Dispatch from SFA Symposium: Day Two
Dispatch from SFA Symposium: Day TwoOctober 20, 2012
It’s not all stuffing yourself silly at the SFA Symposium in Oxford, Mississippi. OK, there’s a lot of that. But we learn some stuff too. For instance, did you know that male hogs have a corkscrew shaped penis? It’s true! A sampling of other goodies from the gathering thus far:
Our morning started with a screening of Pride & Joy, Joe York’s long-awaited full-length film of his travels documenting all corners of Southern food culture, from Apalachicola oysters to the pig ear sandwich at the Big Apple Inn. We’re planning to host a couple of screenings of the film, and look for it on PBS this spring. Here is the trailer:
Author Mark Essig gave a fantastic talk on the history of the pig and pig farming. As he said, “There’s a gutted pig carcass lying splayed at the heart of Southern culture.” A little food for thought: Since WWII, some 3.3 million farms raising pigs have shrunk to 60,000.
Robert Moss is perhaps the world’s foremost expert on the history of the barbecue restaurant in America. For instance, the first drive-thrus were actually pig stands before the rise of the now ubiquitous hamburger chains. There’s lots more in his book, Barbecue: The History of an American Institution. If you like a little knowledge with your pig, it’s well worth a read.
We heard a couple of literary odes to two of the greatest barbecue joints anywhere: Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge in Shelby, North Carolina, and Craig’s in De Valls Bluff, Arkansas. Not to mention the best argument I’ve ever heard for barbecue being a better term than BBQ or any of the other bajillion ways you can spell it (an editor's nightmare by the way): “BBQ just sounds like you’re in a hurry.”
Last but certainly not least, Helen Turner (of Helen’s Bar-B-Q) was this year's recipient of the Keeper of the Flame award. Ms. Turner works her ass off six days a week cooking pigs over oak and hickory at her place in Brownsville, TN. She IS the pitmaster!
For dinner? Catfish at the great Taylor Grocery.
Ok, not barbecue. But, yes, it's as good as you’ve heard.