Synopses & Reviews
How does Southern food look from the outside? The form is caught in constantly dueling stereotypes: It’s so often imagined as either the touchingly down-home feast or the heartstopping health scourge of a nation. But as any Southern transplant will tell you once they’ve spent time in the region, Southerners share their lives in food, with a complex mix of stories of belonging and not belonging and of traditions that form identities of many kinds.
Cornbread Nation 7, edited by Francis Lam, brings together the best Southern food writing from recent years, including well-known food writers such as Sara Roahen and Brett Anderson, a couple of classic writers such as Langston Hughes, and some newcomers. The collection, divided into five sections (“Come In and Stay Awhile,” “Provisions and Providers,” “Five Ways of Looking at Southern Food,” “The South, Stepping Out,” and “Southerners Going Home”), tells the stories both of Southerners as they move through the world and of those who ended up in the South. It explores from where and from whom food comes, and it looks at what food means to culture and how it relates to home.
Praise for earlier editions of Cornbread Nation:
“Could ultimately be the best ongoing collection of food writing in America today.”—Edible Memphis
“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.”—Charleston Magazine
“An annual feast of food writing.”—New Orleans Times-Picayune
“Rich with food lore.”—Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"Cornbread Nation 7 is American regionalism at its finest. It’s a splendid collection of tales of Southerners traveling abroad, immigrants journeying to the South, and children of immigrants living in the South and then reflecting on their heritage. Through the meticulous efforts of guest editor Francis Lam, on behalf of the Southern Foodways Alliance and general editor John T. Edge, we have been bestowed with this gem." —Shyam K. Sriram, PopMatters
“‘Love’ and ‘home’ (including homes far from the South) show up more than once in this book, but please don’t fear Crock-Pots of sentimentality. The subject– this great, complicated subject of Southern food, Southern food history and chefs, the habits and humors and rules that go in and around and behind our food– is here described and analyzed and eulogized by some of the South’s finest writers.” —Clyde Edgerton, Garden & Gun
“The writings in Cornbread Nation 7 are as varied as the South itself. Some of the authors were born Southern, some come from away, but their love for and connection with the South and its food bring them all together. . . . Their works show how the South is changing with outside influences, while keeping its own identity. Even if you’re not a die-hard ‘foodie’, anyone with an interest in food or Southern culture can enjoy this book.” —Zinia Randles, Tennessee Libraries
About the Author
Francis Lam is editor-at-large at Clarkson Potter. He appears at the Critics’ Table in the fifth season of Top Chef Masters (Bravo). He was features editor at Gilt Taste, which was awarded six IACP awards and four James Beard award nominations in its first two years. His own writing has been nominated for a James Beard award and three IACP awards, winning one. He has served as senior writer at Salon.com and a contributing editor at Gourmet, and his work has appeared in the 2006–13 editions of Best Food Writing. John T. Edge is the director of the Southern Foodways Alliance at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi. He is the author or editor of more than a dozen books, including the foodways volume of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture.