John Egerton

Old cookbooks and old friends have a lot in common. Yesterday I picked up my autographed copy of John Egerton’s Southern Food: At Home, On the Road, In History


John is a foremost
authority and writer about Southern foods and is a founder of Southern Foodways Alliance. Like catching up with an old friend, it didn’t take me long to browse through the book and see all of the notes I made…especially about BBQ!

I like some of the quotes he has assembled in the book and there are a couple that particularly pertain to BBQ:

“The barbecue addict who is also a seasoned traveller looks only at the parking lot to pre-judge the restaurant’s product. If pickup trucks are parked beside expensive imports, he knows the barbecue is good because everyone in town eats there. More than any other cuisine barbecue draws the whole of Southern society from down the street and from miles around.”

(Gary D. Ford,
Southern Living, May, 1982.)

“No one who has had the good fortune to attend a barbecue will ever forget it. The smell of it all, the meat slowly roasting to a delicious brown over smoking fires, the hungry and happy crowds….

“Cue” is what they call it in Georgia, where it has been famous for many, many years. England had its roast beef and plum-pudding dinners, Rhode Island its clambakes, Boston its pork and beans, but Georgia has its barbecue which beats them all. So famous is it, in fact, that it has become a social and political force, and as a political entertainment has been duplicated in many States of the Union….It is no exaggeration to say that many a gubernatorial election in Georgia has been carried by means of votes gained at barbecues, and no campaign for Governor is complete without a series of such popular feasts.”

(John R. Watkins,
Strand Magazine, London, October 1898)

BBQ is truly America’s classic cuisine that draws people from all economic and social backgrounds together like a ‘common denominator’.

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