Food nourishes the body and feeds the soul. Nowhere is that more evident than in the culinary creations cooked up in Appalachia. From soup beans and cornbread to stack cake, ramps and red hot dogs, there is a story behind every dish.
Fred Sauceman will take listeners on a tour “Through the Kitchens of Appalachia: A Personal Journey” at 3 p.m., today at the Washington County Public Library in Abingdon, Va., as the next speaker in its “Appalachian Homecoming” series.
A native of Greeneville, Sauceman has written extensively about food and its relationship to our region. He writes a monthly food column for the Johnson City Press and the “Flavors” page for Blue Ridge Country magazine. His stories about food and Southern culture are heard on “Inside Appalachia,” a radio program produced by West Virginia Public Broadcasting. “Food with Fred” appears monthly on WJHL-TV, the CBS affiliate in Johnson City.
He is the author of several books and has written for numerous publications. A member of the Southern Foodways Alliance, Sauceman is the editor of that organization’s book “Cornbread Nation 5: The Best of Southern Food Writing.” He is also the creator of the book “Home and Away: A University Brings Food to the Table,” among others.
He has directed five documentary films. His first, “A Red Hot Dog Digest,” traces the history of that product on Southwest Virginia’s Lee Highway. It was named one of “the best short films on southern foodways” by Southern Cultures. His second documentary, “Beans All the Way: A Story of Pintos and Persistence,” relates the history of The Bean Barn, a soup bean restaurant that originated in 1946 in Greeneville. “Mountain Mojo: A Cuban Pig Roast in East Tennessee” tells the story of a group of Cuban exiles who gather every fall in Kingsport to roast a pig and to remember. “Smoke in the Holler: The Saucy Story of Ridgewood Barbecue” was released in December 2011. His latest film, “Ramps and Ruritans: Tales of the Revered and Reeking Leek of Flag Pond, Tennessee,” debuted in the spring.
The Appalachian Homecoming series explores our region’s history, heritage and culture, and attempts to dispel many of the myths and misconceptions about the area. Future speakers include storyteller and author Wendy Welch.
The Washington County Public Library is located at 205 Oak Hill St., in Abingdon. Its four branches are located in Damascus, Glade Spring, Hayters Gap and Mendota.
For more information about the library, visit www.wcpl.net or call (276) 676-6222.