Want to plan a culinary road trip through the great American South, in all its quirky and delicious glory? Then go to the Southern Foodways Alliance website and find the Oral History Initiative Interactive Map, and start gittin’ yer ducks in a row. The SFA map is a cool tool which allows you to plot a road trip through a little bit of heaven — aka, the bbq trail, the gumbo trail, the tamale trail, etc., or a combination thereof.
I recently found out about The Southern Foodways Alliance through one of the many food and wine newsletters I get each week. The SFA documents the flavors of the American South, something it’s been doing since 2003. Part of their mission is to “preserve, promote, and chronicle our region’s culinary standard bearers.” How cool is that?
They have a good looking website you’ll get pleasantly lost in if you’re interested in Southern food culture, or heck, just Southern food! I went to the website and had to be dragged away an hour later, salivating for BBQ all the while.
The SFA interactive map encompasses the area from the Mason-Dixon Line and points south, between the Florida Panhandle to the east, and East Texas to the west. There are photos, videos and interviews which correspond to the restaurants, food shacks, tamale stands, and what have you on the map — just click on one of the stars.
To plan a trip, go to the trip builder and enter your starting address. Click on the stars for more info on the destinations, then when you find one you want to visit, add it to your itinerary; you can do this for up to 15 destinations. When you’re done, you can click on “Fastest One Way Trip” for a one way trip ending on the last location in the list, or, “Fastest Roundtrip” for a roundtrip back to your first location.
To date, the “trails” you can choose to follow are, the tamale trail, the southern bbq trail, the southern gumbo trail, and the southern boudin trail. Or, for optimum fun, you could mix it up and do a little of each.
I know one thing for sure, if you’re doing the BBQ trail, you won’t find better BBQ anywhere else on earth than what we have right here in North Carolina — eastern NC, to be precise. There’s just no way. ; )