Mountain Food Myths and Memories: A Conversation with Erica Abrams Locklear

Mountain Food Myths and Memories: A Conversation with Erica Abrams Locklear

| 05:30 pm - 06:30 pm

Please join us for a conversation with Erica Abrams Locklear, author of Appalachia on the Table: Representing Mountain Food and People (University of Georgia Press), and Josina Guess, assistant editor for Sojourners Magazine, to discuss Locklear's book and how long-held preconceptions about Appalachian foodways color our perception of the region and its people. 

This event is free and open to the public, but reservations are requested.

RSVP to Leandra Nessel at Books will be available for purchase from the University of Georgia Press and the author will sign copies after the event.

About the Book: When her mother passed along a cookbook made and assembled by her grandmother, Erica Abrams Locklear thought she knew what to expect. But rather than finding a homemade cookbook full of apple stack cake, leather britches, pickled watermelon, or other “traditional” mountain recipes, Locklear discovered recipes for devil’s food cake with coconut icing, grape catsup, and fig pickles. Some recipes even relied on food products like Bisquick, Swans Down flour, and Calumet baking powder. Where, Locklear wondered, did her Appalachian food script come from? And what implicit judgments had she made about her grandmother based on the foods she imagined she would have been interested in cooking?

Appalachia on the Table argues, in part, that since the conception of Appalachia as a distinctly different region from the rest of the South and the United States, the foods associated with the region and its people have often been used to socially categorize and stigmatize mountain people. Rather than investigate the actual foods consumed in Appalachia, Locklear instead focuses on the representations of foods consumed, implied moral judgments about those foods, and how those judgments shape reader perceptions of those depicted. The question at the core of Locklear’s analysis asks, How did the dominant culinary narrative of the region come into existence and what consequences has that narrative had for people in the mountains?

About the Author and Moderator

Erica Abrams Locklear is a professor of English and the Thomas Howerton Distinguished Professor of Humanities at the University of North Carolina Asheville. She is the author of Appalachia on the Table: Representing Mountain Food and People (University of Georgia Press) and Negotiating a Perilous Empowerment: Appalachian Women’s Literacies (Ohio University Press), as well as various other essays. She is a seventh-generation Western North Carolinian who loves good food, books, and conversation.

Josina Guess is assistant editor for Sojourners Magazine. Her essays, book reviews, features, and profiles have appeared in Oxford AmericanFourth GenreEcotone, and more. She is a contributor to Bigger Than Bravery: Black Resilience in a Time of Pandemic edited by Valerie Boyd (Lookout Books). She has also served as senior writer, assistant, and managing editor for The Bitter Southerner.

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Leandra Nessel
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