Cynthia Graubart attained culinary celebrity status last year when she won a James Beard Award for the cookbook she co-wrote with famed Southern author Nathalie Dupree. It’s called Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking, and it is amazing. It took four years to write, and it weighs six and a half pounds. It’s got 750 recipes and another 650 variations on the standards. It is becoming itself a standard--a bible--for any Southern cook.
Eudora Welty was one of the South’s most beloved writers, and her fiction is still a study in detail and dialogue and wit. Her settings were often Southern, but her themes were universal. Eudora won multiple awards in her lifetime, including a Pulitzer in 1973 for her novel The Optimist’s Daughter. She passed away in 2001.
The audio you hear of Eudora in this episode is part of folklorist Bill Ferris' recent book The Storied South, which is a collection of interviews with iconic writers, musicians, historians, photographers and artists.
I first featured Bill in Episode 10, and we talked extensively about his 40-year career and how the South has perfected the art of storytelling.
In this episode, Bill returns to tell us about his close friendship with the famous Southern writer.
From THE STORIED SOUTH: VOICES OF WRITERS AND ARTISTS by William Ferris. Copyright © 2013 by William Ferris.
Bestselling novelist Cassandra King talks about her new book Moonrise as well as her writing relationship with her husband, famous author Pat Conroy.
"Being married to another writer was just like dropping a little fat kid into a candy store."
Les Thomas wrote his way across the South. His travel writing, for Texas newspapers, Southern Living magazine and beyond, has spanned over 45 years. He's a giant of a man with an innate curiosity.
"I've always liked to ask questions," he says. "That's been part of my life, I guess. I've probably asked way too many beyond patience, but I don't know how you find out things unless you ask."
This episode is the first in a series called Southern Storytellers.
I believe that okra symbolizes the ever-evolving definition of the South. It is Southern to the core, but as a non-native plant, okra had to become Southern. In my search for an answer to the question, "What is Southern?" I talk to my grandmother about her fried okra, the Director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, the former editor-in-chief of Southern Living magazine, and a Korean-born pop singer-turned-chef who fries okra in tempura batter at her Southern barbecue joint in Atlanta.