Haven’t heard of the Southern Foodways Alliance? Well, you will next year. The organization is planning a symposium in 2013 right here where the South began (according to Richmonders, anyway).
Based at the University of Mississippi, the organization does anything and everything to preserve and promote the cultural traditions of Southern food: Essays are written, anthologies compiled and field trips that focus on food are organized to locations all around the South. Since 1999, the SFA has been the biggest flag-waver for Southern food, while at the same time doing serious academic work to document and preserve its cultural traditions.
As Southern food has hit the mainstream over the last couple of years, SFA’s annual symposium — a three-day, themed event held all over Oxford, Miss., with food, speakers, performances and tours — has become increasingly popular. In fact, this year’s event, “Barbecue: An Exploration of Pitmaster, Places, Smoke, and Sauce,” sold out within 12 minutes of the email notice hitting members’ inboxes.
John T. Edge says, "After a week in Richmond, scouting a potential SFA Field Trip, Melissa Hall and I knew we had too much material to tell the stories we wanted in a weekend Field Trip format. From Chicken, the limeade queen, to Mary Randolph, author of the The Virginia House-Wife, the women of Richmond offer compelling narratives that address the role of women in Southern food culture. ... We recognize Richmond as a city with a distinctive food history and a really bright future. It also helps that we fell hard for the food at MaMusu's [Africanne on Main] and a dozen other places. As for details, June is the likely month and The Jefferson is our likely HQ."
Expect food writers, chefs and food enthusiasts to flock to the city next summer.
So, what are you waiting for? Only members can attend — here’s a link to sign up and get that membership started: http://southernfoodways.org/membership/join_online.html