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Devouring Literature

Devouring Literature
May 2010
The new Cornbread Nation 5 takes readers on a scrumptious tour through Southern foodways

A Kentucky country ham festival, a Tennessee truffle farm, author Barbara Kingsolver’s own 50th birthday party. Reading Cornbread Nation 5 is like taking a road trip to deliciously obscure spots all over the region, filling up on barbecue, chicken mull, and honeysuckle sorbet along the way.

This delectable anthology is the latest in a series begun a decade ago by the Southern Foodways Alliance. A diverse array of contributors gather round the virtual table—from celebrated writers like Roy Blount Jr. and John Egerton to James Beard Award-winning chefs and authors to Charleston School of Law professor John Simpkins, whose humorous “Praise Wine” explains how the kosher drink led to his “appreciation for being a black Jew.”

And as Fred W. Sauceman—the volume’s serendipitously named editor—notes in the book’s introduction, the end result is a portrayal of “an evolving South, a South of ever-changing ethnicities and attitudes, yet a South still rooted in the everlasting truth of corn and beans.”

To start your own journey, pick up a copy at Blue Bicycle Books. Reading will likely lead to cooking as your love for red velvet cake is rekindled and your curiosity about “poor man’s pâté” (aka livermush) piqued. Luckily, recipes follow many of the essays, encouraging readers to keep culinary customs alive one homemade specialty at a time.