On Thursday, December 5, at 6pm, editors Elizabeth Engelhardt and Lora Smith of the new anthology The Food We Eat, The Stories We Tell: Contemporary Appalachian Tables (Ohio University Press, Nov. 2019) will be joined by book contributors Courtney Balestier, Danille Christensen, and Emily Hilliard for a reading and book signing at Taylor Books in Charleston (226 Capitol St.). The event is free and open to the public.
With chapters exploring topics from Blue Ridge tacos to kimchi with soup beans and cornbread, family stories hiding in cookbook marginalia to African American mountain gardens, this wide-ranging anthology presents the breadth and depth of foodways traditions in the Mountain South. Diverse contributors show us that contemporary Appalachian tables and the stories they hold offer new ways into understanding past, present, and future American food practices. The poets, scholars, fiction writers, journalists, and food professionals in these pages show us that what we eat gives a beautifully full picture of Appalachia, where it’s been, and where it’s going.
Writer and Morgantown native Courtney Balestier will read from her chapter “Eating to Go,” which considers the foodways and culture Appalachians who migrated north via the Hillbilly Highway brought with them to Detroit. West Virginia state folklorist Emily Hilliard will read from her chapter, “‘The Reason We Make These Deep-Fat-Fried Treats’: In Conversation with the Rosettes of Helvetia, West Virginia,” based on fieldwork conducted through the West Virginia Folklife Program at the West Virginia Humanities Council. Other book contributors include Karida L. Brown, Robert Gipe, Suronda Gonzalez, Rebecca Gayle Howell, Ronni Lundy, George Ella Lyon, and Crystal Wilkinson.
Of the new collection, writer Silas House notes, “This book fairly bursts with a bounty of words—and wonderful illustrations—that manage to articulate just why food is so important in the way it connects and sustains us. I didn’t realize how much Appalachian Literature needed a book like this until I sat down and devoured the whole thing.”
For more information on The Food We Eat and a full list of contributors, visit Ohio University Press.