Women at Work featured in Southern Foodway Alliance

By Tien Nguyen, LA Weekly

If you’ve spent any time planning a trip through the South, your research may have already led you to the Southern Foodways Alliance ‘s treasure trove of oral histories ; if not, be prepared to start planning a fantasy trip right about now. The project is part of the organization’s mission  to celebrate and document Southern food culture, and while the entire collection is worth exploring, maybe start with the most recent interviews featured on the site: That would be terrific talks with Southern women about their work, which, given that “Women at Work”  was the theme of its annual symposium this past weekend in Oxford, Mississippi, only seems appropriate.

Pie from the women of Arkansas

What makes these profiles particularly great is how these interviews were conducted; between the snippets of audio and the full transcripts, you gain a full, three-dimensional picture of who these women are. This is no small feat, especially considering that too many of these sorts of gender-based projects are reductive and flat , or, to borrow some terminology from Manohla Dargis , can’t seem to unlock women from their gender.

The interviews are organized by category: There are several in-depth profiles of women who farm in Georgia , for example, and there are profiles of various women working in Charleston . And one of our favorites is Sara Wood’s interview with sisters Deborah Pratt and Clementine Boyd Macon , champion oyster shuckers who have been competing in local and international competitions since 1985. You’ll learn as much about these two as you will about oyster shucking, like their experience growing up in Middlesex County (“It was a little hard but we made it through”); different types of oysters shuckers (“A hinge shucker doesn’t shuck a very beautiful oyster because it damage it up so bad, but a person that’s shucking from the lip of the oyster has a beautiful clean-cut oyster”); and why shucking is a very viable career option (“If you learn how to shuck oysters, [you] can make more than a secretary making in one day sitting down on their rump”).

Read the full article by Tien Nguyen from LA Weekly.

Báo Người Việt hoan nghênh quý vị độc giả đóng góp và trao đổi ý kiến. Chúng tôi xin quý vị theo một số quy tắc sau đây:

Tôn trọng sự thật.
Tôn trọng các quan điểm bất đồng.
Dùng ngôn ngữ lễ độ, tương kính.
Không cổ võ độc tài phản dân chủ.
Không cổ động bạo lực và óc kỳ thị.
Không vi phạm đời tư, không mạ lỵ cá nhân cũng như tập thể.

Tòa soạn sẽ từ chối đăng tải các ý kiến không theo những quy tắc trên.

Xin quý vị dùng chữ Việt có đánh dấu đầy đủ. Những thư viết không dấu có thể bị từ chối vì dễ gây hiểu lầm cho người đọc. Tòa soạn có thể hiệu đính lời văn nhưng không thay đổi ý kiến của độc giả, và sẽ không đăng các bức thư chỉ lập lại ý kiến đã nhiều người viết. Việc đăng tải các bức thư không có nghĩa báo Người Việt đồng ý với tác giả.

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