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Authenticating Southernism

Authenticating Southernism

Creating a Sense of Place through Food

(p.134) Chapter Five Authenticating Southernism
Consuming Identity
Ashli Que Sinberry StokesWendy Atkins-Sayre
University Press of Mississippi

Chapter five turns to the side dishes on the Southern food table, exploring the connection between the food and the region. Cornbread, grits, and greens are Southern food staples. Whether Southerners eat these foods out of economic constraints or preference, the seasonal and region-bound foods send a message. Their selection is a rhetorical deference to Southern roots based in humble, fresh, seasonal ingredients. The creation of these dishes is an important tie to family roots, with families or even entire communities claiming to have the most authentic take on the food. The chapter delves into the authenticity thread that is apparent in discussions of Southern food and explains the symbolism bound up in food through this concept. Authenticity is one way that we strive to maintain cultural order and show our allegiances to that order. Based on this desire for order and authenticity, this rhetorical work helps define the region.

Keywords:   Authenticity, Side dishes, Seasonal, Cultural order, Rhetorical work

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