Recipe: Ginger-Peach Soda

Debbie Moose’s recipe for Ginger-Peach Soda uses fresh ginger and peaches—a refreshing companion for those warm summer evenings on the porch.

Recipe: Oven-Fried Okra

Today’s recipe is from Virginia Willis’s Okra. Chef and food writer Willis hails from Atlanta and is author of Bon Appétit, Y’all, Basic to Brilliant, Y’all, and the James Beard Award-winning Lighten Up, Y’all. Willis sure knows her okra, too! Fried okra is a Southern favorite, and Willis prepares hers in the oven instead of a deep fryer. Oven-fried okra pairs perfectly with barbecue, or on its own as a delectable snack!

Robert G. Parkinson: The Last News Story of Colonial America

What was the tipping point that pushed Americans into taking the step of declaring their independence? After all, the colonies had been at war with Britain for more than a year by the end of the spring of 1776. The other factor most attributed to causing independence, Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, was five months old by that time. What changed in May 1776 to encourage patriot political leaders in both the Continental Congress and in many of the separate colonial assemblies to support severing ties with Britain? What produced a sudden support for independence?

The Germans were coming.

Laura Visser-Maessen: How Exploring Bob Moses’s 1960s Civil Rights Activism in Mississippi Can Modify America’s Current Terrorism Debate

Paris is only a five hour drive from my home in the Netherlands. I have strolled its streets many times, undoubtedly also those covered in blood after the November 2015 attacks. I have also passed through San Bernardino, California, and have stood regularly at the former World Trade Center site. Yet as I commemorate those victims of religious terrorism, I cannot but remember my meetings with black civil rights activist Bob Moses and his colleagues of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Their haunting tales of life in Mississippi in the 1960s wryly challenge some politicians’ and media pundits’ current claim to exclusivity for the term “terrorism” only in relation to Islam, reminding us that the most bloody and consistent trajectory of terrorism in the United States occurred under the banner of white supremacy.

Video: Mahershala Ali on Narrating ‘The Free State of Jones’ for Audible

In the following video, Actor Mahershala Ali (House of Cards) shares his experience transforming The Free State of Jones: Mississippi’s Longest Civil War into an audiobook for Audible.

Recipe: Cajun Hen Gumbo

Today’s recipe is from Dale Curry’s Gumbo. Curry, who served as the New Orleans Times-Picayune food editor for twenty years, is the author of New Orleans Home Cooking. She now writes about food for New Orleans Magazine. Curry’s recipe features a favorite gumbo ingredient in southwest Louisiana: Cajun Cornish hen! Enjoy this gumbo over rice for a hearty meal with family and friends this weekend.

Laura Visser-Maessen: Bob Moses’s Lessons on the Meaning of Citizenship We Need in Today’s Race Debates

After the 2015 riots in Baltimore and elsewhere, I was struck—though not surprised—by many of the media’s depictions of its black inhabitants, as if they were irrational, self-defeating hoodlums, rather than emphasizing stories like that of Wayne, one of several hundred students in Baltimore’s public schools who participate in the Algebra Project (AP). Wayne had been kicked out of several schools until his AP involvement made him realize “what I can do inside of school and how I can help other people.”

Recipe: Penne with Sausage and Collard Greens

Today’s recipe is from Thomas Head’s Greens: a Savor the South® cookbook. Head, a native of Louisiana, lives in Washington, D.C. He is coeditor of The Happy Table of Eugene Walter: Southern Spirits in Food and Drink. In today’s recipe, Head begins with a Southern staple—collard greens—and takes it to another level by preparing it with Parmesan, penne, and pork! This dish is a breeze to prepare, and is a splendid substitute for “spaghetti night” during hectic summer months.

Catherine A. Stewart: Looking Backward: On Memory and the Challenges of Oral History

My mother and her only sibling, my aunt, are losing their memories. Though their short-term memory has all but disappeared, their shared memories of childhood still remain vivid. One of their neurologists described the brain’s storage of memory and the onset of dementia as a file cabinet, with the most recently filed folders disappearing first, and the ones stored long ago as the last to go.

Recipe: Catfish Burgers

Today’s recipe is from Paul and Angela Knipple’s Catfish: a Savor the South® cookbook. Paul and Angela are coauthors of The World in a Skillet: A Food Lover’s Tour of the New American South and Farm Fresh Tennessee. Frequent contributors to Edible Memphis and other periodicals, they live in Memphis. They also make a mean catfish burger, which is the star of today’s post! Whether you’re a seasoned catfisher or prefer to purchase catfish fillets at your local market, catfish burgers are the perfect way to make your summer simply scrumptious. Enjoy them with family and friends this weekend for a savory Southern feast!

Stan Ulanski: Sperm Whales: Demons of the Sea?

In the movie In the Heart of the Sea, based upon Nathaniel Philbrick’s best-selling book of the same title, an enraged sperm whale twice rams the whale ship Essex. In a matter of minutes, the Essex starts sinking and capsizes on its port side, leaving its crew stranded on the vast Pacific in three small and under-provisioned whale boats.

But about ten years before the sinking of the Essex in 1820, an even more cunning and fearsome whale received widespread notoriety throughout the whaling community and even among the general public.

Benjamin René Jordan: “Are you a Boy Scout?” The Youth Historian’s Dilemma

“Are you a Boy Scout?” I am frequently asked this question at history conferences or during social conversations after stating that I study early American Boy Scouting. Perhaps it’s my short haircut, or my normative white guy appearance. The question may also stem from an (accurate) perception that many current and former Boy Scouts and adult leaders are enthusiastic readers and amateur producers of histories of the organization and their local councils, troops, and summer camps. Scout history associations, newsletters, websites, networks, and historical memorabilia swap meets facilitate the exchange and consumption of such histories and memories. Thus, conference audiences and other people I meet are often confused when I report that I was not a Boy Scout. They seem surprised that somebody would study a youth organization like Scouting if that person had not been a member. I suspect other historians who study youth organizations and summer camps get similar queries.

Tamara Plakins Thornton: The Global Village, Eighteenth-Century Style

Last July, when wreckage from Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 washed ashore on Réunion, a typical response was something like “where?” The New York Times described the Indian Ocean island as “a French department about 4,000 miles from Europe,” adding that “if people had heard about it before, it was most likely because of bad publicity surrounding shark attacks or an epidemic of chikungunya.” So much for the world getting ever smaller. Over two centuries earlier, in the seaport town of Salem, Massachusetts, the island was well-known. Many was the Salem vessel that set sail for this isolated speck round the Cape of Good Hope.

Recipe: Southern Reuben

Today’s recipe is from Belinda Ellis’ Biscuits: a Savor the South® cookbook. Ellis is editor of Edible Piedmont, a North Carolina food magazine, and a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance. Her recipe is a Southern take on a Reuben Sandwich, made with rye biscuits instead of traditional rye bread. This sandwich is scrumptious for lunch, dinner, and even breakfast!

Recipe: Soft Refrigerator Honeysuckle Jelly

Today’s recipe is from Andrea Weigl’s Pickles and Preserves: a Savor the South® cookbook. Weigl is the food writer for the Raleigh News & Observer and lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her recipe transforms a childhood favorite—honeysuckle flowers—into a unique jelly! Spread it on toast or enjoy over fresh fruit for a nostalgic treat.

Interview: Charles O. Pilkey and Orrin H. Pilkey on Lessons from the Sand

Q: Who is the primary audience for this book?

Charles Pilkey: The book is intended for families with kids up to middle school age. We hope parents will do the activities together with their children.

Orrin Pilkey: We also think that the activities herein are a goldmine for high school students doing science projects. The activities could give older kids a start, and they can follow up and proceed into the wild blue yonder as far as their imagination will carry them.

Steven E. Nash: Who Was Virgil Lusk?

It was a cold, rainy December afternoon when my wife finally asked the question: “Who was Virgil Lusk?” It was a fair question. After all, I had dragged her around Asheville’s historic Riverside Cemetery for well over an hour trying to locate his grave. With each grave adorned with a miniature Confederate battle flag, my frustration mounted. Lusk was a Confederate soldier. So why was my strategy of driving toward those flags not producing any results? Was his flag missing? Who was Virgil Lusk?

Catherine A. Stewart: Having an Honest Conversation about Slavery—Now and Then

But this current conversation is not the first time Americans and political leaders have attempted to talk honestly about slavery. In the 1930s, the federal government began an unprecedented and revolutionary discussion of slavery and its legacy by hiring unemployed writers to interview the last living generation of African Americans to have experienced slavery. The Federal Writers’ Ex-Slave Project sparked conversations between direct descendants of Confederate slaveholders and former slaves. This project, with its radical objective of recovering and reclaiming African Americans’ experiences with slavery and freedom, along with its failings and limitations, has much to tell us about why conversations about the past of slavery remain so difficult for Americans today.

Robert G. Parkinson: The Shot Heard Round the World Revisited

Sixty years after the battle, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote a triumphant hymn to the “embattled farmers” of Concord, Massachusetts who gathered at the “rude bridge that arched the flood” underneath “their flag to April’s breeze unfurled” and “fired the shot heard round the world.” Emerson solemnized the “spirit that made those heroes dare / to die, or leave their children free.” Emerson’s imagery added to the already thick layers of mythology surrounding the events of April 19, 1775, fusing together nature and nation to craft an American pastoral patriotism. Ever since, when Americans think about the start of the Revolution, it is Emerson’s chorus—of heroic white colonists fighting to preserve their liberty—that plays in the background of this nationalist legend.

But that wasn’t how some people thought about the events of that night. In fact, race played a role in how people reacted to the Lexington Alarm.

Stan Ulanski: Wanderers of the Pacific Ocean: Sea Turtles

As I researched and studied the myriad organisms that swim in and fly over the California Current for my book on this unique ecosystem, none caught my attention more than Pacific sea turtles—living dinosaurs of the ocean. Theirs is an old story—one of long journeys and nesting rituals performed over the eons. The tale below chronicles the journey and trials of a determined sea turtle.