The Potlikker Papers one of, if not the, best food history books I’ve ever read. It goes from the segregated South to the Black Panthers (did you know Bobby Seale* has a cookbook?) to Nation of Islam to hippies relocating from cities to the deep South to start communes to Paul Prudhomme to Southern Living to post-Katrina NOLA to small batch bourbon distilleries. As a food and as a history person, this book was tailor-made for me. He does a great job of weaving in politics, background, history, and food in the most seamless way imaginable. I cannot recommend this book enough. It is the most exhaustive yet tremendously readable food history I’ve ever read.
It is the most exhaustive yet tremendously readable food history I’ve ever read. It is about food but touches on nearly every aspect of Southern history and culture. I will say it is mostly about food in restaurants, not home cooking but I do not think that took away from the book at all.
*In the forward he says “They used to holler ‘Free, Bobby!’, ‘Free, Bobby!’, ‘Free Bobby!’ Now they are going to yell ‘Bobby-que!’, ‘Bobby-que!’, ‘Bobby-que!'”