Secrets of the Southern Table: A Food Lover's Tour of the Global South
Virginia Willis is a longtime friend of Alabama Chanin, as we both share a love of Southern food and culture, locally sourced ingredients and sustainability, the Southern Foodways Alliance, and real, honest storytelling. Secrets of the Southern Table includes some of what most consider “traditional” Southern food, but also includes stories and recipes that might seem unexpected. She studies the farmers who grow and harvest ingredients across the South, African influences on ingredients and technique, the Florida seafood fishermen who both farm and seek to sustain their bountiful sea life, the largely-unrecognized Vietnamese shrimpers in Texas, the “Appalachicanos” – Mexican Americans living in Appalachia, and many others whose histories and ethnic backgrounds have always influenced Southern fare. Secrets of the Southern Table, featuring photographs from longtime Alabama Chanin friend and collaborator Angie Mosier, attempts to welcome all influences to the kitchen and highlight diverse and seldom-recognized food narratives and delicious recipes. As chef Sean Brock writes in the book’s foreword, “there is a misconception around the world that Southern food is a singular cuisine.” Willis’ book seeks to feature some of the untold stories of our complex food culture.