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North Carolina on the Map and in the News

FOODWAYS AND THE STORY OF NORTH CAROLINA a review by Joanne Joy Vivian Howard. Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2016. Randall Kenan, editor. The Carolina Table: North Carolina Writers on Food. Hillsborough, NC: Eno Publishers, 2016.

JOANNE JOY has an MA in English from UNC Charlotte and a certificate in Technology and Communications from UNC Chapel Hill. She is currently working on a project to document and preserve recipes in North Carolina. VIVIAN HOWARD, originally from Deep Run, NC, is a chef and television personality. She is the star of A Chef’s Life, which is currently in its fifth season. In 2016, Howard won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Food Personality and a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Directing in a Lifestyle/Culinary/ Travel Program. In 2017, she was named a Tar Heel of the Year by the News & Observer. Read more about her in the 2018 print issue. RANDALL KENAN’s books include A Visitation of Spirits (Grove Press, 1989), Let the Dead Bury Their Dead (Harcourt, Brace, 1992), and Walking on Water: Black American Lives at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century (Alfred A. Knopf, 1999). Among his honors are a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, the Sherwood Anderson Award, and the North Carolina Award for Literature. In 2018, he will be inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame. Currently, he is a professor in the English and Comparative Literature Department at UNC Chapel Hill. Essays featuring Kenan can be read in NCLR 2006, 2008, 2011, and 2012, and he was interviewed for NCLR Online 2017.

Southern food is trendy. Across the country, highly praised establishments from San Francisco to Brooklyn serve up Southern culture through staples like fried chicken, greens, and biscuits. Southern food is iconic and its widespread popularity offers the opportunity to tell the stories of the people who claim diverse traditions across the region. Arguably, food born of the South is linked to a profound sense of place and identity. Likewise are the foodways specific to the regions of North Carolina. Two new books – in very different genres – shed light on what food traditions mean to the people of the state. The collection of essays in The Carolina Table: North Carolina Writers on Food, edited by award-winning fiction and nonfiction writer Randall Kenan, gives us an expansive view of North Carolina food culture and identity, while highly acclaimed chef Vivian Howard of Kinston, NC, zeroes in on her community in Lenoir County and Eastern North Carolina through the lens of foodways in her cookbook/memoir, Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South.

Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste; Or, Meditations on Transcendental Gastronomy, 1825, trans. M.F.K. Fisher, 1949 (New York: Knopf, 2009) 15.

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identity in The Carolina Table: North Carolina Writers on Food. This collection of personal narratives is a healthy exploration of how food and memory are inextricably woven into the fabric of individual and regional identity. Edited by Randall Kenan, the collection, penned by diverse writers, cooks, and scholars with ties to North Carolina, is a testament to the notion that foodways are truly transformative. The thirty essays are not just stories about food. Rather, as Kenan notes, each narrative embodies “The story of the Tar Heel state through food” (7). As the writers recall personal experiences, food is the vehicle for celebrating formative relationships: Marianne Gingher and her cakebaking grandmother, Ruth; Nancie McDermott and her chicken pie-toting great aunt Julia; Wayne Caldwell’s mother, Ruby, who equated his fullness with being “safe and loved” (30). As journalist John Egerton wrote in his iconic book, Southern Food: At Home, on the Road, in History, “Because it is such an integral part of the culture, Southern food provides an excellent entree to the people and their times.”2 Whether intentionally or not, each writer makes profound connections between the ingredients or dishes and the experiences with the people in each of their lives. Many of the essays, like Crook’s Corner chef Bill Smith’s “Hard

“Tell me what you eat, and I shall tell you what you are.” This sentiment, thrust into the English vernacular by celebrated writer, M.F.K. Fisher in her 1949 translation of The Physiology of Taste,1 describes how food facilitates 1

N C L R ONLINE

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John Egerton, Southern Food: At Home, on the Road, in History (New York: Knopf, 1993). A well-respected journalist in the South whose career spanned decades, John Egerton organized members of the Southern food community to found the Southern Foodways Alliance at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi in 1999. His founding mission, to document and preserve the foodways of the South, became the foundation for further study of race, class, gender, ethnicity, and social justice of the region through the lens of food.

North Carolina Literary Review Online 2018  

A literary review published online annually by East Carolina University and by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association.

North Carolina Literary Review Online 2018  

A literary review published online annually by East Carolina University and by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association.

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