‘Gravy’ Wins Second James Beard Foundation Award

gravypodcastjbfa-300x300The James Beard Foundation has honored “Gravy,” a product of the Southern Foodways Alliance, an institute of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, as the nation’s best podcast.

In 2015, the foundation named Gravy, the SFA’s quarterly print journal and podcast, as its Publication of the Year. Gravy shares stories of the changing American South through the foods everyone eats.

SFA members receive the printed journal Gravy four times a year, while “Gravy,” a free 25-minute podcast, is available on the SFA website or through iTunes. Both serve up fresh, unexpected and thought-provoking stories of an American South that is constantly evolving, accommodating new immigrants, adopting new traditions and lovingly maintaining old ones.

It is an honor to win a James Beard Award for the second year in a row, said Sara Camp Arnold Milam, Gravy’s managing editor.

“Though our work is grounded in the U.S. South, we explore issues of universal relevance – including class, race, ethnicity, gender and labor – through the lens of food,” Milam said. “It is extremely gratifying to receive national recognition for Gravy.”

The SFA’s quest to dig into lesser-known corners of the region and give voice to those who grow, cook and serve daily meals couldn’t be bound by print. So, in 2014, SFA launched “Gravy” the podcast, produced and hosted by Tina Antolini, a graduate of the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies and a National Public Radio veteran.

Recent podcasts pondered the restaurant chain Cracker Barrel and Southern nostalgia. Another focused on the food world behind the scenes at Indian-owned motels.

“It is so gratifying to have these stories – and their subjects and the radio producers I’ve collaborated with – recognized,” Antolini said in her acceptance speech.

A member-supported nonprofit based at the UM Center for the Study of Southern Culture, the Southern Foodways Alliance documents, studies and explores the diverse food cultures of the changing American South.

For more information on the SFA and Gravy, go to http://www.southernfoodways.org/.

Donors Support Art in Southern Foodways Alliance Programming

Gifts will support creative relationships to bolster SFA events

Lyon Hill and Kimi Maeda present Barbecue Puppet Theater at the 2012 SFA Symposium. Photo by Brandall Atkinson.

Lyon Hill and Kimi Maeda present Barbecue Puppet Theater at the 2012 SFA Symposium. Photo by Brandall Atkinson.

OXFORD, Miss. – While food nourishes the body, art nourishes the soul. The Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi expertly blends both into programming, and supporters believe the two will continue to pair well together for years to come.

Impressed by the SFA’s use of art to enhance the presentation of Southern food culture, two donors – the 21c Museum Hotel group and another patron who wishes to remain anonymous – recently committed major gifts in support of performing and visual arts at the Southern Foodways Alliance’s annual symposium.

“We showcase artistic expression in ways that encourage annual symposium attendees to engage with issues like environment, identity, gender, class and race in new and challenging ways,” said SFA Director John T. Edge. “We are thrilled that these two donors have recognized our efforts and have chosen to align themselves with us through their support of our programs.”

The 21c Museum Hotel group first participated in the SFA symposium in 2007.

“After a weekend of enlightening discussion, food and drink, we left feeling a renewed kinship to the South,” said Sarah Robbins, chief hospitality officer. “We’ve returned each year with our growing family of chefs. We always depart with a full belly and a better understanding of the responsibility and fortune of being a part of the region.”

The brainchild of contemporary art collectors and preservationists Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson, 21c was founded in Louisville, Kentucky, with the mission of making contemporary art accessible to the public. The result was a boutique hotel combined with a contemporary art museum, open free of charge to the public, and restaurant Proof on Main.

The company operates five properties, each one a place where contemporary art challenges, amuses and provokes new ideas. The group’s gift will sustain annual art installations exhibited during the SFA’s symposium.

“We hope this gift will help expose a new audience to innovative art and ideas, providing a visual context for the important discussions happening at the symposium and beyond,” Robbins said.

“At 21c Museum Hotel, we engage our team, our guests and the community through contemporary art, cultural programming and food. These are all opportunities to discover and to spark conversation around topical ideas. Through these communal experiences of discovery, ideas are born and spread. SFA’s mission to address complex cultural issues is complementary to ours, and we are thrilled to partner with them on this important initiative.”

Besides the annual art installations, the SFA has staged Sunday morning performances at its symposium for the past seven years. From ballet to street theatre, from a puppet show to an oratorio, such performances will be supported by a major gift to the SFA’s performing arts fund.

The additional gift from an anonymous contributor will ensure that artists are paid well and programming reaches a larger audience through the restaging and distribution of interpretive materials. Additionally, the funding will drive new creative relationships with artists, amplify existing relationships and facilitate SFA-led collaborations across disciplines. The 2016 Sunday performance will feature Appalachian artists Silas House, novelist, and Sam Gleaves, musician.

“Through these performances, the SFA shares stories inspired by the South and by Southern experiences,” Edge said. “In the now-crowded marketplace of food ideas, these stories spark honest reflection and foster genuine progress while offering new ways to address complex Southern issues with national implications.”

Individuals and organizations can make gifts to support the Southern Foodways Alliance or the Center for the Study of Southern Culture by mailing a check (with SFA or CSSC noted in the memo line) to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Avenue, Oxford, MS 38655; visiting http://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift or contacting Nikki Neely Davis, development officer for the CSSC at 662-915-6678 or nlneely@olemiss.edu.

Oxford Conference for the Book Brings Variety of Authors to UM

Poets, journalists, scholars and readers coming to campus March 2-4 for free event

Ed Larson

Ed Larson

OXFORD, Miss. – Pulitzer Prize-winning authors, as well as first-time novelists, are part of the variety of legendary and debut writers hosted at the Oxford Conference for the Book, set for March 2-4. Poets, journalists, scholars and readers will visit the University of Mississippi for the 23rd conference.

The three-day event, which is free and open to the public, includes readings, panel discussions and lectures.

The conference is a great way for Oxford visitors and locals to explore the town and the university, said James G. Thomas Jr., conference director.

“We try to open doors with this conference, both literally and metaphorically,” said Thomas, associate director of publications at the UM Center for the Study of Southern Culture.

“By that I mean the sessions open up doors for thought and inquiry, and the venues we’re hav­ing them in are places that some Oxford residents, stu­dents, and visitors may not have had the opportunity to explore, such as the Lafayette County courthouse, the Barksdale-Isom House, the UM library’s Faulkner Room and even the University Museum.”

This year’s writers include novelists Rick Bass, Bobbie Ann Mason, Margaret McMullan, Robert Gipe, Taylor Brown and UM Grisham Writer in Residence Kiese Laymon; Mississippi historians Minion K.C. Morrison and Dennis Mitchell; historian and gender studies scholar LaKisha Michelle Simmons; poets Richard Katrovas, Rebecca Morgan Frank, Caki Wilkinson, Jericho Brown, Katie Peterson, Chiyuma Elliott and UM professors Beth Ann Fennelly and Derrick Harriell; histori­an Mark Essig; literary scholar Vereen Bell; and Pulitzer Prizewinners journalist Sheri Fink and historian Edward J. Larson.

Larson, professor of law at Pepperdine University, is the author of nine books, the most recent of which, “The Return of George Washington,” was on The New York Times bestseller list in 2015. He has lectured on all seven continents.

“I love Oxford, I have been for tailgating in the Grove since back when I was on the University of Georgia’s athletic board and the SEC was a 10-team conference,” Larson said. “Oxford has the best catfish anywhere. What I want to do next in Mississippi is to bike the Natchez Trace.”

Margaret McMullan

Margaret McMullan

Wednesday’s and Thursday’s events will take place in the auditorium of the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics, and the conference will begin with a lecture and free luncheon, sponsored by the Friends of the Library, in the Faulkner Room in Archives and Special Collections in the J.D. Williams Library, also on the UM campus. Friday’s panels and readings will take place in the main courtroom of the historic Lafayette County courthouse on the Oxford Square.

Lyn Roberts, general manager at Square Books, calls the conference a celebration of books for everyone.

“The Oxford Conference for the Book has a history and tradition of bringing authors, both debut and established, to Oxford and the University of Mississippi, allowing everyone in the community and anyone who wants to travel the opportunity to hear them read from their works and discuss books,” Roberts said.

Conference panels will explore a wide range of topics, in­cluding Mississippi history; childhood in the South; mem­oir writing; youth, activism, and life in the Mountain South; poetic responses to Langston Hughes; Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Go Set a Watchman”; the Hurricane Katrina crisis; America’s continuing debate over science and religion; and a cultural and culi­nary history of the pig.

“I’m excited to introduce Mark Essig to the OCB audience,” said Sara Camp Milam, who will moderate Friday’s 10:30 a.m. panel, sponsored by the Southern Foodways Alliance. “His work is as engaging as it is educational. ‘Lesser Beasts’ was one of my favorite food studies books of 2015. For students thinking about how to make their academic work accessible to a general audience, I’d recommend attending this session.”

A new event this year is a poetry session paired with an art exhibition by photographer Youngsuk Suh. At 4:30 p.m. Thursday, following the “Poetic Responses to Langston Hughes” session, the University Museum will host a free recep­tion.

“Thacker Mountain Radio” will host a special Oxford Conference for the Book show at 6 p.m. Thursday at Off Square Books, 129 Courthouse Square, featuring conference authors and visiting musicians. The day’s authors will be there to meet conference attendees and sign books. Each afternoon following the sessions, Square Books will host book signings for that day’s authors.

Mark Essig

Mark Essig

The Children’s Book Festival will be held March 4 at the Ford Center for Performing Arts, with more than 1,200 first- and fifth-graders from area schools. Laurie Keller, author of “The Scrambled States of America,” will present at 9 a.m. for first graders, and Holly Goldberg Sloan, author of “Counting by 7s,” will present at 10:30 a.m. for fifth graders. The Lafayette County Literacy Council sponsors the first-grade program and the Junior Auxiliary of Oxford spon­sors the fifth-grade program.

Four special social events are set on the Ole Miss campus and in town. On March 2, the Friends of the J.D. Williams Library will host an opening lunch beginning at 11 a.m. in Archives and Special Collections. The lunch is free, but reservations are appreciated. That evening is the gala opening-night cocktail reception-dinner at 6:30 p.m. in the historic Barksdale-Isom House, 1003 Jefferson Ave. A portion of the $50 ticket proceeds is tax-deductible.

At noon March 4, the Lafayette County and Oxford Public Library will host a poetry talk and lunch with poet Richard Katrovas. Both the lunch and talk are free, but reservations are appreciated.

The Oxford Conference for the Book is sponsored by the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, Square Books, Southern Documentary Project, Southern Foodways Alliance, Living Blues magazine, University Museum, Lafayette County Literacy Council, UM Department of English, J.D. Williams Library, Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics, Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, John and Renée Grisham Visiting Writers Fund, Junior Auxiliary of Oxford, Lafayette County and Oxford Public Library, Southern Literary Trail and the Pulitzer Centennial Campfires Initiative.

The conference is partially funded by the university, a contribution from the R&B Feder Foundation for the Beaux Arts, grants from the Mississippi Humanities Council and promotional support from Visit Oxford.

To see a full schedule of events, visit http://oxfordconferenceforthebook.com/ or contact James G. Thomas Jr. at 662-915-3374 or jgthomas@olemiss.edu.

Author Who Explores World of Food Trends Coming to UM

David Sax, guru of what America eats, to lecture Feb. 29

David Sax

David Sax

OXFORD, Miss. – Popular foods for 2016 include kimchee and packaged seaweed strips, but David Sax already knew that. Sax, an award-winning journalist and author, explores the world of food trends: where they come from, how they grow and where they end up.

He will discuss the latest culinary developments at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 29 at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. The event is free and open to the public.

In his latest book “The Tastemakers: Why We’re Crazy for Cupcakes and Fed up with Fondue,” Sax explores the world of food trends and searches for the farmers, chefs and even data analysts who help decide what is on America’s dinner plate.

He said his interest in food trends developed because he had been writing about food from two different angles: the culinary aspect of restaurants and chefs, and also the big corporate world of food companies.

“What I kept seeing was that those two were converging, and food trends were shaping conversations on both ends,” Sax said. “I wanted to find out why we suddenly all want to eat something (cupcakes, for instance) where we never did before. What were the forces that made that happen?”

His favorite food trend right now is the artisan bread movement.

“Bread just keeps getting better, in the most simple and wonderful way,” Sax said. “Life’s too short for bad bread.”

Catarina Passidomo, assistant professor of Southern studies and anthropology, said she has heard several interviews on various food-related podcasts with Sax, and finds his perspective on food trends to be provocative and accurate.

“In an era of quinoa puffs, cronuts and with the rise and fall of kale, David Sax provides innovative insight into why some food trends fly and others flop,” Passidomo said. “I’m very much looking forward to his talk and would encourage anyone who eats, or thinks about eating, to attend as well.”

Sax is also the author of “Save the Deli: In Search of Perfect Pastrami, Crusty Rye and the Heart of Jewish Delicatessen,” and has been recognized with a James Beard Award, IACP award and other accolades. His writing has appeared in Bloomberg Businessweek, TheNewYorker.com and The New York Times. His third book, “The Revenge of Analog: Dispatches from the Post-Digital Economy,” will be published this November.

In addition to his lecture, Sax will meet with two Writing and Rhetoric classes.

Sax’s visit is sponsored by the Southern Foodways Alliance and the UM Department of Writing and Rhetoric. Each year, they work together to bring award-winning journalists to campus to speak to students, faculty and staff. For more information, visit http://www.southernfoodways.com.

SFA Journal, Podcast Named Publication of the Year

'Gravy' covers Southern food in both printed and audio media

Tina Antolini, Sara Camp Arnold Milam (center) and John T Edge at the James Beard Awards in New York City. The Southern Foodways Alliance’s “Gravy” has been named the James Beard Foundation’s Publication of the Year.

Tina Antolini (left), Sara Camp Arnold Milam and John T. Edge celebrate at the James Beard Awards in New York.

OXFORD, Miss. – The James Beard Foundation has named “Gravy,” the quarterly print journal and biweekly podcast of the University of Mississippi’s Southern Foodways Alliance, as the 2015 Publication of the Year. The award honors fresh direction, worthy ambition and a forward-looking approach to food journalism.

The printed journal Gravy lands in the mailboxes of SFA members four times a year, while “Gravy” the podcast hits the cyber-airwaves every other week. Both serve up fresh, unexpected and thought-provoking stories of an American South that is constantly evolving, accommodating new immigrants, adopting new traditions and lovingly maintaining old ones.

Sara Camp Arnold Milam, Gravy’s managing editor, said it is an honor to win a James Beard Award.

“I’m pleased that the Beard Foundation recognized our multiplatform approach to storytelling – first a print magazine, and now a sister podcast,” Milam said. “I’m so grateful that we get to do our work here at the university, specifically at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture. And I thank the members of the Southern Foodways Alliance for their support of our mission.”

Milam joined the SFA in 2012. She took over a publication printed in black-and-white, staple-bound and a mere 12 pages in length. Under her leadership, the journal has grown to a full-color, 60-page, perfect-bound beauty bursting with smart words, intriguing illustrations and arresting photographs.

Milam also writes for the SFA blog, works as a producer for Greenhouse films and, along with John T. Edge, serves as co-executive producer of “Gravy” the podcast.

The SFA’s quest to dig into lesser-known corners of the region and give voice to those who grow, cook and serve daily meals couldn’t be contained in a single publication. So, in 2014, SFA launched “Gravy” the podcast, which is produced and hosted by Tina Antolini, Salt Institute graduate and NPR veteran. Ten episodes in, loyal listeners anxiously await each helping, served up every other Thursday morning.

A member-supported nonprofit based at the UM Center for the Study of Southern Culture, the Southern Foodways Alliance documents, studies and celebrates the diverse food cultures of the changing American South.

Generous Gift Supports Southern Foodways Alliance

Kentucky couple creates Smith Symposium Fellows to support individuals doing notable foodways work

Brook and Pam Smith of Louisville, Kentucky, flank their friend Emeril Lagasse – well-known chef, restaurateur and author – all passionate food advocates. The Smiths have contributed major support to the Southern Foodways Alliance in the UM Center for the Study of Southern Culture to create the Smith Symposium Fellows program. Photo courtesy Steve Freeman.

Brook and Pam Smith of Louisville, Kentucky, flank their friend Emeril Lagasse – well-known chef, restaurateur and author – all passionate food advocates. The Smiths have contributed major support to the Southern Foodways Alliance in the UM Center for the Study of Southern Culture to create the Smith Symposium Fellows program. Photo courtesy Steve Freeman.

OXFORD, Miss. – Drawing on academics, chefs, artisans, farmers, journalists, writers, food enthusiasts and more, the Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi uses food as a cultural compass, guiding the understanding of history, race relations and politics. SFA members Pam and Brook Smith of Louisville, Kentucky, are helping bring more people to the conversation.

The Smiths have made a $250,000 gift to create the Smith Symposium Fellows program, ensuring that individuals doing notable work in their early-to-mid-careers are able to participate in the symposia of the SFA, a nonprofit institute found under the umbrella of UM’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture. Smith Fellows also contribute to a more diverse and progressive symposium community.

“There’s nothing Pam and I have ever seen that compares to the Southern Foodways Alliance,” Brook Smith said. “There are SFA members who are involved with food as careers and members who appreciate food and its culture. It’s an unmatched organization – what members are doing through this organization is making a difference.”

And the Smiths are among those making a positive impact. The first class of Smith Symposium Fellows were selected for their potential to transform the region and its foodways. In addition, a goal for the Smith Fellows is that they will benefit from involvement with the extended SFA community. The number of Smith Fellows named annually will eventually grow to 10.

The inaugural fellows are Michael Twitty, writer and historian of Africa-American foodways; Natasha Bowens, farmer, activist and author of “The Color of Food”; Evan Mah, food editor of Atlanta magazine; and Darnella Burkett Winston, a farmer and a Mississippi Food & Health Fellow and National Rural Leader in the Rural Development Leadership Network.

“These women and men are at the forefront of their field,” said John T. Edge, SFA director. “Through the generosity of Pam and Brook, we’re able to invest in their careers and in the future of our region. We’re humbled by this gift and determined to leverage their belief in our mission.”

“Education is at the root of everything,” Brook Smith said. “That’s why these symposiums are so important. Think of it like this: If one person becomes involved in recognizing and maintaining our culture and that leads to the next 10 people becoming involved, which leads to the next hundred people – that’s how the world gets changed. With this gift, Pam and I are helping others to the table.”

Pam Smith agreed, saying, “Growing up in the South – Myrtle Beach, Beaufort and Charleston – it is important that our three sons and their generation have a direct reference point to Southern tradition. The SFA has made me a believer that Southern culture, food culture and family culture will live on.”

A surety bond broker and president of Smith Manus, one of the nation’s largest surety bond agencies, Brook Smith’s roots in food and wine run long and deep. Growing up, he used his mother’s cookbooks to try his hand at cooking. Later, with several partners, he launched Post Parade, a Napa Valley cabernet blend. Across the years, with regular travel, mostly domestically, Smith became a passionate food advocate, checking out a wide array of offerings from the local barbecue joints to white tablecloth fine dining establishments.

“I was pounding the same trails as the SFA,” Smith said. “My path has crossed with so many different, interesting and fun people.”

The businessman, who earned a degree in financial management from Clemson University, learned in 2003 that 610 Magnolia, an iconic Louisville restaurant, was set to close, and he felt a calling to step in and buy it, recruiting acclaimed chef Edward Lee from New York’s SoHo neighborhood, to join him.

“It’s too special – I don’t want the place to close its doors,” Smith said he remembered thinking about 610 Magnolia. That partnership led to the Smiths and Lee becoming SFA members after they were invited to SFA’s “Taste of the South” event at Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee.

“John T. Edge has crafted an organization that is very well-run. For Pam and me, the decision to make this gift to the SFA was easy. We feel fortunate to be able to support such great work.”

Individuals and organizations interested in learning more about supporting the SFA’s work can contact Nikki Neely Davis at nlneely@olemiss.edu or 662-915-6678. Gifts also can be made online at http://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift or by mailing a checking with Southern Foodways Alliance in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655.

The Southern Foodways Alliance documents, studies and celebrates the diverse food cultures of the changing American South. A member-supported nonprofit, the SFA sponsors scholarship, mentors students, stages symposia, collects and shares oral histories, and produces and publishes books, films and podcasts. For more information, visit http://www.southernfoodways.org and follow on Twitter @Potlikker.

Documenting the Culinary Wealth of the South

Jim 'N Nick's founder, wife make major gift to Southern Foodways Alliance

Barnard Observatory houses the Center for the Study of Southern Culture and the Southern Foodways Alliance.

Barnard Observatory houses the Southern Foodways Alliance, a nonprofit institute of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture.

OXFORD, Miss. – Nick and Suzanne Pihakis of Birmingham, Alabama, have made a transformative gift to endow the Pihakis Foodways Documentary Fellow, a filmmaking and teaching position at the University of Mississippi and its Southern Foodways Alliance.

Thanks to their generosity, stories of the South’s diverse food cultures will be filmed and produced for posterity and shared with students, researchers and the general public.

For more than a decade leading up to this major gift, Nick Pihakis, who founded Jim ‘N Nick’s Community Bar-B-Q in Birmingham in 1985, has generously underwritten the documentary work of the SFA, a nonprofit institute of UM’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture.

“Nick and Suzanne have long invested their time and money in the cultural and culinary wealth of the American South,” said SFA director John T. Edge. “With this gift, they help ensure that this important work will continue. This watershed gift will resonate for a long, long time.”

Nick Pihakis, who founded Jim ‘N Nick’s Community Bar-B-Q in Birmingham in 1985, and his wife, Suzanne, have contributed a major gift to support the Southern Foodways Alliance, a nonprofit institute in the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture. Photo courtesy Melany Mullens.

Nick Pihakis, who founded Jim ‘N Nick’s Community Bar-B-Q in Birmingham in 1985, and his wife, Suzanne, have contributed a major gift to support the Southern Foodways Alliance, a nonprofit institute in the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture. Photo courtesy Melany Mullens.

Pihakis, who established the business with his late father, Jim Pihakis, has long focused on honest barbecue, community service and locally-sourced crops and goods. A passion for making good food accessible and affordable has driven Jim ‘N Nick’s, led by the younger Pihakis, to become one of the nation’s most respected restaurant groups.

Endowed positions such as this one require a $1.5 million commitment. With investment income from the Pihakis endowment, UM will recruit a documentary fellow to direct films for the SFA and teach documentary classes on the Oxford campus. The start date for the position is expected to be fall 2015.

SFA has long worked with Andy Harper and Joe York of the Southern Documentary Project to make award-winning documentary films, Edge said. This gift will bring a second filmmaker partner to join the SFA team, producing documentaries and teaching students.

Pihakis began contributing to UM in 2004, when the SFA developed a year of foodways programming focused on the state of race relations in the American South. When the SFA staged its Summer Symposium in Birmingham, Pihakis marshaled the resources of his rapidly growing company to make the event a success. Soon after, he developed an innovative philanthropy plan for supporting SFA documentary initiatives, Edge said.

“I thought that what the SFA was doing – telling stories about fried chicken cooks and oystermen and pig farmers and vegetable farmers – was really important,” Pihakis said. “Through food and through hospitality, our company shares those stories. And I think it’s important that our company invest in the documentary work that the SFA does.”

The first investment Pihakis made in 2004 was a commitment to SFA of $2,500 per store annually. Those resources, which are contributed by local owners in markets from Alabama to Colorado, top $75,000 each year. Using Pihakis’ innovative philanthropic strategy, Jim ‘N Nick’s has already given more than $500,000 to support SFA work at the university.

Going forward, Edge said the future looks bright for this cultural partnership because as Jim ‘N Nick’s grows over the next few years, its ongoing SFA contribution will also grow in importance and impact.

Pihakis is proud of this gift. And he’s proud of his relationship with the SFA.

“Working with John T. Edge and his colleagues, I learned so much about the culture of food,” he said. “I recognized that the stories they tell of cooks and farmers are deeply important to my identity and to the identity of the South as a whole. My intent is that our gift ensures that great storytelling work continues for generations to come.”

The Southern Foodways Alliance documents, studies and celebrates the diverse food cultures of the changing American South. The SFA sets a common table where black and white, rich and poor – all who gather – may consider our history and our future in a spirit of reconciliation. A member-supported nonprofit institute of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, the SFA sponsors scholarship, mentors students, stages symposia, collects and shares oral histories, and produces and publishes books, films and podcasts. For more information, visit http://www.southernfoodways.org and follow on Twitter @Potlikker.

For more information, contact Sara Camp Arnold at 662-915-3327 or saracamp@southernfoodways.org.

Business Strengthens Study of Cultural Identity

Cathead Distillery supports UM's Southern Foodways Alliance

Cathead Distillery owners Austin Evans, left, and Richard Patrick have committed support to undergird the efforts of the Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi.

Cathead Distillery owners Austin Evans, left, and Richard Patrick have committed support to undergird the efforts of the Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi.

OXFORD, Miss. – Cathead Distillery has committed long-term support to the Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi, as the company recognizes food as a powerful cultural product of the American South.

Based in Jackson, Cathead Distillery is a longtime supporter of music as an important aspect of cultural identity and plans to provide similar funding to the SFA.

“The SFA is honored to partner with Richard Patrick and Austin Evans of Cathead Distillery,” said John T. Edge, SFA director. “They’re great corporate citizens, committed to investing deeply in the South’s culinary and cultural capital.”

Evans and Patrick founded Cathead Distillery in 2010, as Mississippi’s first legal still since the state repealed Prohibition in 1966. They share a love of Mississippi’s music, folk art, literature and food, and, along with distiller Phillip Ladner, produce a number of vodkas, including several seasonal flavors.

“We’ve known about and worked with the SFA folks for a long time,” Patrick said. “We value their mission to tell stories through food and drink. We see meaning in what the SFA does and the impact they’re making, so supporting them in a larger way was a no-brainer.”

Funds from Cathead Distillery’s investment will help strengthen SFA’s ongoing oral history and film work.

An institute of the university’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture, the SFA recently joined with the College of Liberal Arts to endow a professorship in the growing academic study of foodways on the Oxford campus. The study of foodways provides another important facet for UM students to explore in understanding the world around them. In addition, this scholarly study offers a different avenue for students to gain a heightened sense of various cultures.

Together, Cathead Distillery and the SFA will continue to draw chefs, writers, eaters and drinkers from across the country to the state of Mississippi.

For more information on the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, go to http://southernstudies.olemiss.edu/. For more information on the Southern Foodways Alliance, go to www.southernfoodways.org. For more information on Cathead Distillery, contact Melany Mullens at melany@polishedpigmedia.com or 540-314-8089, or Ashley Zink at ashley@polishedpigmedia.com.

Taking ‘Pride and Joy’ on the Road

Joe York's film selected for South Arts grant for regional tour

OXFORD, Miss. – Joe York is accustomed to traveling the country making documentary films, but he recently toured six cities in nine days as a recipient of a South Arts grant to screen and discuss his film “Pride & Joy.

A feature-length documentary about Southern food in all its regional variations – from beef barbecue in Texas to wild honey in Florida – “Pride & Joy” provides an introduction to how foodways offer insights on the region’s complex history and bright future.

The South Arts Southern Circuit brings the best of independent film to communities across the South. Audiences have seen more than 200 films and have engaged filmmakers in post-screening discussions in more than 50 communities across the Southern U.S. The tour offers audiences a way to connect them with independent filmmakers.

York’s circuit included three cities in Georgia (Suwannee, Hapeville and Madison) and three cities in Louisiana (Lake Charles, Alexandria and Lafayette).

“Whether we had 40 people or we had 150 people, the thing that was impressive was the amount of planning that went into it. It was perfectly coordinated,” said York, a senior producer at the Southern Documentary Project (formerly Media and Documentary Projects), an institute of the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture. “I don’t know if I have ever been a part of something that was so unbelievably well-organized.”

After the film was shown, audiences enthusiastically participated in a question-and-answer session.

“A normal question-and-answer session is maybe 10 or 15 minutes, but we were having question-and-answer sessions for almost an hour,” York said. “So as a filmmaker, it’s really fun to engage with audiences that are as engaged as the Southern Circuit audiences were.”

South Arts has coordinated the circuit since 2006, and more than 100 films and filmmakers toured the circuit since it has been a part of South Arts programming.

“Southern Circuit received hundreds of submissions for the 2013-14 circuit tour,” said senior program director Teresa Hollingsworth. “‘Pride & Joy’ was a great fit for circuit audiences. It’s incredibly relatable and a wonderful celebration of Southern food traditions.”

This season, 18 filmmakers and their films went on tour to 23 communities for 138 screenings, which are funded in part by participation fees and the National Endowment for the Arts.

“Colleges and universities, arts centers, indie-film presenters, museums, etc., apply to participate as screening partners,” Hollingsworth said. “Organizations are selected based on community interest in independent film and their commitment to developing indie film audiences.”

While at first York wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, he quickly got the hang of it. Not only was he screening “Pride & Joy,” but he was performing community outreach and even spoke to the 4-H club at the high school in Madison, Ga.

“I also spoke to a group of freshman from the University of Georgia who were doing a class about Southern culture and history,” York said.

York knew it would be an interesting, whirlwind trip, and he enjoyed the cultural outreach aspect, as he represented the center, the Southern Foodways Alliance and SouthDocs.

“We are really interested in sharing these films in communities where people are hungry for this kind of material, even if they aren’t on the beaten path,” York said.

York was named Food Filmmaker of the Year at the New York Food Film Fest in 2009 and has also won awards at the Oxford Film Festival, the Chicago Food Film Fest and the Crossroads Film Festival in Jackson.

Don’t Miss Pride and Joy, the Newest SFA Feature Documentary

Pride and Joy

OXFORD, Miss. – Pride & Joy, the SFA’s feature documentary by Joe York, is coming to a small screen near you. So near you, in fact, that it’s probably in your living room. (For those of you who haven’t finished your coffee yet, we’re talking about your television.) Here are your chances to catch Pride & Joy on public television in November. Set your DVR and break out the popcorn—or potlikker! Watch the promo film from the University of Mississippi Media and Documentary Projects Center.

Los Angeles: Wed. 11/6, 8 pm, KLCS

Mississippi: Thurs. 11/7, 7 pm, MPB

Amarillo: Thurs. 11/7, 11 am and 4:30 pm, KENW

Charlotte: Thurs. 11/7, 10 pm, WTVI

St. Louis: Sun. 11/10, 4 pm, KETC

Alabama: Thurs. 11/14, 9 pm, AL Public Television

Norfolk: Thurs. 11/14, 10 pm, WHRO

Seattle: Fri. 11/15, noon, KCTS

San Antonio: Thurs. 11/21, 8 pm, KLRN

Las Vegas: Thurs. 11/21, 10 pm, Vegas PBS 2

Denver: Sun. 11/24, 2 pm, KRMA

San Francisco: Mon. 11/25, 10 pm, KQED Life

Tampa: Mon. 11/25, 11 pm, WEDU

Memphis: Mon. 11/25, 9 pm and midnight, WKNO

Baton Rouge: Mon. 11/25, 9 pm, LPB (this screening will reach most of Louisiana except for New Orleans)

Nashville: Tue. 11/26, 8 pm, WNPT

Tallahassee: Wed. 11/27, 8 pm, WFSU

Plattsburgh, NY/Burlington, VT:  Wed. 11/27 at 10 pm and Thur. 11/28 at noon, Mountain Lake PBS