Southern cooking is a double edged sword. Yes, it is recognized and is the backbone of American cuisine. However it also has a dark history - born in slavery and enslavement,Does it get acknowledged or ignored? Brought to light or buried?
John T Edge has written about this, questioning every dish that comes out of our Southern states.Kim Severson did an article about this in last week's New York Times Food section. There have been other writers, Ms. Severson reports but none so loud or direct as he.. His new book, The Potlikker Papers:A Food History Of The Modern South , explores Southern recipes of the last sixty years.. The book's title is derived from the name for the leftover broth from cooked greens that slave owners fed their enslaved., Luckily the South is changing as his book points out. Fried okra may be sprinkled with fish sauce while ribs are doused in the Chinese red pepper paste gochujang.
Mr. Edge is not a likely candidate to write abut the South's racist history He originally dropped out of the University of Georgia where he was a fullback. He re-entered the famed Ole Miss - University of Mississippi where he majored in Southern Studies. It seems likely that he would branch off with Southern cooking. The South and cooking have been entwined since the late 1600's with the rice trade from the Carolinas.His mentor, the historian, John Edgerton told him that there is still a debt that has to be paid by Southern eaters, relishing the recipes of the enslaved. This has led to him creating the SFA the Southern Food Alliance where it has received criticism. Yet this is what happens with Southern cooking that does come with tremendous baggage.
Will it ever resolve? No. Southern cooking like Southern history will always be tainted by the enslavement and inequality of Africans.