If there’s one part of the country that maybe trumps New York City when it comes to the self-important belief that it’s the center of American food culture, it might be the South. And if there is one man that is doing a damn fine job of convincing us that might actually be true, it’s John T. Edge, who will be hosting two impressive events here in Manhattan early next week.
Edge directs the Southern Foodways Alliance at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture in Oxford, Mississippi, and is one of the country’s foremost food writers on subjects like biscuits and fried chicken. (And as such, he even came along with us on a stuff-yer-face trip through some of Koreatown’s coolest fried chicken joints last fall.) He’s also the guest editor of the new Southern Food issue of the Oxford American, a southern literary and cultural magazine.
The mag is hosting special dinners around the country at places like Savannah and Atlanta and Manhattan, where even if you don’t have southern roots (like me!) you sure can easily pretend you do, thanks to places like Tipsy Parson that celebrate south of the Mason-Dixon dishes like pimento cheese and pickled black-eyed peas.
You can hear John T., as those who love him fondly call him, speak about the issue at a $500-suggested donation fundraiser dinner for the non-profit magazine on Tuesday, April 6, at Blue Smoke restaurant (116 East 27th St.) at 6:30 p.m., with food from Chef Kenny Callaghan. (That’s if you’re not at our own event that night, the $4o cocktail and tasting shindig called Good Spirits at Brooklyn’s Bell House.)
And the next day you can catch Edge for a less at the James Beard House (167 West 12th St.) as part of its brown-bag lunch “Beard on Books” series, which starts at noon and includes a panel discussion on the issue. For reservations, call (212) 627-2308, and the suggested donation for non-students is $20. We strongly suggest that what goes in that brown bag be a pimento cheese sandwich.