Yesterday in Nashville legendary Southern historian and founder of the Southern Foodways Alliance John Egerton passed away at the age of 78. In a heartfelt piece in today's New York Times, fellow Southern food expert and SFA director John T. Edge explains Egerton's legacy, calling his several books including The Americanization of Dixie; the Southernization of America and Southern Food: At Home, on the Road, in History "lamentations on the loss of regional distinctiveness and attempts to exorcise the demons that still hide in the bushes hereabouts." Edge credits Egerton with inspiring people to understand that "the table offers hope for redemption in a flawed and tragic region."
In honor of Egerton, the SFA released a video in which Egerton discusses his deeply-held faith in the power of Southern culture and food. "What's kept me going, really, is that I never can get to the root of what [the South] is," says Egerton in the 2012 video footage below. "It's always a little beyond my reach ... the closer I get to the heart and nub of it, the father away it would slip from me." Go, watch: