizabeth S. D. Engelhardt is John Shelton Reed Distinguished Professor of Southern Studies in the department of American studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her family roots in western North Carolina extend back to the 1700s. Among her publications are A Mess of Greens: Southern Gender and Southern Food, The Tangled Roots of Feminism, Environmentalism, and Appalachian Literature, and The Larder: Food Studies Methods from the American South (edited with John T. Edge and Ted Ownby). More info →
Lora E. Smith directs the Appalachian Impact Fund, a social impact investment fund focused on economic transition and opportunity in Eastern Kentucky. Smith is a founding member of the Appalachian Food Summit and a writer whose work has appeared in Gravy, the New York Times, PUNCH, and NPR’s The Salt. In 2015, Lora accepted the John Egerton Prize from the Southern Foodways Alliance for her work with the Appalachian Food Summit and supporting local agriculture movements in Central Appalachia. More info →
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For two and a half years, Katherine J. Black crisscrossed Kentucky, interviewing home vegetable gardeners from a rich variety of backgrounds. Row by Row: Talking with Kentucky Gardeners is the result, a powerful compilation of testimonies on the connections between land, people, culture, and home. The people profiled here share a Kentucky backdrop, but their life stories, as well as their gardens, have as many colors, shapes, and tastes as heirloom tomatoes do.
The Brown Goose, the White Case Knife, Ora’s Speckled Bean, Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter — these are just a few of the heirloom fruits and vegetables you’ll encounter in Bill Best’s remarkable history of seed saving and the people who preserve both unique flavors and the Appalachian culture associated with them.
Country music superstar Dolly Parton’s Dollywood is a 150-acre fantasyland that hosts three million people a year. What does it tell us about the modern South, and in turn what does that tell us about America as a whole? Hoppe blends tourism, public history, and personal reflection into an unforgettable interrogation of Southern American identity.
In essays that take wide-ranging forms—ideal for creative nonfiction classes—established and emerging writers with roots in Appalachia take on the theme of silencing in Appalachian culture. They write about families left behind, hard-earned educations, selves transformed, identities chosen, and risks taken.