Social Roots
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Social Roots

Lowcountry Foodways, Reconnecting the Landscape

Edited by Sarah V. Ross

Afterword by Paul S. Sutter

Title Details

Pages: 286

Illustrations: 68 color and b&w photos

Trim size: 8.000in x 8.000in



Pub Date: 09/01/2024

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6248-9

List Price: $39.95

Social Roots

Lowcountry Foodways, Reconnecting the Landscape

Edited by Sarah V. Ross

Afterword by Paul S. Sutter

A celebration of the natural and culinary bounty of the southern Lowcountry

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  • Description
  • Reviews
  • Contributors

Social Roots is an interdisciplinary volume that draws on contributions from inside and outside the academy to explore the relationships between nature and culture as expressed in the foodways of the Georgia and South Carolina coasts.

In seventeen chapters, a handful of bespoke artworks, and recipes, Sarah V. Ross and her contributors illuminate the invisible threads that run in wild tangles through the Lowcountry, connecting massive live oaks and palmetto and freshwater sloughs with tidal waters flooding and draining the most extensive salt marshes on the Eastern Seaboard. These threads connect the landscape from the St. Marys River on the Georgia-Florida border to the confluence of Ashley and Cooper Rivers in Charleston, South Carolina. Flowing threads of tidal creeks—half ocean, half fresh river water—also connect us through time to cultures who feasted on an abundance of shellfish thousands of years ago. An enduring bounty of oysters, shrimps, crabs, clams, and mussels still lure us into their world.

Looking across time and geography, this book interweaves fundamental ecological principles as it honors three early cultures: Native American, European, and African. All were enmeshed with the coastal environment. All shared similar threads connecting food production: hunting, foraging, planting, cultivating, harvesting, preserving, and cooking. Across the ages, this ongoing connection—among land, harvester or farmer, and cook—forms the infrastructure of cookery practices. In large part, Lowcountry foodways are built simultaneously on scarcity and fickle opportunity.

This book is the story behind the farm-to-table movement. It brings together the global, multicultural, crosscultural, transnational mash-up that is southern cuisine, which continues to re-invent itself. My mouth was watering after nearly every chapter. While reading, I was constantly making connections between the cultural and natural influences on every meal I plan, prep, and eat. This book will change the way we think about lowcountry foodways.

—Christopher J. Manganiello, author of Southern Water, Southern Power: How the Politics of Cheap Energy and Water Scarcity Shaped a Region

Sarah V. Ross's language is accessible to a general audience, and she does a good job helping readers find connections between academic and artistic disciplines—and the work of Wormsloe plantation—on the common grounds of natural environment and regional foodways.

—Lynn A. Nelson, author of Pharsalia: An Environmental Biography of a Southern Plantation, 1780-1880

Drew Lanham

Sallie Ann Robinson

Roger Pinckney

Betsy Cain

David Kaminsky

Mark Uzmann

Philip Juras

John Martin Taylor

Lawrence Morris

Mashama Bailey

Roosevelt Brownlee

Julia Holly Campbell

C. Carroll

Brandon Carter

Christopher Curtis

Dorinda G. Dallmeyer

Benjamin ("B.J.") Dennis

Dionne Hoskins-Brown

Pamela N. Knox

John Knox

Emily Pauline

Charles Scarborough

Haley Stuckey

Marguerite Madden

Thomas R. Jordan

Janisse Ray

B. Merle Shepard

Edward G. Farnworth

Dwight Williams

April Bisner

David S. Shields

Hayden Smith

Drew A. Swanson

About the Author/Editor

SARAH V. ROSS is the former executive director of the University of Georgia Center for Research and Education at Wormsloe in Savannah, Georgia, as well as president of the Wormsloe Foundation and executive director of the Wormsloe Institute for Environmental History, both foundations that conduct and coordinate agricultural and environmental research focused on Georgia’s coastal landscapes. After growing organic vegetables in the Coastal Plain for forty-five years, Ross now cultivates more than four hundred heirloom varieties of vegetables organically in experimental research plots in Savannah, Georgia, and in Alleghany County, North Carolina. Her focus is to classify flavor profiles, document growth rates, measure drought and flood tolerance, and identify pest and disease resistance of diverse varieties.