Foodies, scholars and bibliophiles will come together at a special BookPeople event featuring a reading and signing by Elizabeth Engelhardt, associate professor of American Studies and author of “A Mess of Greens: Southern Gender and Southern Food” (University of Georgia Press, 2011) at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20.
Special guests will include Carol Ann Sayle, of Boggy Creek Farm, and Stephanie McClenny, of Confituras. Enjoy special tastings inspired by the book along with Saint Arnold Brewing Company beverages.
About the book: Combining the study of food culture with gender studies and using perspectives from historical, literary, environmental and American studies, Engelhardt examines what Southern women’s choices about food tell us about race, class, gender and social power.
Shaken by the legacies of Reconstruction and the turmoil of the Jim Crow era, different races and classes came together in the kitchen, often as servants and mistresses but also as people with shared tastes and traditions. Generally focused on elite whites or poor blacks, Southern foodways are often portrayed as stable and unchanging—even as an untroubled source of nostalgia.
“A Mess of Greens” offers a different perspective, taking into account industrialization, environmental degradation, and women’s increased role in the work force, all of which caused massive economic and social changes.
Engelhardt reveals a broad middle of Southerners that included poor whites, farm families, and middle and working-class African Americans, for whom the stakes of what counted as southern food were very high.
About the author: Having grown up in western North Carolina and spent much of her life in the South, Engelhardt is dedicated to preserving Southern culinary heritage. Her other books include “Republic of Barbecue: Stories Beyond the Brisket” (University of Texas Press, 2009), “Beyond Hill and Hollow: Original Readings in Appalachian Women’s Studies” (Ohio University Press, 2005), and “Tangled Roots of Feminism, Environmentalism, and Appalachian Literature” (Ohio University Press, 2003). She is the coordinator of the Southern Foodways Alliance’s Texas branch of the Southern Barbecue Trail Oral History Collection.
BookPeople is located at 603 N. Lamar Blvd. Visit the BookPeople website for more about the event.
Fore more about “A Mess of Greens,” read Engelhardt’s Q&A.