Live Stream: UNC Press Presents Rebecca Sharpless, author of Grain and Fire

Event Image: 
Image contains the text: UNC Press Presents Rebecca Sharpless, Thursday, June 30, 2022 at 6pm ET. Next to the text are photos of the participant and the cover of the featured book.

Malaprop's is pleased to partner with UNC Press to present this event with Rebecca Sharpless. Kirk Brown will moderate.

This event is a free event, but registration is required. Click here to register. The link required to attend will be emailed to registrants prior to the event. 

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While a luscious layer cake may exemplify the towering glory of southern baking, like everything about the American South, baking is far more complicated than it seems. Rebecca Sharpless here weaves a brilliant chronicle, vast in perspective and entertaining in detail, revealing how three global food traditions—Indigenous American, European, and African—collided with and merged in the economies, cultures, and foodways of the South to create what we know as the southern baking tradition.

Recognizing that sentiments around southern baking run deep, Sharpless takes delight in deflating stereotypes as she delves into the surprising realities underlying the creation and consumption of baked goods. People who controlled the food supply in the South used baking to reinforce their power and make social distinctions. Who used white cornmeal and who used yellow, who put sugar in their cornbread and who did not had traditional meanings for southerners, as did the proportions of flour, fat, and liquid in biscuits. By the twentieth century, however, the popularity of convenience foods and mixes exploded in the region, as it did nationwide. Still, while some regional distinctions have waned, baking in the South continues to be a remarkable, and remarkably tasty, source of identity and entrepreneurship.

Rebecca Sharpless is professor of history at Texas Christian University. Her most recent book is Cooking in Other Women’s Kitchens: Domestic Workers in the South, 1865–1960.

The Rev. David C. (Kirk) Brown is the recently retired chaplain of Christ School. Kirk received his A.B. from Davidson College, his M.A. from the University of Virginia (Germanic Studies), and his M.Div. from Virginia Theological Seminary.  Kirk is a member of the UNC Press Advancement Council and lives with his wife, Shelley, on a farm in Fletcher.

Event date: 
Thursday, June 30, 2022 - 6:00pm
Event address: 
Virtual event
Grain and Fire: A History of Baking in the American South Cover Image
ISBN: 9781469668369
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University of North Carolina Press - June 28th, 2022

Cooking in Other Women's Kitchens: Domestic Workers in the South,1865-1960 Cover Image
ISBN: 9781469606866
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days.
Published: University of North Carolina Press - February 1st, 2013

SKU: x672389