This week on Eat Your Words, host Talia Ralph gets into the meat and grits of Southern food with Francis Lam, Top Chef judge, food writer, and the editor of Cornbread Nation 7, an anthology of the best southern food writing in recent years. From its hazy geographic boundaries to the wealth and layering of cultures and tastes, the Southern United States is more than just a spot on the map. Lam — himself a self-described honorary Southerner, hailing from New Jersey — addresses some tough questions about the Dixie and its foodways. He also shares his own misguided preconceptions and stories about Southern hospitality. Is Virginia the south? Is Miami, Florida? Are you still Southern if you’ve lived in New York for the last 10 years? Yes, yes and yes, according to this expansive collection of writing. Curious? Craving some good quality barbecue talk? Tune in to this episode for more! This program was brought to you by Edwards VA Ham.
“The idea of what it means to be Southern is in a lot of ways is the idea of what it means to be American – rightly or wrongly!” [05:00]
“I’ve intellectually come to realize you can’t just broadly paint stereotypes of people and be comfortable with them. If you told me who I thought I would meet in Mississippi when I was 16, I’d be so embarrassed with what my 16 year self would say.” [12:00]
“I think Southern food has become the national regional cuisine. We like the idea that it’s a regional cuisine because it makes it seem more real. The fact that the South is perceived as being tradition minded feeds into that idea.” [29:00]
–Francis Lam on Eat Your Words