Recipe: Crispy Crumbed Baked Tomatoes with Pecans & Parmesan

Savor the South Sampler header image

Tomatoes cover photo

Every Tuesday this summer we’re featuring a new recipe on the blog from one of our Savor the South® cookbooks. Each little cookbook in our Savor the South® cookbook collection is a big celebration of a beloved food or tradition of the American South. From buttermilk to bourbon, pecans to peaches, bacon to catfish, one by one each volume will stock a kitchen shelf with the flavors and culinary wisdom of this popular American regional cuisine. Written by well-known cooks and food lovers, each book brims with personality, the informative and often surprising culinary and natural history of southern foodways, and a treasure of some fifty recipes—from delicious southern classics to sparkling international renditions that open up worlds of taste for cooks everywhere. You’ll want to collect them all.

Today’s recipe is from Miriam Rubin’s TomatoesRubin, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, was the first woman to work in the kitchen of the Four Seasons Restaurant. Author of Grains, she writes the food and gardening column “Miriam’s Garden” for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. She lives in New Freeport, Pennsylvania. Baked tomatoes are tasty all on their own, but add parmesan and pecans and they’ll be even more mouth-watering!

Don’t forget to “like” the Savor the South® book page on Facebook for more news and recipes. Also, check back here next Tuesday for another Savor the South® Sampler recipe!

Continue reading ‘Recipe: Crispy Crumbed Baked Tomatoes with Pecans & Parmesan’ »

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

The Common Cause: Creating Race and Nation in the American Revolution, by Robert G. ParkinsonWe welcome to the blog a guest post by Robert G. Parkinson, author of The Common Cause: Creating Race and Nation in the American Revolution. When the Revolutionary War began, the odds of a united, continental effort to resist the British seemed nearly impossible. Few on either side of the Atlantic expected thirteen colonies to stick together in a war against their cultural cousins. In this pathbreaking book, Parkinson argues that to unify the patriot side, political and communications leaders linked British tyranny to colonial prejudices, stereotypes, and fears about insurrectionary slaves and violent Indians. Manipulating newspaper networks, Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, and their fellow agitators broadcast stories of British agents inciting African Americans and Indians to take up arms against the American rebellion. Using rhetoric like “domestic insurrectionists” and “merciless savages,” the founding fathers rallied the people around a common enemy and made racial prejudice a cornerstone of the new Republic. 

In today’s post, Parkinson describes how one provocative piece of news—one year after the Revolutionary War had begun—prompted the United States to officially declare their independence from Great Britain in 1776. 

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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.

The news that King George had arranged for the purchase of upwards of ten thousand mercenaries from the German states of Hesse-Cassel, Hanau, Brunswick, and Hanover struck the American colonies like a tsunami in early May 1776. When Americans learned that the King had made these arrangements—instead of sending over peace commissioners or negotiators—they rapidly embraced independence as the only course of action to take. The last news story of colonial America was that the Germans were coming. Before, there had only been wild speculation about the Crown trying to buy soldiers to put the rebellion down. Rumors about Russians circulated in the fall of 1775. But before May 1776—long after the King had actually signed treaties with the German princes—none of it could be considered fact.

Then, on May 2, 1776, a ship captain named John Lee steered his vessel into a slip in Newburyport, Massachusetts, and scampered down the wharf in search of the closest patriot leader to tell about a massive British fleet he had spotted already on its way across the Atlantic, bound for Manhattan. On board, he reported to patriot leader Timothy Pickering, were not only scores of British soldiers, but also twelve thousand German mercenary troops. Letters documenting Lee’s testimony flew out of New England, headed for General Washington’s headquarters in New York and to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. Within two days colonial newspapers had the story, telling their readers all about the coming invasion.

Then, just two weeks after Lee’s eyewitness report reached Congress, a man with an even more amazing story arrived in Philadelphia. Continue reading ‘Robert G. Parkinson: The Last News Story of Colonial America’ »

Randy Johnson: One of Grandfather Mountain’s Mysteries, Unraveled

Grandfather Mountain: The History and Guide to an Appalachian Icon, by Randy Johnson, book coverWith its prominent profile recognizable for miles around and featuring vistas among the most beloved in the Appalachians, North Carolina’s Grandfather Mountain is many things to many people: an easily recognized landmark along the Blue Ridge Parkway, a popular tourist destination, a site of annual Highland Games, and an internationally recognized nature preserve. In this definitive book, Grandfather Mountain: The History and Guide to an Appalachian Icon, Randy Johnson guides readers on a journey through the mountain’s history, from its geological beginnings millennia ago and the early days of exploration to its role in regional development and eventual establishment as a North Carolina state park. Along the way, he shows how Grandfather has changed, and has been changed by, the people of western North Carolina and beyond.

In today’s guest post, Johnson unravels one of the mysteries of the mountain: the tragic story of a young scientist who died there in 1931.

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Grandfather Mountain is one of the most beloved peaks in the Appalachians and when I set out to write Grandfather Mountain: The History and Guide to an Appalachian Icon, my goal was to tell the mountain’s story through the eyes of generations of people who love Grandfather.

Portrait of Worth H. Weller

Worth Weller was a handsome, brilliant young man who let the prospect of discovering a new species of salamander lure him to tragedy in Grandfather Mountain’s virgin forest. Courtesy of Worth H. Weller.

In the late 1970s, when owner Hugh Morton closed the mountain’s trails after a hiker had died, I proposed a backcountry management program to make the trails safe and persuaded Morton to hire me to reopen the deteriorating paths. I often hiked the mountain alone as trail manager and one of the mysteries that frequently crossed my mind was the strange death of Worth Hamilton Weller.

The brilliant young herpetologist had already discovered his first unknown species of salamander and was a noted scientist by the age of 18.  He’d also fallen in love with Grandfather and ended up perishing on the mountain in 1931. Not much more was widely known about the tragic story.

Continue reading ‘Randy Johnson: One of Grandfather Mountain’s Mysteries, Unraveled’ »

Recipe: Kaycee “Red Menace” Sauce

Savor the South Sampler header image

Barbecue Cover Photo

Every Tuesday this summer we’re featuring a new recipe on the blog from one of our Savor the South® cookbooks. Each little cookbook in our Savor the South® cookbook collection is a big celebration of a beloved food or tradition of the American South. From buttermilk to bourbon, pecans to peaches, bacon to catfish, one by one each volume will stock a kitchen shelf with the flavors and culinary wisdom of this popular American regional cuisine. Written by well-known cooks and food lovers, each book brims with personality, the informative and often surprising culinary and natural history of southern foodways, and a treasure of some fifty recipes—from delicious southern classics to sparkling international renditions that open up worlds of taste for cooks everywhere. You’ll want to collect them all.

Today’s recipe is from John Shelton Reed’s Barbecue. John Shelton Reed lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Cofounder of the Campaign for Real Barbecue (TrueCue.org), his many books include Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue, coauthored with Dale Volberg Reed. His “Red Menace” take on Kansas City barbecue sauce includes bourbon—just to make things more interesting!

Don’t forget to “like” the Savor the South® book page on Facebook for more news and recipes. Also, check back here next Tuesday for another Savor the South® Sampler recipe!

Continue reading ‘Recipe: Kaycee “Red Menace” Sauce’ »

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

Robert Parris Moses: A Life in Civil Rights and Leadership at the Grassroots, by Laura Visser-MaessenWe welcome to the blog a guest post by Laura Visser-Maessen, author of Robert Parris Moses: A Life in Civil Rights and Leadership at the Grassroots. One of the most influential leaders in the civil rights movement, Robert Parris Moses was essential in making Mississippi a central battleground state in the fight for voting rights. As a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Moses presented himself as a mere facilitator of grassroots activism rather than a charismatic figure like Martin Luther King Jr. Examining the dilemmas of a leader who worked to cultivate local leadership, Visser-Maessen explores the intellectual underpinnings of Moses’s strategy, its achievements, and its struggles.

In a previous post, Visser-Maessen compared top-down and bottom-up forms of social change. In today’s post, Visser-Maessen makes a connection between religious and racial terrorism, exploring how the Civil Rights activism by Robert Parris Moses in Mississippi during the 1960s can inform current terrorism debates in the United States.

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Paris is only a five-hour drive from my home in the Netherlands. I have strolled its streets many times, undoubtedly including 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.

When Moses initiated the 1964 Freedom Summer, a massive state-wide civil rights campaign aided by hundreds of northern white volunteers, he had been struggling for nearly four years to communicate to the nation the violent atrocities that were committed against its black citizens in the Deep South.

Moses too was savagely beaten, once when he escorted a black voter registrant to the courthouse in a town with the ironic name of Liberty, and once in McComb as he tried to protect his white “race traitor” SNCC colleague Bob Zellner from a furious white mob. He had to identify the body of Herbert Lee, a black farmer who attended his voter registration classes and was murdered as a penalty. Louis Allen, whom Moses reluctantly counseled to uphold his coerced witness testimony that Lee was killed in self-defense, was nonetheless assassinated after the FBI, in cahoots with local authorities, got wind of Allen’s wavering. In 1963, thirteen bullets pierced Moses’s car, nearly killing his coworker Jimmy Travis who sat next to him, in an orchestrated drive-by shooting on a Greenwood highway.

Between the 1963 March on Washington and Freedom Summer, Moses recorded 175 cross burnings. Shootings and bombings of black churches, businesses, and homes likewise reached record numbers. Among the dozens of black bodies that popped up he emphasized three whose deaths were ruled the result of carbon monoxide—although two had gunshot wounds and one a broken neck. Membership in the KKK, Citizens Councils, and other white supremacist organizations soared. The newly formed White Knights of the KKK urged its members—6,000 within four months—to form “swift and extremely violent” covert groups which could instantly “destroy and disrupt [our enemy’s] leadership.” But Moses could not get the news out, nor the nation to commit its vast resources to the eradication of these crimes.

Until the victims were white.  Continue reading ‘Laura Visser-Maessen: How Exploring Bob Moses’s 1960s Civil Rights Activism in Mississippi Can Modify America’s Current Terrorism Debate’ »

4 Ways to Celebrate the Release of Free State of Jones

Bynum Twitter chat 4pm EST June 24

Today the film Free State of Jones opens in theaters across the United States. Historian Victoria E. Bynum, whose book of the same name helped inspire the film, has been making media rounds this week, talking about what the New York Times has called “the first Hollywood drama to come with footnotes.” Director Gary Ross comes correct on the history in this project, so historians, enjoy!

UNC Press staff are headed to a showing of the film at midday today, so follow us on Twitter (@uncpressblog) for pics and reactions.

If you’re headed out to see the movie, keep an eye out for the historian herself, who makes a cameo appearance (as does her husband, Gregg) within the first five minutes of the film. She writes:

It begins with the battle of Corinth, which really gets you on the edge of your seat. Within a few minutes of the battle, Newt Knight rushes a wounded young boy into the hospital tent. Gregg’s face (wearing hat) appears fleetingly at the tent door. Soon after, my scene appears. I’m easy to spot, center screen, quietly reading Bible verse. All is chaos around us and the scene quickly shifts to entrance by Newt. If you look hard, you can see me very briefly in background behind Newt, looking the other way.

Here are 4 ways you can celebrate the opening of Free State of Jones:

1. Watch this film clip, which, yes, features plenty of Matthew McConaughey

2. Watch this interview with Bynum on Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s “Conversations”

3. Join the #askFSOJ Twitter Chat TODAY at 4:00 pm EST.

twitter logo white on blueBynum (@vikki_bynum) and the NEH (@NEHgov) will chat on Twitter today, 6/24, at 4pm EST. Follow and chime in using #askFSOJ. The historian used an NEH grant to finish the research that helped her complete the book.

4. Download a FREE ebook—while they last!

The Free State of Jones, Movie Edition: Mississippi's Longest Civil War, by Victoria E. BynumTo celebrate the release of the film, we’re making 100 ebooks available for download FREE through the BookGrabbr social media platform. Just use your Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn profile to post about it, and you are granted access to download the ebook for free.

Yes please! I want to Grabb an ebook!

Excerpt: The Ashley Cooper Plan, by Thomas D. Wilson

The Ashley Cooper Plan: The Founding of Carolina and the Origins of Southern Political Culture, by Thomas D. WilsonThomas D. Wilson offers surprising new insights into the origins of the political storms we witness today. Wilson connects the Ashley Cooper Plan—a seventeenth-century model for a well-ordered society imagined by Anthony Ashley Cooper (1st Earl of Shaftesbury) and his protégé John Locke—to current debates about views on climate change, sustainable development, urbanism, and professional expertise in general. In doing so, he examines the ways that the city design, political culture, ideology, and governing structures of the Province of Carolina have shaped political acts and public policy even in the present.

In the following excerpt from The Ashley Cooper Plan: The Founding of Carolina and the Origins of Southern Political Culture (pp. 142-146), Wilson outlines three theories of American political culture, the moralistic political culture of New England, the individualistic political culture of the Mid-Atlantic, and the traditional political culture of the South.

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Theories of American Political Culture

Theories of American political culture began with Alexis de Tocqueville, the French political historian who toured the United States extensively in the early 1830s. The tour resulted in publication of Democracy in America, which analyzed the regional character of the young nation. Of particular note, Tocqueville traced the essence of the American spirit of democracy to the Puritans, who he found exemplified the values of honest work, civic responsibility, and a more level society. Those admirable traits, he maintained, survived the course of time to become a permanent part of American character, outliving the tarnish of wars with Native Americans and other colonists, intolerance of dissenters, and infamous witch trials. Puritan ideals, Tocqueville believed, were the transformative principles that enabled the United States to eliminate royalty and nobility while lifting all classes of society to greater liberty, economic opportunity, and social mobility.

The political scientist Daniel J. Elazar identified three traditions of political culture in America, generally consistent with Tocqueville’s characterizations. New England political culture of the Puritans evolved to become moralistic political culture. This component of American character emphasizes community and civic virtue over individualism. It promotes the idea of participatory democracy and the positive role of government in addressing common problems. The Mid-Atlantic region produced individualistic political culture, which views government as a utilitarian necessity and seeks to limit its intrusion into private activities. Private initiative is held to be of higher importance than the public sphere. The South produced traditionalistic political culture, which elevates social order and family structure to a prominent role. It embraces a hierarchical society as the natural order of things, consistent with Gothic society and the Great Chain of Being. Elected leaders are respected men who use the reins of government to secure and perpetuate the existing social order. Leaders are expected to preserve traditional values and maintain limited government; they are not expected to be reformers or innovators.[1]

Continue reading ‘Excerpt: The Ashley Cooper Plan, by Thomas D. Wilson’ »

  1. [1] Elazar, American Federalism, 93–102.

Recipe: Summer Blueberry Cobbler

Savor the South Sampler header image

Buttermilk cover photo

Every Tuesday this summer we’re featuring a new recipe on the blog from one of our Savor the South® cookbooks. Each little cookbook in our Savor the South® cookbook collection is a big celebration of a beloved food or tradition of the American South. From buttermilk to bourbon, pecans to peaches, bacon to catfish, one by one each volume will stock a kitchen shelf with the flavors and culinary wisdom of this popular American regional cuisine. Written by well-known cooks and food lovers, each book brims with personality, the informative and often surprising culinary and natural history of southern foodways, and a treasure of some fifty recipes—from delicious southern classics to sparkling international renditions that open up worlds of taste for cooks everywhere. You’ll want to collect them all.

Today’s recipe is from Debbie Moose’s Buttermilk. Moose is an award-winning food writer and author of five cookbooks, including Deviled Eggs: 50 Recipes from Simple to Sassy and Potato Salad: 65 Recipes from Classic to Cool, as well as another Savor the South® volume: Southern Holidays. You can follow her on Twitter @DebbieMoose. Her recipe for Summer Blueberry Cobbler is as delicious as it is easy!

Don’t forget to “like” the Savor the South® book page on Facebook for more news and recipes. Also, check back here next Tuesday for another Savor the South® Sampler recipe!

Continue reading ‘Recipe: Summer Blueberry Cobbler’ »

University of Virginia Press and Cork University Press Select Longleaf Services for Fulfillment and Publishing Services

Longleaf Services logo

Longleaf Services is pleased to welcome the University of Virginia Press as a full-service fulfillment and publishing services client and Cork University Press as a U.S. sales, marketing, and fulfillment client. University of Virginia Press books will be available from Longleaf beginning October 1, 2016 and Cork University Press books will be available beginning January 1, 2017.

“Longleaf allows us to focus on our strategic priorities by offering a suite of services that is exceptionally well positioned in the digital and physical production and distribution supply chain,” said Mark Saunders, director of the University of Virginia Press. “We are proud to be a part of their innovative, collaborative, and transparent solution for university presses.”

“When we were looking for distribution in North America it was important that the distributor understood our business. We found the perfect fit in Longleaf Services as their niche is working with university presses. In addition we were also looking for marketing services and Longleaf also provides this option,” added Mike Collins, director of Cork University Press.

Robbie Dircks, president of Longleaf Services, added “We’re pleased to welcome the University of Virginia Press and Cork University Press to the growing list of Longleaf client publishers. The addition of new publishers under the Longleaf umbrella provides greater economies and efficiencies in our operations, letting us fulfill our mission of providing fulfillment and publishing solutions which allow our client publishers to focus on their core mission of content acquisition and dissemination.” Continue reading ‘University of Virginia Press and Cork University Press Select Longleaf Services for Fulfillment and Publishing Services’ »

Recipe: Green Beans with Fingerling Potatoes

Savor the South Sampler header image

Sunday Dinner cover image

Every Tuesday this summer we’re featuring a new recipe on the blog from one of our Savor the South® cookbooks. Each little cookbook in our Savor the South® cookbook collection is a big celebration of a beloved food or tradition of the American South. From buttermilk to bourbon, pecans to peaches, bacon to catfish, one by one each volume will stock a kitchen shelf with the flavors and culinary wisdom of this popular American regional cuisine. Written by well-known cooks and food lovers, each book brims with personality, the informative and often surprising culinary and natural history of southern foodways, and a treasure of some fifty recipes—from delicious southern classics to sparkling international renditions that open up worlds of taste for cooks everywhere. You’ll want to collect them all.

Today’s recipe is from Bridgette A. Lacy’s Sunday DinnerLacy is a journalist who writes about food for The Independent Weekly and the North Carolina Arts Council. She also served as a longtime features and food writer for the Raleigh News & Observer. Follow her on Twitter @bridgettealacy.

Lacy’s recipe features classic southern staples—green beans and potatoes—in a hearty and flavorful dish. It’s sure to bring the whole family together around the table!

Don’t forget to “like” the Savor the South® book page on Facebook for more news and recipes. Also, check back here next Tuesday for another Savor the South® Sampler recipe!

Continue reading ‘Recipe: Green Beans with Fingerling Potatoes’ »

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

The Free State of Jones, Movie Edition: Mississippi's Longest Civil War, by Victoria E. BynumBetween late 1863 and mid-1864, an armed band of Confederate deserters battled Confederate cavalry in the Piney Woods region of Jones County, Mississippi. Calling themselves the Knight Company after their captain, Newton Knight, they set up headquarters in the swamps of the Leaf River, where they declared their loyalty to the U.S. government.

The story of the Jones County rebellion is well known among Mississippians, and debate over whether the county actually seceded from the state during the war has smoldered for more than a century. Adding further controversy to the legend is the story of Newt Knight’s interracial romance with his wartime accomplice, Rachel, a slave. From their relationship there developed a mixed-race community that endured long after the Civil War had ended, and the ambiguous racial identity of their descendants confounded the rules of segregated Mississippi well into the twentieth century.

In the following video, Actor Mahershala Ali (House of Cards) shares the experience of transforming The Free State of Jones: Mississippi’s Longest Civil War into an audiobook for Audible. He talks about the importance of bringing stories to life through narration, particularly in documenting such a significant part of history. Ali recounts stories from Free State of Jones that grabbed his attention, and describes the appeal of these stories to twenty-first century audiences. (Running time 2:27)

Listen to Ali in a sample of The Free State of Jones audiobook on SoundCloud here:

Longleaf Services Announces New Partnerships to Better Serve University Presses

Longleaf Services logo

 

Longleaf Services has announced strategic partnerships with Westchester Publishing Services, a trusted provider of editorial, production, and digital conversion services, and Supadü, a global leader in the design and development of websites. These partnerships further Longleaf’s mission of providing high-quality, affordable, and à la carte publishing services specifically designed for university presses.

Longleaf has developed an exclusive agreement with Westchester Publishing Services focusing on the Standard Monograph Program—designed to reduce the costs associated with the editing, design, and production of scholarly works by increasing efficiencies at every stage of the process, from the handover of the manuscript through the delivery of final files. With this streamlined process, presses are assured of dependable, high-quality work at an affordable cost. The savings in time and resources will allow the participating presses to more easily add to their title counts and to provide more focus on their nonstandard projects. “Westchester is proud to partner with Longleaf on the Standard Monograph Program. It’s a logical extension of the work we’ve done for years in the university press space, providing quality editorial, composition, and digital services to our clients on projects ranging from simple monographs to textbooks to complex titles and journals. By leveraging a templated approach to simple monographs, Longleaf and Westchester are able to provide some efficiencies to the market. We’re excited to see the growth of this program,” says Westchester’s Director of Business Development Tyler M. Carey.

Supadü is currently in the process of building websites for several Longleaf clients, including sites for the University of Nebraska Press, the University of North Carolina Press, and Rutgers University Press, as well as a new website for the journal Southern Cultures. Longleaf will continue to project manage these and future websites and will work closely with Supadü to build new tools that specifically address the needs of scholarly publishing—for both books and journals. “Supadü’s web and marketing tools combined with Longleaf’s wealth of experience in scholarly publishing will enable nontechnical users to exert more control over the content and setup of their websites without relying on costly agencies or having to write code,” says Mark Harvie-Watt, CEO of Supadü.

Clay Farr, Executive Director of Longleaf, said, “We have been working closely with both Supadü and Westchester for some time, but in each case it was clear that it would be beneficial for all parties concerned to strengthen and expand our partnership agreements to bring additional savings and efficiencies to the presses we serve.”

Both of these services are available to current Longleaf fulfillment clients as well as to any other university press that wishes to participate. Continue reading ‘Longleaf Services Announces New Partnerships to Better Serve University Presses’ »

Recipe: Cajun Hen Gumbo

Savor the South Sampler header image

Gumbo: a Savor the South® cookbook, by Dale CurryEvery Tuesday this summer we’re featuring a new recipe on the blog from one of our Savor the South® cookbooks. Each little cookbook in our Savor the South® cookbook collection is a big celebration of a beloved food or tradition of the American South. From buttermilk to bourbon, pecans to peaches, bacon to catfish, one by one each volume will stock a kitchen shelf with the flavors and culinary wisdom of this popular American regional cuisine. Written by well-known cooks and food lovers, each book brims with personality, the informative and often surprising culinary and natural history of southern foodways, and a treasure of some fifty recipes—from delicious southern classics to sparkling international renditions that open up worlds of taste for cooks everywhere. You’ll want to collect them all.

Today’s recipe is from Dale Curry’s Gumbo. Curry, who served as the New Orleans Times-Picayune food editor for twenty years, is also 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: hen! Enjoy this gumbo over rice for a hearty meal with family and friends.

Don’t forget to “like” the Savor the South® book page on Facebook for more news and recipes. Also, check back here next Tuesday for another Savor the South® Sampler recipe!

Continue reading ‘Recipe: Cajun Hen Gumbo’ »

Brian Craig Miller: “Civil War America” and a Side of Tomato Soup

We welcome to the blog a guest post from Brain Craig Miller, Civil War historian and author of recently published Empty Sleeves: Amputation in the Civil War South 

In today’s post, Miller reflects on the Civil War America series and how it shaped his views of the Civil War. 

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Cover of Gettysburg: the Second Day, by Harry W. Pfanz

It was the morning prior to battle. I knew that the engagement for the day was to take place in the Peach Orchard. Well, it was the family orchard with a few peach trees that would stand in for the famed grove of trees at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania—it really was more of a peach/apple/cherry/nectarine/pear/plum orchard (call us the Jamba Juice of northeastern Pennsylvania). I knew that if I wanted to gain the upper hand against my foe in battle, my brother, who would be a Union soldier, then I needed to read a little bit about Confederate strategy at Gettysburg on July 2. On a recent trip to the famed battlefield, I had purchased Harry Pfanz’s Gettysburg: The Second Day. I had been reading the book ever since I got back (#civilwarnerd) and could not wait to utilize the knowledge I had gained in our re-enactment of the battle. As my Confederate line stood ready to advance (well, me) towards the Union line (my brother) through the peach/apple/cherry/nectarine/pear/plum trees, the battle took some unexpected turns. First, my brother furnished his Rambo sword and duct taped it to his musket to engage in a bayonet charge. Second, we decided to have a cavalry sword fight (no horses, just the family German shepherd Brandy, whom sailors did think was a fine girl, who seemed completely disinterested in the military affairs surrounding her). Third, the battle ceased when a call came for a hearty lunch of grilled cheese and tomato soup (no hardtack here—#farbs). Little did I know that reading Pfanz’s exploration of Gettysburg would only be the first of many superb titles that I would digest in the University of North Carolina Press’s Civil War America series.

Continue reading ‘Brian Craig Miller: “Civil War America” and a Side of Tomato Soup’ »

James J. Broomall: Reflections on “Civil War America”

We welcome to the blog a guest post from James J. Broomall, Civil War historian and director of the George Taylor Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War at Shepherd University. 

In today’s post, Broomall writes about how the Civil War America series has guided his studies over the years.

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Like any good historian, I surround myself with books. The organizational system defies the conventions of traditional cataloging, instead falling into idiosyncratic categories that I am too embarrassed to reveal in print. Nevertheless, I am willing to relate that a good number of titles from the Civil War America series hold dear places in my holdings. Ultimately, they were—and indeed are—works that resonated with me over time. They became titles that were repeatedly pulled down and placed into piles over the years while writing essays, gathering thoughts, preparing for lectures or presentations, or simply because I wanted questions answered. Although I have counted more of the authors as friends over the years, I always felt personally connected to the titles because the topics under discussion were shared passions and the writing of history a common pursuit.

Cover of Reconstruction's Ragged Edge: the Politics of Postwar Life in the Southern Mountains, by Steven E. Nash

All that being said, why does Civil War America matter? Certainly the diversity of subject matter, which has grown considerably over the past two decades, deserves merit and comment. The series has introduced regional and class diversity in studies of the American South as exhibited especially in Steven E. Nash’s Reconstruction’s Ragged Edge, Mark Wetherington’s Plain Folk’s Fight, and Noel Fisher’s War at Every Door. Some of the most important works on wartime Confederate nationalism and its limitations or strengths—including those by Aaron Sheehan-Dean, Peter S. Carmichael, Kenneth W. Noe, and Jaime Amanda Martinez—have come out of Civil War America. And a good number of titles engaging memory studies—Caroline E. Janney’s work on the Virginia Ladies’ Memorial Associations and Joan Waugh’s on U.S. Grant being among my favorites—demonstrate that the series has kept pace with, indeed shaped, the evolving historiography.

Continue reading ‘James J. Broomall: Reflections on “Civil War America”’ »

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

Robert Parris Moses: A Life in Civil Rights and Leadership at the Grassroots, by Laura Visser-MaessenWe welcome to the blog a guest post by Laura Visser-Maessen, author of Robert Parris Moses: A Life in Civil Rights and Leadership at the Grassroots. One of the most influential leaders in the civil rights movement, Robert Parris Moses was essential in making Mississippi a central battleground state in the fight for voting rights. As a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Moses presented himself as a mere facilitator of grassroots activism rather than a charismatic figure like Martin Luther King Jr. Examining the dilemmas of a leader who worked to cultivate local leadership, Visser-Maessen explores the intellectual underpinnings of Moses’s strategy, its achievements, and its struggles.

In today’s post, Visser-Maessen explores Robert Parris Moses’s Algebra Project as a valuable example of Civil Rights Movement strategies employed to create social change.

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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.”

The AP is a nationwide nonprofit educational program for underprivileged public school children founded by civil rights activist Bob Moses in the 1980s. Its story shows that there are effective ways of remedying these communities’ problems, largely because they build on the models African Americans set before them, especially Moses himself in 1960s Mississippi. But it also harbors intriguing lessons for American society today, about democracy, race, and class, by posing vital questions like: who is deemed worthy by society to be invested in and when? And what do working-class minorities need to do before white taxpayers will join their struggle for meaningful citizenship in the same vein as during the 1960s?

Historically, literacy was quintessential for blacks to escape subordinate conditions, but they also conceived of education as a preparation for responsible citizenship. Citizenship was not just a right, but it had substance to it, so they emphasized creating a sense of personhood and seeing themselves as agents of social change, thereby intrinsically linking the fight for education to community building.

That these agents could also come from the bottom of society was a lesson the 1960s civil rights movement reinforced. Continue reading ‘Laura Visser-Maessen: Bob Moses’s Lessons on the Meaning of Citizenship We Need in Today’s Race Debates’ »

Recipe: Penne with Sausage and Collard Greens

Savor the South Sampler

Greens: a Savor the South cookbook, by Thomas HeadEvery Tuesday this summer we’re featuring a new recipe on the blog from one of our Savor the South® cookbooks. Each little cookbook in our Savor the South® cookbook collection is a big celebration of a beloved food or tradition of the American South. From buttermilk to bourbon, pecans to peaches, bacon to catfish, one by one each volume will stock a kitchen shelf with the flavors and culinary wisdom of this popular American regional cuisine. Written by well-known cooks and food lovers, each book brims with personality, the informative and often surprising culinary and natural history of southern foodways, and a treasure of some fifty recipes–from delicious southern classics to sparkling international renditions that open up worlds of taste for cooks everywhere. You’ll want to collect them all.

Today’s recipe is from Thomas Head’s Greens. 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.

Don’t forget to “like” the Savor the South® book page on Facebook for more news and recipes. Also, check back here next Tuesday for another Savor the South® Sampler recipe! Continue reading ‘Recipe: Penne with Sausage and Collard Greens’ »

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

Long Past Slavery: Representing Race in the Federal Writers' Project, by Catherine A. StewartWe welcome to the blog a guest post by Catherine A. Stewart, author of Long Past Slavery: Representing Race in the Federal Writers’ Project. From 1936 to 1939, the New Deal’s Federal Writers’ Project collected life stories from more than 2,300 former African American slaves. These narratives are now widely used as a source to understand the lived experience of those who made the transition from slavery to freedom. But in this examination of the project and its legacy, Stewart shows it was the product of competing visions of the past, as ex-slaves’ memories of bondage, emancipation, and life as freedpeople were used to craft arguments for and against full inclusion of African Americans in society. By shedding new light on a critically important episode in the history of race, remembrance, and the legacy of slavery in the United States, Stewart compels readers to rethink a prominent archive used to construct that history.

In a previous post, Stewart addressed the ongoing need for conversation about slavery in America’s history. In today’s post, she recounts her experiences with oral histories both personal and professional.

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Looking Backward: On Memory and the Challenges of Oral History

In memory of Stetson Kennedy

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.

As a historian interested in public and private memories of slavery and the Civil War, this image has helped me reflect on the memories of elderly ex-slaves, whose memories and the story of collecting them through oral history interviews are at the heart of my book, Long Past Slavery. By the 1930s, most of the former slaves interviewed by employees of the WPA’s Federal Writers’ Project were in their nineties; some were over one hundred years old. This last generation to bear witness to the experience of enslavement would have been slaves for twelve to fifteen years at most, and many were freed at the age of seven or eight. Their memories of childhood were memories of slavery, and their experience of slavery was that of children.

A childhood game my mother and aunt still recall with pleasure was one they invented called “People Riddles.” In the dark, lying across from each other in their twin beds in their shared bedroom, after my grandmother had turned out the lights and forbidden further talking, they would whisper clues about the friends and acquaintances they both knew, telling signs that would identify the person to her equally observant sister: “This person rocks back in his chair in school,” my aunt would state; “Billy Hawking,” my mom would answer with glee. Doing oral history is a bit like playing “People Riddles,” but backwards.You know the person’s identity, but you look for tell-tale signs and clues to help you understand and evaluate the stories they tell you, and if you’re wise, you also observe how your subject is seen through eyes other than yours, refracted through the perceptions of those who know your subject better and closer and more fiercely than you ever will. Continue reading ‘Catherine A. Stewart: Looking Backward: On Memory and the Challenges of Oral History’ »

Recipe: Catfish Burgers

Savor the South Sampler

Catfish: a Savor the South® cookbook, by Paul Knipple and Angela KnippleEvery Tuesday this summer we’re featuring a new recipe on the blog from one of our Savor the South® cookbooks. Each little cookbook in our Savor the South® cookbook collection is a big celebration of a beloved food or tradition of the American South. From buttermilk to bourbon, pecans to peaches, bacon to catfish, one by one each volume will stock a kitchen shelf with the flavors and culinary wisdom of this popular American regional cuisine. Written by well-known cooks and food lovers, each book brims with personality, the informative and often surprising culinary and natural history of southern foodways, and a treasure of some fifty recipes–from delicious southern classics to sparkling international renditions that open up worlds of taste for cooks everywhere. You’ll want to collect them all.

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 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!

Connect with the Paul on Twitter @PaulKnipple, and “like” the Savor the South® book page on Facebook for more news and recipes. Also, check back here next Tuesday for another Savor the South® Sampler recipe!

Stan Ulanski: Sperm Whales: Demons of the Sea?

The California Current: A Pacific Ecosystem and Its Fliers, Divers, and Swimmers, by Stan UlanskiWe welcome to the blog a guest post by Stan Ulanski, author of The California Current: A Pacific Ecosystem and Its Fliers, Divers, and Swimmers. The California Current—part of the large, swirling North Pacific gyre—flows slowly southward along the west coast of North America, stretching nearly 2,000 miles from southern British Columbia to the tip of Baja California in Mexico. To a casual observer standing on the shore, the vast current betrays no discernible signs, yet life abounds just over the horizon. Ulanski takes us into the water on a journey through this magnificent, unique marine ecosystem, illuminating the scientific and biological marvels and the astonishing array of flora and fauna streaming along our Pacific coast.

In a previous post, Ulanski shares a glimpse into the world of Pacific sea turtles. In today’s post, Ulanski debunks a popular myth about sperm whales passed down by mariners and sailors that inspired books and movies.

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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. The whale, Mocha Dick, was a massive seventy-foot-long albino sperm whale that had purportedly killed more than thirty men and had attacked numerous whaling vessels over the span of almost thirty years. The whale was named for the island of Mocha off the coast of Chile, where he was first sighted; while the “Dick” part is thought to be the practice among nineteenth-century whalers to assign common names, like “Dick” or “Tom,” to certain notorious whales. Mocha Dick most assuredly would have gotten the attention of Herman Melville, who was familiar with the whaling profession, having sailed on the whaling ship Acushnet in 1841. Historians believe that it was Mocha Dick and the Essex disaster that provided Melville with the insight to write the novel Moby Dick.

If the above incidents were indeed the model for Melville’s own malicious creature, can we also conclude that Melville’s description of an enraged Moby Dick attacking whalers and ships alike is correct? A watery demon bent on vengeance against his tormentors? According to present-day whale researchers, the historical view of the sperm whale as an evil monster is incorrect, one that most likely has been embellished over time by mariners and sailors.

What we know about these whales is that they are generally shy and easily startled about anything new in their environment. Even as far back as the nineteenth century, Thomas Beale, a whaling ship surgeon, published this description: “The sperm whale is a most timid and inoffensive animal . . . readily endeavoring to escape from the slightest thing which bears an unusual appearance.” The captains of numerous whaling vessels also reported that while Mocha Dick was relentless in his attacks on whaling ships, he left all other ships alone since he rarely attacked unless provoked. He was observed to docilely swim along and around ships at times.

But can we summarily dismiss the eyewitness accounts by whalers of sperm whales exhibiting aggressive behavior? Were these rogue whales outliers from the norm? A look back to the whaling era may provide some answers. Continue reading ‘Stan Ulanski: Sperm Whales: Demons of the Sea?’ »