‘‘Luncheon with Books’ examines women working with food

Amy Evans, lead oral historian with The Southern Foodways Alliance, came to speak on the way women worked and still work.  This is in conjunction with the Smithsonian traveling exhibit, “The Way We Worked” and there were many images on the wall in the library about the way women work in general and the way women work with food.

“The Way We Worked” exhibit is currently on display at the Union County Heritage Museum.
Jill Smith, director of the museum, said, “This exhibit has made us examine who we are, where we came from, and where we are going.”

One of the topics of Evan’s research examines the ways that women work with food.
Evans travels the region to interview barbecue pitmasters, hot tamale makers, sweet potato farmers, and more.

“Southern food is on the rise all over this country and all over the world. People from all over want to experience Southern food and the Southern way of life. But we are losing the keepers of this food knowledge. At the Southern Foodways Alliance, we want to document their stories and meet with these people who grow, serve, and cook food,” said Evans. “We did a lot of field work around the South documenting women workers and women farmers and entrepreneurs. We also looked at Southern women outside of the regional South.”

Evans showed the audience four videos that focused on food in various ways. She showed various videos, including one about a BBQ pitmaster named Helen Turner based out of Brownsville, Tenn., a lady in the Delta that focuses on the Lebanese culture in Mississippi, a lady named Fernay McPherson that runs a soul food truck out of San Francisco, and a video about the wonders of pimento cheese in the South.

She added, “We really wanted to celebrate women entrepreneurs that we feel are really amazing women that are doing so many amazing things.”