Cornbread Nation 1

The Best of Southern Food Writing

Edited by John Egerton

Cornbread Nation 1

272 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 26 illus.

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-5419-8
    Published: October 2002

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The first volume in what will be an annual collection, Cornbread Nation gathers the best of recent Southern food writing. In fifty entries--original features and selections previously published in magazines and journals--contributors celebrate the people, places, traditions, and tastes of the American South.

In these pages, Nikki Giovanni expresses her admiration for the legendary Edna Lewis, James Villas remembers his friend Craig Claiborne, Rick Bragg thinks back on Thanksgivings at home, Robert Morgan describes the rituals of canning time, and Fred Chappell offers a contrarian's view of iced tea. "Collectively," writes John Egerton, these pieces "buttress our conviction that nothing else the South has to offer to the nation and the world--with the possible exception of its music--is more eternally satisfying, heartwarming, reconciling, and memorable than its food." With the publication of Cornbread Nation, we acknowledge with gratitude the abiding centrality of food in the ongoing life of the South.

Contributors include:

Colman Andrews

Jim Auchmutey

Roy Blount Jr.

Gene Bourg

Rick Bragg

Fred Chappell

Lolis Eric Elie

Damon Lee Fowler

Nikki Giovanni

Jessica Harris

Karen Hess

Jack Hitt

Ted & Matthew Lee

Ronni Lundy

Robert Morgan

James Villas

Robb Walsh

Published in association with the Southern Foodways Alliance, Center for the Study of Southern Culture, University of Mississippi

About the Author

John Egerton is a journalist and author whose books include the award-winning Southern Food: At Home, on the Road, in History and Speak Now Against the Day: The Generation Before the Civil Rights Movement in the South. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee. General editor John T. Edge is executive director of the Southern Foodways Alliance in Oxford, Mississippi. Founded in 1999, the SFA works to celebrate, preserve, promote, and nurture the diverse food cultures of the American South. Its members include scholars, chefs, cookbook authors, journalists, and farmers.

For more information about John Egerton, visit the Author Page.


"[These] essays dwell on fascinating minutiae, such as distinctions among various greens from different parts of the South. . . . Regional collections will want to add each volume of the series when published."--Booklist

"Cornbread draws an endearing culinary portrait of the South, long renowned for its anomalies of habit and culture. . . . Funny, perceptive, and wise, often a touch odd, these evocative writings are a paean to the vanishing South. . . . Provides a soulful, enlightening window on the terroir of Southern cuisine. . . . Even readers north of the Mason-Dixon Line will want to pull up a chair to the convivial Southern table."--BookPage

"Egerton assembles more than four dozen previously published pieces by writers such as Nikki Giovanni and Roy Blount Jr., offering the same serendipitous delights as time spent on a front porch of a summer evening enjoying good food and good talk. This is the first volume in what is to be an annual series and . . . it's a beguiling mix of food lore, encounters with memorable characters, and, of course, the place itself, from swampy bayous to the rolling hills of Appalachia. . . . A delicious feast, as well as a thoughtful celebration of regional culture."--Kirkus Reviews

"This enjoyable collection of essays, short stories, articles, and poems combines some of the best recent writing on Southern food. . . . The book beautifully describes how food has shaped Southern, as well as American, culture. . . . Cornbread Nation 1 will appeal to everyone who has ever experienced a love affair with Southern food."--Southern Living

"A tasty collection. Don't read it on an empty stomach."--Library Journal

"Those who love the South and/or want an evocative portrait of it will find depth, and a side of frivolity, in Cornbread Nation 1. Sign me up for 2."--Charlotte Observer