A Powerful, and Provocative, Voice for Southern Food

Mr. Edge has a new book, “The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South” (Penguin). It spans 60 years, starting with the cooks whose food fueled the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott in 1955 and ending with a South of new immigrants, where the fried okra might be sprinkled with fish sauce or the barbecue ribs doused in gochujang.

“It is the moment in our history I find most compelling,” he said. “I’m a hopeful Southerner who tells truths about the South. That’s at least what I intend.”

If you become the nation’s most quoted authority on Southern food, you are sure to collect critics, and Mr. Edge, 54, has his share. Even some fans find his take on Southern history wrapped in too much romance, his style too…

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