John Egerton (1935-2013)
We’re remembering one of the true giants of Southern food culture, John Egerton. His book Southern Food: At Home, on the Road, in History, is a seminal work in food writing. Southern Foodways Alliance filmmaker Joe York put together this tribute, using footage he recorded in 2012 at John Egerton’s Nashville home.
An appreciation of Southern Food by Rien Fertel appeared on our site last year:
I discovered Southern Food only a half-dozen years ago. Exiled from New Orleans to New York, I sought out every representation of home I could find. Like many fellow New Orleanians displaced due to the federal levee system failure, I immersed myself in my city’s culture. Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings, Walker Percy’s novels, and the Saints became immensely important. But it was food that became my totemic symbol, my connective cord to a city and a life disappeared. In those first months, I hunted down the few bottles of Crystal hot sauce and Zapp’s potato chips that happened into Northern groceries; I cooked gumbo, red beans, and jambalaya to an obsessive degree. Fearing our recipe literature lost, I compulsively collected local cookbooks and researched Louisiana’s culinary history. Taking up fork and pen, I eventually found my way to Mr. Egerton’s opus.