Advanced Search | Search A!:
Volume 26, Number 7 — July 2019

New book documents Appalachian foodways

Publishers Weekly called Fred Sauceman's book
Publishers Weekly called Fred Sauceman's book "a charming homage to Appalachian cuisine that manages to capture both the character of its people and their appetites."
Additional photos below »

July 08, 2014

JOHNSON CITY Buttermilk and Bible Burgers: More Stories from the Kitchens of Appalachia is the latest book written by Fred Sauceman of East Tennessee State University. Featuring over 60 stories and 99 photographs, the book is published by Mercer University Press in Macon, Ga.

Divided into three chapters, "The People," "The Products" and "The Places," the new book ranges as far north as Coraopolis, Pa., and as far south as Birmingham, Ala. Most of the stories are centered in East Tennessee, Western North Carolina, and Southwest Virginia.

"'Buttermilk and Bible Burgers' confirms Fred Sauceman's stature among the most insightful anthropologists of Appalachian folkways," write Matt Lee and Ted Lee, authors of "The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen." "His culinary journeys in this volume yield fresh discoveries around every mountain pass. And Sauceman's connections with people over food and memories-the voice of a native Hawaiian turned Tennessee karaoke legend, a visit with the oldest woman in the world, or his own childhood memory of just-gigged frogs — are so richly observed that we feel we've experienced the journey ourselves."

In this latest collection, Sauceman guides readers through country kitchens and church fellowship halls, across pasture fields and into smokehouses, down rows of vegetable gardens at the peak of the season and alongside ponds resonant with the sounds of a summer night. The scenes and subjects are oftentimes uniquely personal, and they combine to tell a love story, a chronicle of one person's affection for a region and its people, its products, and its places.

Publishers Weekly called the book "a charming homage to Appalachian cuisine that manages to capture both the character of its people and their appetites."

Sauceman celebrates the foodways and culture of his native Appalachia through books, magazine articles, newspaper columns, radio, television, and documentary films. His home base is the campus of East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, where he teaches a course every fall entitled "The Foodways of Appalachia." This is his fourth book to be published by Mercer University Press. For more information, visit

A! ExtraTopics: Literature

The composite photo by Larry Smith, ETSU Photographic Services, features three generations of the Proffitt family, owners of Ridgewood Barbecue: Lisa Proffitt Peters, Larry Proffitt and the late Grace Proffitt.