Food writing was on the menu at Meredith College’s Friends of the Library spring meeting, held on March 1, 2016. Bridgette Lacy, Bill Smith, and Andrea Weigl, the authors of three entries in the Savor the South cookbook series, participated in a panel discussion led by Meredith Associate Professor of Nutrition Susan Fisher.
Weigl is the assistant features editor at The News & Observer. She has been an award-winning reporter, writer, and editor for almost 20 years. She is the author of Pickles and Preserves: A Savor the South Cookbook. Crook’s Corner Chef Bill Smith is the only James Beard Foundation “America’s Classic Restaurant” chef ever to have twice been named a final-five finalist for Best Chef in the Southeast. His entry in the Savor the South series is Crabs & Oysters. Bridgette Lacy is a food journalist and cookbook author. She is the author of Sunday Dinner, another of the Savor the South cookbook series.
Each of the panelists discussed the inspiration for their entry in the Savor the South series and trends they have seen in the food world. They also shared their favorite restaurants and food writing.
A primary topic was the panelists' take on what makes Southern cooking special.
Smith pointed out that in the South, food comes with a narrative. “Food always has a story here,” he said. “There is an oral history and cultural story that comes with the recipe.”
Lacy agreed, mentioning the food memories that come from family recipes. She encouraged those in the audience to learn from the cooks in their families, or to pass on their own food stories.
“In the South, food is such a gift,” Lacy said. “People love you through the food they bring” when someone is ill, or when there is a family issue.
Weigl said her job at The News & Observer necessitated becoming “a student of southern food … storytelling is part of the process.”
Carlyle Campbell Library purchased copies of all four cookbooks featured at the dinner and these books are available for loan.
Next up for the Friends of the Library is a reading by author Erik Larson on Friday, March 25 at 7 p.m. in Jones Chapel. This event is co-sponsored with Quail Ridge Books. Larson, the author of narrative nonfiction books including Devil in the White City and In the Garden of Beasts, will present his newest book, Dead Wake. Learn more on the Quail Ridge Books website.