HomePosts Tagged "southern foodways" (Page 3)

Burkville, Alabama’s annual Okra Festival sustains its rural community in more ways than one. by Amanda Burleigh The 10th annual Okra Festival will be held in Burkville, Alabama, on August 28 this year. What started as a neighborhood party thrown by two friends in Lowndes County has blossomed into an annual festival drawing thousands of people to this small town located outside Montgomery. “Everybody in my little community grows the mighty okra, which we call ‘the peoples’ vegetable,’” says festival co-founder Barbara Evans. “It’s like us, strong, Southern, can withstand anything and keep going.” After the success of the first festival, Evans says townspeople wanted it to continue. “Local people cook all kinds of food, from pig ear sandwiches to gumbo. Okra is fried, steamed, stewed, boiled and used in art,” she says. But that’s not all. Festival goers will also find okra casseroles, hors d’oeuvres, pie and pickled okra. Sunny Boy King, a local bluesman, has been performing from Evans’ front porch, located on the festival grounds, since the second year. Vendors sell art, preserves and crafts, and there is even the occasional yard sale. “One year we had pony rides, but it was just too hot for the ponies,” says Evans, pictured

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When planning our road trip to McComb, Miss., just over the Louisiana border, I consulted Jane and Michael Stern’s trusty “Road Food” guide to find out where to eat. Only one listing for McComb comes up: The Dinner Bell. It’s noted as a “Top Pick” with five stars. I scanned the description until the term lazy Susan caught my eye and immediately got visions of a table crowded with people and heaping with food. Turns out, I wasn’t too far off from how things are done at one of The Dinner Bell’s huge round tables, but there are rules to follow when engaging in this more than 80-year-old tradition of dining. You have to wait to take your place at the table. Dishes must be picked up and served lest the lazy Susan spin away from you. And you have to try the fried eggplant. (You can hear the official rules as read by Owner Buddy Davis on our Featured Video.) Since we were visiting on a Saturday, the spread included BBQ ribs, smoked sausage, fried chicken, the famous fried eggplant, yams, chicken ‘n’ dumplings, cabbage, green beans, lima beans, red beans and rice, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn on the

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