ATLANTA (June 12, 2013) – It’s a simple question: What food tradition in your life reflects time or place or evokes a specific memory?

In interviews throughout the South, Whole Foods Market documentarian Kate Medley asked this question of farmers, home cooks, professional chefs, writers, artists, and children. The resulting project, A Spoken Dish, captures heartfelt stories about a wide range of subjects including the Civil Rights Movement, Hurricane Katrina, the Great Migration, traditional hog killings, magic pickling rocks, Southern spaetzle, paw paws, gumbo, and more. 

A joint endeavor from Georgia Organics, Southern Foodways Alliance and Whole Foods Market, A Spoken Dish is a storytelling project dedicated to celebrating and documenting food memories and rituals from people across the South.

“The goal of A Spoken Dish is to document the palate of a changing South; one that demonstrates the diversity of our communities by way of what lands on the supper table,” Medley said. “We want to know more about how people are cooking and how they got there – from the North Carolinian who holds the generations-old recipe for Appalachian fermented beans, to the Atlantan who riffs on her Caribbean roots by way of grits and okra.”

Included among 50 short video vignettes are interviews with:

• Steven Satterfield, Chef, Miller Union, Atlanta, GA
• Sheri Castle, cookbook author, Chapel Hill, NC
• Geno Lee, fourth generation owner of the Big Apple Inn, Jackson, MS
• Will Harris, farmer and rancher, White Oak Pastures, Bluffton, GA
• Carol Puckett, home cook and culinary educator, Jackson, MS
• Ella Averett, first grader and gardener, Griffin, GA

“A Spoken Dish is one of the most dynamic and visually appealing uses of digital media I’ve seen applied to foodways,” said John T Edge, director of the Southern Foodways Alliance. “We’re especially proud to work again with Kate, who earned her master’s degree in Southern Studies here at the University of Mississippi, where the SFA is headquartered.”

A Spoken Dish would love to hear the stories behind your food identity and traditions. Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Georgia Organics is a member supported, non-profit organization connecting organic food from Georgia farms to Georgia families. We believe food should be community-based, not commodity-based.


The Southern Foodways Alliance documents, studies, and celebrates the diverse food cultures of the changing American South. A member-supported non-profit, based at the University of Mississippi, the SFA stages a symposia on food culture, produces documentary films, collects oral histories, and publishes compendiums of great writing. For more information please visit and follow [SFA] on Twitter, @Potlikker.