John T. Edge wants people to think about their food.
A widely published writer and the director of the Southern Foodways Alliance, an institute of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, Edge is one of the leading figures in an emerging public conversation about how regional food, culture and history intertwine.
Edge will visit UGA Feb. 26 for a lecture in the Global Georgia Initiative, the signature speaker series of the Jane and Harry Willson Center for Humanities and Arts. Edge will give his talk, “Grits, Greens and Gochujang: The Emergence of a Newer Southern Cuisine,” at 4 p.m. in the Chapel. The event is presented in partnership with the University of Georgia Press.
Edge is interested in the stories that can be told about people through discussions about food and how those stories may help lead to better understanding across cultural lines. His organization’s mission statement reads: “The Southern Foodways Alliance documents, studies and celebrates the diverse food cultures of the changing American South. We set a common table where black and white, rich and poor-all who gather-may consider our history and our future in a spirit of reconciliation.”
Hugh Acheson, chef and partner in the Athens restaurants Five & Ten and The National, the Atlanta restaurant Empire State South and The Florence in Savannah, will introduce Edge.
“When I look to understand the storied and painful past of food culture in our area, it is truly impossible without reading the brilliant work of John T. Edge,” Acheson said. “But after his many ramblings sink in, you realize that this whole idea of preservation of foodways and stories leads to a really bright and better future. I am always excited to see John T.”
Beginning in fall 2015, Edge will serve as a mentor in UGA’s newly established Low-Residency MFA Program in Narrative Media Writing.