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Food and Violence


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I'm working on a brief article on food and violence in the South. I've found some great stuff: two cousins in Conechuc county Alabama who cut each other up w scythes over whose wife cooked the best cornbread, jelly, and chitlins; a sweet potato pie muder in Atlanta; and a bunch of lesser food-as-mayhem stories involving, among other things, pilfered nacho cheese and nudity.

I'm looking for more: Appalachian murder ballads that reference food, scenes from literature, you get the picture. Any help will be much appreciated. And, going forward, I promise to be more active on these boards: at least once a week,

John T

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The literary slant is one that I will be milking for bar conversation through the weekend.

This maybe slightly tangential to the story, but it is familly lore that one of my ancestors was dismissed from the Citadel around the turn of the century (previous) -- along with the entire class!!! -- for a food fight of epic proportions.

William McKinney aka "wcmckinney"
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A recent study revealed that Southerners are prone to higher testosterone surges than the Northerners because they are descended from Celtic stock who genetically tend towards higher testosterone levels. This study was conducted by two mid western professors and everyone expected moral outrage over this most simplistic slant of sociobiology. Surprisingly, the southerners chose to interpret this veiled implication to higher aggression as a badge of honour. To them, theirs is a culture of honour. It is not about aggression or violence. It was merely about the just and appropriate response to any slight upon their honour or wound on their pride. While left leaning liberals prepared to attack the study, the southerners rejoiced.

P.S. I can dig up references. I am not making political statements. The results of said study does not indicate my opinions upon this issue either way.

I'm working on a brief article on food and violence in the South. I've found some great stuff: two cousins in Conechuc county Alabama who cut each other up w scythes over whose wife cooked the best cornbread, jelly, and chitlins; a sweet potato pie muder in Atlanta; and a bunch of lesser food-as-mayhem stories involving, among other things, pilfered nacho cheese and nudity.

I'm looking for more: Appalachian murder ballads that reference food, scenes from literature, you get the picture. Any help will be much appreciated. And, going forward, I promise to be more active on these boards: at least once a week,

John T

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I'm looking for more: Appalachian murder ballads that reference food, scenes from literature, you get the picture.

John T

from White, Ruth. Belle Prater's Boy. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell/Yearling, 1996.

Blind Benny's role as the town sin eater is based on traditional beliefs (found in parts of Europe as well as Appalachia) about having someone (usually a person perceived as poor and hopeless) eat food that is laid out when someone dies, to take in the sins of the dead person.

John T, did you ever hear of these "town sin eaters"?

Real life stuff or pure folklore?

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Blind Benny's role as the town sin eater is based on traditional beliefs (found in parts of Europe as well as Appalachia) about having someone (usually a person perceived as poor and hopeless) eat food that is laid out when someone dies, to take in the sins of the dead person.

John T, did you ever hear of these "town sin eaters"?

Real life stuff or pure folklore?

Sin eaters used to be real life stuff in parts of Europe up until a hundred years ago. (ref: encyclopedia britannica)

Edited by FaustianBargain (log)
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What about Sam Cooke being attacked by a scorned lover with a pot full of hot grits? That's food violence if I ever heard of it.

Guess it was sometime before he wrote these lyrics:

So, Cupid, draw back your bow and let your arrow go

Straight to my lover's heart for me,

:hmmm::laugh:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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I could probably track this down in the archives if you're interested, but when I first came to The Observer in the mid-1980s, there was a juicy murder case in South Carolina that involved a man who killed his wife with a skillet after she overcooked his pork chops. As I recall, his defense was that he had dentures and claimed that she overcooked his pork chops every night on purpose, just so he couldn't chew them. He finally had enough and whacked her over the head with the skillet. A crime of passion if I ever heard one.

Kathleen Purvis, food editor, The Charlotte (NC) Observer

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Blind Benny's role as the town sin eater is based on traditional beliefs (found in parts of Europe as well as Appalachia) about having someone (usually a person perceived as poor and hopeless) eat food that is laid out when someone dies, to take in the sins of the dead person.

John T, did you ever hear of these "town sin eaters"?

Real life stuff or pure folklore?

Sin eaters used to be real life stuff in parts of Europe up until a hundred years ago. (ref: encyclopedia britannica)

I've got a good bit of research on that as part of my book on funeral food customs. There's evidence that it was still going on in the Appalachian Mountains in the early 20th century. Margaret Atwood wrote a lovely short story with sin eating as a theme.

Kathleen Purvis, food editor, The Charlotte (NC) Observer

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What about Sam Cooke being attacked by a scorned lover with a pot full of hot grits? That's food violence if I ever heard of it.

Was that Sam Cooke?

I thought it was the Rev. Al Green ("Let's Stay Together").

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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I'm pretty darn sure it was Al. Though I have heard heretical talk of cream of wheat as the offending porridge, JT

Was that Sam Cooke?

I thought it was the Rev. Al Green ("Let's Stay Together").

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I could probably track this down in the archives if you're interested, but when I first came to The Observer in the mid-1980s, there was a juicy murder case in South Carolina that involved a man who killed his wife with a skillet after she overcooked his pork chops. As I recall, his defense was that he had dentures and claimed that she overcooked his pork chops every night on purpose, just so he couldn't chew them. He finally had enough and whacked her over the head with the skillet. A crime of passion if I ever heard one.

I would like nothing better, Purvis. Please do. And in exchange I'll dig up my old cassette of songs by the screaming-banshee Athens band of the late 80s, the Barbecue Killers...

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  • 1 month later...
I'm working on a brief article on food and violence in the South. I've found some great stuff: two cousins in Conechuc county Alabama ,

John T

I can't help myself, I grew up just south of there and it is spelled Conecuh. I have been to a couple of outstanding dinner on the grounds up there. Those country baptists can really cook. Here are some pictures of the grocery in Burnt Corn, Conecuh County, Alabama check out the Bear Bryant coca colas. In fact, our church choir sang in the Bethany Baptist church during one revival.

Edited by joiei (log)

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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Wasn't there a scene in The Prince of Tides that revolved around violence and food?

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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