Join us as we welcome Emily Blejwas to Ernest & Hadley Books! She will sign and discuss her new book: The Story of Alabama in Fourteen Foods, a historical food book. Signing starts at 4:30 pm, reading and discussion at 5:00 pm.
The Story of Alabama in Fourteen Foods explores well-known Alabama food traditions to reveal salient histories of the state in a new way. In this book that is part history, part travelogue, and part cookbook, Emily Blejwas pays homage to fourteen emblematic foods, dishes, and beverages, one per chapter, as a lens for exploring the diverse cultures and traditions of the state.
Throughout Alabama's history, food traditions have been fundamental to its customs, cultures, regions, social and political movements, and events. Each featured food is deeply rooted in Alabama identity and has a story with both local and national resonance. Blejwas focuses on lesser-known food stories from around the state, illuminating the lives of a diverse populace: Poarch Creeks, Creoles of color, wild turkey hunters, civil rights activists, Alabama club women, frontier squatters, Mardi Gras revelers, sharecroppers, and Vietnamese American shrimpers, among others. A number of Alabama figures noted for their special contributions to the state's foodways, such as George Washington Carver and Georgia Gilmore, are profiled as well. Alabama's rich food history also unfolds through accounts of community events and a food-based economy. Highlights include Sumter County barbecue clubs, Mobile's banana docks, Appalachian Decoration Days, cane syrup making, peanut boils, and eggnog parties.
Drawing on historical research and interviews with home cooks, chefs, and community members cooking at local gatherings and for holidays, Blejwas details the myths, legends, and truths underlying Alabama's beloved foodways. With nearly fifty color illustrations and fifteen recipes, The Story of Alabama in Fourteen Foods will allow all Alabamians to more fully understand their shared cultural heritage.
Emily Blejwas is the author of the novel Once You Know This and director of the Gulf States Health Policy Center in Bayou La Batre, Alabama.