Monday, October 18, 2010

A gumbo pot of goodness: The SFA Community Cookbook

I woke up this morning with a little extra pep in my step. Why? Because this Thursday kicks-off the 13th annual Southern Foodways Symposium in Oxford, Mississippi.

If you've never heard of the SFA Symposium, it's like Mardi Gras, the greatest family reunion, and the coolest work trip imaginable all rolled into one. For real.

To be fair, while the Symposium always yields plenty of fun, there's also an equal amount of serious culinary scholarship and field study.  This year's topic: The Global South (an especially fresh perspective for those who think of the South as strictly "a land of Native American, West African, and Western European peoples.").

One way to serve up a taste of this Global South at your supper table is by picking up a copy of The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook (University of Georgia Press). This just-released cookbook really does represent the enormous gumbo pot of cultures, foodways, and ingredients that make up today's South. From Sriracha and Citrus Rémoulade, Grape-Leaf Pickles, and Piccalilli to Buttermilk Biscuits, Coconut Layer Cake, and Skillet-Fried Okra.  It's all here.

But what puts the "community" in this gem, is the diversity of Southern cooks who've contributed recipes and personal stories.  From high to low, uptown restaurant chefs to somebody's grandma, everyone is welcome at this grand Southern table.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a date with a batch of Cheerwine Barbecue Sauce (one of my favorite recipes in the book) before I hit the road for Oxford.  Happy cooking.

Cheerwine Barbecue Sauce
Makes about 21/2 cups
Best served over grilled bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs.

1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 cup ketchup
1 cup Cheerwine (not diet)
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup A-1 sauce
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
2 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar

Melt butter in a heavy 2-quart saucepan over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Whisk in the ketchup, Cheerwine, Worcestershire sauce, A-1 sauce, cayenne, pepper, mustard, and vinegar.  Bring the sauce to a boil; reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, about 20  minutes.  Cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate until chilled.

Sara Gibbs of Taylorsville, Kentucky
The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook
(2010, University of Georgia Press)

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  1. I was thrilled to find Cheerwine at the WalMart Market here in Bham-I went to grad school in Chapel Hill and have missed it since then!

  2. Yeah, Cheerwine's pretty if I can just get my kids to like it.