The Liquid South

The 11th annual Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium at the Ole Miss is going on right now, and this year it’s titled “The Liquid South: From Well Water to Sparkling Muscadine”.

On the schedule over the weekend are things like an absinthe tasting (it’s no longer banned as of…I think 2006 or 2007), sitting in on the Thacker Mountain Radio show, a “salute to encased meats and craft bears” (incl. Mississippi Pigs in Italian Blankets, L&M’s Kitchen and Salumeria; Chaurice with Grits, Vaucresson’s Sausage, New Orleans, Louisiana; Venison Sausage and P.C. Plate, Jim ’N Nick’s, B’ham, Alabama; plus craft beers from the Deep South), a ride in the Double Decker bus out to Taylor Grocery where they have that great sign for a “Front Porch Degustation”, a ‘Hot Cracklin’ Cornbread and Cold Buttermilk Breakfast’, & more & more & more. A complete schedule is here as a PDF.

Well, we can’t go this year but what I would be most excited about (from their press release):

This year, a new SFA-produced film will be screened, underwritten by the Fertel Foundation and directed by Joe York, director/producer at UM’s Center for Documentary Projects. The subject is Cheri Cruze, a Tennessee dairywoman who, along with her husband Earl, churns old-style buttermilk.

Real, old-style buttermilk. My favorite drink in the whole world.

Cheri Cruze and her husband run Cruze Farm and have a blog, here. This is from an interview the SFA did with them:

…So, finally after a few people kept nagging me for buttermilk, I said, “Put your money where your mouth is and sign this piece of paper. Give me your address, your phone number. And, when I make buttermilk, if I make buttermilk, I’ll call you and you’ll be my customer.” Once we had a hundred names of people willing to say, “I’ll be your customer,” I told Earl, “I think we have a demand here that needs to be met. These are people who want real churned buttermilk.” So, we tried it and we’ve been making buttermilk ever since. And really the demand is greater than we’ve ever been able to supply. People will drive–when they know about our buttermilk–will drive from out of state. They’ll drive for miles with coolers and stock up. People give it as birthday presents to people who turn 90 years old and have everything they’ve ever wanted but want to remember their childhood or their young years. Buttermilk is a memory food and it really makes people happy to drink a glass of buttermilk. It reminds them of when they were younger or of someone who made buttermilk or of somebody that has passed on. It’s a great–it’s a great gift in a way besides being a great food.

The Cruzes are bringing buttermilk with them to Oxford.

Alan: since you’re going (jealous!!!) can you bring me back a quart? Just kidding. Sort-of…

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