South

Tanner Latham

Cynthia Graubart attained culinary celebrity status last year when she won a James Beard Award for the cookbook she co-wrote with famed Southern author Nathalie Dupree. It’s called Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking, and it is amazing. It took four years to write, and it weighs six and a half pounds. It’s got 750 recipes and another 650 variations on the standards. It is becoming itself a standard--a bible--for any Southern cook.

William Ferris / From THE STORIED SOUTH: VOICES OF WRITERS AND ARTISTS by William Ferris.

Eudora Welty was one of the South’s most beloved writers, and her fiction is still a study in detail and dialogue and wit. Her settings were often Southern, but her themes were universal. Eudora won multiple awards in her lifetime, including a Pulitzer in 1973 for her novel The Optimist’s Daughter. She passed away in 2001.

The audio you hear of Eudora in this episode is part of folklorist Bill Ferris' recent book The Storied South, which is a collection of interviews with iconic writers, musicians, historians, photographers and artists. 

I first featured Bill in Episode 10, and we talked extensively about his 40-year career and how the South has perfected the art of storytelling. 

In this episode, Bill returns to tell us about his close friendship with the famous Southern writer. 

What Is Southern?

May 10, 2013
Tanner Latham

I believe that okra symbolizes the ever-evolving definition of the South. It is Southern to the core, but as a non-native plant, okra had to become Southern. In my search for an answer to the question, "What is Southern?" I talk to my grandmother about her fried okra, the Director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, the former editor-in-chief of Southern Living magazine, and a Korean-born pop singer-turned-chef who fries okra in tempura batter at her Southern barbecue joint in Atlanta.

Southern Hospitality And What It Means To Be Hospitable

Sep 21, 2012

We like to say that here in the South, our Southern Hospitality is the height of good manners and welcoming others, but what does it really mean to be hospitable? In these angry, sometimes suspicious times, and in a political climate when people from opposite sides are not encouraged to work together or agree on anything at all, is there no longer room for hospitality in our daily lives?

Yes, We Have Livermush

Sep 20, 2012
Flickr/ross.grady

The Livermush Belt. You in the Piedmont know what I’m talking about…that string of counties from Cleveland to Guildford, where you can order a livermush sandwich on any given day.

Poor man’s paté they call it, a meat substance so indigenous to North Carolina that Tar Heel ex-pats have been known to to smuggle it out in coolers to far reaches of the country.

I first encountered the stuff when I moved here in the 1970s. I’d grown up with cornmeal mush in the Cornbelt, but livermush? I eyed the khaki-gray block suspiciously in the grocery store cooler.

The number of people living in poverty across the country has stabilized. But it remains at a more than 50-year high, according to Census data released Wednesday. The data also show the South has the highest level of poverty of any region.