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The Food We Eat, the Stories We Tell: Contemporary Appalachian Tables edited by Elizabeth S. D. Engelhardt and Lora E. Smith

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Foodways have become such a fad, that it is tempting to respond to a new book on the subject with a ho-hum. NO!  Not this book. It builds on the foundation that previous books have provided. It expands upon their reach. This book of an Introduction and fourteen essays and four poems features writers who are more diverse and well-versed, scholars who are more accomplished, story-tellers who are more proficient, and poets who are more gifted.

“Engelhardt and Smith bring together a diverse group of writers who deftly use foodways to tackle a number of important themes, from identity and power to placemaking and the meaning of ‘Appalachia.’ Working against lingering but misleading and politicized regional signifiers, this riveting and readable book offers a fresh perspective on Appalachia, using foodways as a lens.”—Jessica Wilkerson. “There are several takes on the food of immigrants, from Korea, Mexico, Spain, and Switzerland…. In all, (The Food We Eat, the Stories We Tell) contains a diversity of voices, styles, and cuisines that will be a pleasant surprise to those unfamiliar with the region.”—Booklist. Elizabeth S. D. Engelhardt holds a distinguished professorship at the University of North Carolina named after Lisa Alther’s brother, the distinguished sociologist of the South, John Shelton Reed. She claims forbears in Western North Carolina in the 1700s. Of her many books, my favorite title and content had got to be, The Tangled Roots of Feminism, Environmentalism, and Appalachian Literature. Lora E. Smith directs the Appalachian Impact Fund, a social impact investment fund focused on economic transition and opportunity in Eastern Kentucky. In 2015, Lora accepted the John Egerton Prize from the Southern Foodways Alliance for her work with the Appalachian Food Summit and supporting local agriculture movements in Central Appalachia. Among the many accomplishments of John Egerton (1935-2013) was that he was one of the first to write deeply about Southern foodways. Lora E. Smith lives on a farm in Jackson County, Kentucky. 

Athens: Ohio University Press, 2019. 207pages with an Afterword by Ronnie Lundy and illustrations. Trade paperback