Heirloom is beyond excited to host the May edition of the Athens Chefs Dinner. The meal this month is inspired by the Food History of the Modern South as told in John T. Edge’s newest book, The Potlikker Papers. John T. Edge will be dining with us for the evening, and the event will begin at 6:00 with a signature cocktail reception featuring Edge reading from the book and signing copies. Peter Dale of The National, Patrick Stubbers of Seabear Oyster Bar, Mimi Maumus of Home.Made, Richard Neal of 5&10, and Jarad Blanton of The Last Resort will round out our chef roster, hosted by Heirloom’s chef and pastry chef, Joel Penn and Nicholle Bath. The dinner will be $80 for an individual and $130 per couple, and the price includes a copy of the book. Avid Bookshop will be onsite to sell additional copies of the book. All profits from the event will benefit Community Support for Families in Crisis, a local non-profit that provides support and advocates for Athens-area families in crisis because of immigration detentions and deportations. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 706-354-7901.
John T. Edge has special ties to Athens. A UGA alumnus, Edge is also a nonfiction mentor in the UGA low residency Master of Fine Arts in Narrative Media Writing program. He journeys to Athens from his home in Oxford, Mississippi at the beginning of each semester to help mold the future generations of long form journalists in this country. At Heirloom, we were first introduced to Edge through his work as director of the Southern Foodways Alliance, an organization out of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi that serves to document, study, and explore the diverse food cultures of the changing American South through work with oral history, film, documentaries, podcasts, events, and great writing. In addition to his work with SFA, Edge is a two time James Beard Award winner, a contributing editor at Garden & Gun, and a columnist for The Oxford American. Edge has written or edited over a dozen books, wrote the regular column, “United Tastes” for The New York Times, and has served as the culinary curator for the weekend edition of NPR’s All Things Considered.
The Potlikker Papers tells the history of the modern South through the story of its food. Edge examines how race, gender, class, immigration, and politics have shaped our understanding of Southern food over the past sixty years, starting with food access struggles of the 1950s and 1960s, moving through the back to the land movement of the 1970s, the gentrification of Southern restaurants in the 1980s, a reconnection between farmers and cooks in the 1990s, and finishing with a focus on the newer South in the 2000s and 2010s, enriched by the immigrant cultures that have come to find the South their new home. Throughout the book, Edge profiles important figures in Southern food history. Ultimately, The Potlikker Papers examines the ways in which marginalized groups have been able to regain power through their contribution to Southern food.