My Weekend With the SFA

I got back from the Southern Foodways Alliance’s annual Symposium, where the focus this year was on the “cultivated South.” And this is what I did:

  • I hung out with a poet who knows how to spin verses on deviled eggs.
  • I tasted the first olive oil produced east of the Mississippi in over a hundred years.
  • I watched an opera. An opera about collard greens.
  • I drank a Manhattan with the country’s leading cocktail authority.
  • I ate a foot-long, heirloom radish.
  • I made a hard apple cider float, with great cider from Foggy Ridge in Virginia and freshly made vanilla ice milk.
  • I learned about the growth of community gardens in the parking lots of Atlanta.
  • I helped raise $270,000 from some amazing generous individuals.
  • I sang “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” with an owner of a popsicle shop.
  • I sipped punch from a bathtub.
  • I had lunch with the original publisher of Spin magazine.
  • I ate a slice of wild boar prosciutto.
  • I saw an amazing set of food-themed photographs from an incredibly talented young lady.
  • I snacked on boiled peanuts while watching a film about, what else, boiled peanuts.
  • I tasted far too many different bourbons than I can remember.
  • I had some of the best fried chicken, while staring in awe at the customer beside me who devoured 8 pieces in 10 minutes.
  • I took home a packet of pimento seeds, which I will plant in the spring.
  • I sadly learned about the demise of the native mirliton, but also was happily informed of one man’s quest to bring it back.
  • I spooned fig and bourbon preserves onto a country ham biscuit, confirming a match made in Southern heaven.
  • I rode on a school bus with a woman who wore a different Elvis t-shirt every day.
  • I had lunch with a fishmonger who brings seafood from the Gulf of Mexico to the West Coast.
  • I discovered that people will come up with crazy variations on common games, such as “Sexual Jenga.” And no, I did not play it.
  • I realized that I would like to have a bento box for lunch every day.
  • I smiled after a talented friend “blinged up” my name tag with Hello Kitty stickers (and more).
  • I chatted with one of the best chefs in the Triangle, only to learn that our families are from the same neck of the woods.
  • I was proven wrong: someone does make a good fried pickle.
That’s what I did this weekend, and this was just the tip of the iceberg. What did you do?
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