Wine and Walnuts

A blog about eating, drinking, cooking and reading in the not so Deep South

A Trip Through Culinary Heaven: Southern Foodways Alliance

Mmmm . . . B-B-Q . . .

Mmmm . . . B-B-Q . . .

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.  ; )

Bon Appetit!

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About The Author

Kimberly Houston


2 Responses to “A Trip Through Culinary Heaven: Southern Foodways Alliance”

  1. Benito says:

    Legends are told of BBQ that is made outside of the 100-mile radius of Memphis, Tennessee, but such stories are typically only told to frighten children, like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster. ;)

    This is one of my pet peeves while traveling–I’m actually interested in different BBQ styles throughout the southeast, but when I go elsewhere people always want to take me out to their local excuse for a BBQ joint. I don’t know if Boston, Cleveland, or Denver have decent ‘Q, but I’d prefer to try something local to that region rather than a weird, manufactured attempt at my own native cuisine.

  2. Hey Benito,

    TeeHee!! Well, I’ll tell ya, my Dad, who was born and raised in the Memphis area, swears by Tennessee BBQ, even though he’s lived in North Carolina for many, many years now.

    Speaking of “local excuse for a BBQ joint,” when I was living in New Mexico a few years ago, a friend took me to a “BBQ” place. I ordered a BBQ sandwich, thinking I’d get pulled pork on a bun with a spicy, vinegary, thin “sauce,” just what I’m used to and love. What I actually got was big chunks of BEEF, smothered in thick, sweet BBQ sauce, on a hoagie roll! Eeeww!!

    But shockingly, some of the best BBQ I’ve ever had was in a little out-of-the-way joint in lower Manhattan called “Brothers BBQ” — they do BBQ just like we do in eastern NC — and Man — was that stuff ever good! They even had a “meat and three” selection, which you usually never get up North.

    Next time I get to Memphis, I’m going refresh my memory about Tennesee BBQ. It’s probably not too bad. ; )

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