This weekend finds my husband, Brent, and I in Oxford, Mississippi at the Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium. Every year, this division of the Center for Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi hosts a celebration of Southern food. The Symposium weekend is chock full of great food, great drink, and great speakers on topics relating to the yearly theme - which, this year, is The Global South.
So far, we've heard about the similarities between Cuban and Southern cuisines, the connection between Carolina Lowcountry rice cultivation and West African agricultural traditions, speculations on why tamales became a part of Mississippi delta culture, and how Philadelphia's GeeChee Girl Rice Cafe came to be.
The highlight, however, was the Hot Tamales lunch, featuring Confit of Quail Tamales and Sweet Potato Salad by chef Jon Sanchez (of Montgomery's Ham and High), Eddie Hernandez's (of Atlanta's Taqueria del Sol) Collard Green Tamales with Cracklins and Refried Black-Eyed Peas, and Yewande Komolafe's (a member of the Saveur test kitchen) Butternut Squash Bread Pudding for dessert. In a word, it was all amazing!