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Edna Lewis, Southern Food & Identity: A Conversation & Book Signing Event

  • Southern Food & Beverage Museum 1504 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard New Orleans, LA, 70113 United States (map)

2018 Contemporary Issues in Food & Drink Lecture Series presented by Domino Foods, Inc.

Edna Lewis, Southern Food, & Identity: A Conversation with Sara Franklin & Liz Williams

The food of the South resonates with the heartbeats of the people who have developed and eaten it. From the outside it is Southern food. From the inside, it is food. Sara Franklin and Liz Williams will explain the role of Edna Lewis in introducing America to Southern Food and shaping the way we see the South and its food. 

Edna Lewis was born in Freetown, VA in 1916. She moved to Washington, DC and then New York City, where she become known to the public for her excellent cooking at Cafe Nicholson. She wrote several cookbooks, including The Taste of Country Cooking, that wove Southern recipes together with stories of her childhood in Freetown. Lewis is acknowledged as a leader in the farm-to-table movement and her emphasis on seasonal, regional cooking helped create and refine Southern cuisine as we know it today. 

Admission to the lecture is free, but please RSVP below to secure your spot. Lecture begins at 6:00 PM.

Southern Cookbooks: Reception and Book Signing with Authors

A brief reception will follow the lecture at the Southern Food & Beverage Museum from 7 to 8 PM. Both Sara Franklin and Liz Williams will be available to sign copies of their books, which will be available for purchase in the SoFAB Pantry.

Other authors will join them in the museum to sign and sell copies of their books for a celebration of cookbooks and Southern food culture, in partnership with the John & Bonnie Boyd Hospitality & Culinary Library.

  • Jyl Benson

  • Beth D'Addono

  • Yvette Jemison

  • Cindy Nobles

  • Justin Nystrom

  • Chef Diana Riley

  • Poppy Tooker

  • Judy Walker

  • Nancy Wilson

  • Kit Wohl

Vintage books will also be on sale to support the library, so use this as a pre-holiday shopping excursion for your favorite foodie or yourself. As you explore the museum, please take a moment to visit the newly updated Florida state exhibit as well!


This is the 9th annual Contemporary Issues in Food & Drink Lecture Series presented by Domino Foods, Inc. Thanks to Domino Foods, Inc. for their continued support of this important and informative lecture series.


About the Presenters

Sara Franklin


 I'm a writer, oral historian, scholar and avid home cook and gardener. I love feeding people and being fed, asking questions and trying to answer them, too. For me, it's all food, all the time. I've worked as a organic vegetable farmer, restaurant reviewer, anti-poverty and sustainable agriculture policy advocate, urban agriculture instructor, researcher at the American Museum of Natural History, and professional pie baker.

My first book-- a collection of essays I commissioned and edited on the renowned southern chef and food writer, Edna Lewis-- was published by UNC Press in 2018. I have a PhD in Food Studies from NYU; my dissertation was based on a series of oral history interviews I conducted with the legendary editor, Judith Jones. I teach courses on food culture and writing at NYU's Gallatin School for Individualized Study and via the NYU Prison Education Initiative at Wallkill Correctional Facility. I live with my husband, chef Chris Bradley (of the Phoenicia Diner) our twins, Cal and Eliza, and our rambunctious Boston terrier in Kingston, New York.

Liz Williams, President | Director, Southern Food & Beverage Museum

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Always fascinated by the way the lure of nutmeg and peppercorns motivated the exploration of the world, Liz Williams was lucky to be born into a family of Sicilian heritage in New Orleans.  She grew up eating in two great food traditions.   She is a founder of the Southern Food & Beverage Museum and President of the National Food & Beverage Foundation.  Much of her research and writing centers on the legal and policy issues related to food and foodways. Her book, coauthored with Stephanie Jane Carter, 

The Encyclopedia of Law and Food, was published by Greenwood Publishing in 2011. In 2013 AltaMira published New Orleans: A Food Biography. Her book Lift Your Spirits: A Celebratory History of Cocktail Culture in New Orleans about the drinking culture of New Orleans was published by LSU Press in the spring of 2016.

About the Authors


Jyl Benson began her editorial career in 1990 with The Times Picayune and served as a regional reporter covering the southeastern United States for both The New York Times and Time magazine. She wrote Galatoire's Cookbook: Recipes & Family History from the Time-Honored New Orleans Restaurant (Random House 2005) as well as several cultural, historical, and architectural guides to New Orleans. Jyl is now a dining columnist for St. Charles AvenueAcadiana Profileand Louisiana Life magazines, a frequent contributor to New Orleans magazine, and the author of Fun Funky, Fabulous: New Orleans Casual Restaurant Recipes (2015, Pelican Publishing and Louisiana's Tables (2017, Savory House Press).

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Beth D'Addono is a food and travel writer crazy for her home city New Orleans. She writes regularly for outlets including USAToday/10Best, AAA Traveler, AAA World, Southbound, Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News, Taste, Country Roads, and others. She is the author of The Hunt Guide New Orleans, an insider’s guide to some of the best independently owned restaurants and shops in New Orleans and 100 Things to do in New Orleans Before You Die, a bucket-list of delicious things you won’t want to miss in the city.

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Yvette Jemison is a New Orleans based home cook known for her blog  She also contributes her recipes and food photography at Inside New Orleans Magazine's "In Great Taste" column. She is currently compiling family recipes into a series of cookbooks.  Her first cookbook, Entertain Effortlessly Gift Deliciously is available a   Yvette has truly enjoyed a well-seasoned life that she shares through her recipes, blog, Instagram @y_delicacies and her cooking workshops. 

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Cynthia LeJeune Nobles is a cookbook editor for LSU Press and former food columnist for the Baton Rouge/New Orleans Advocate. She is also the author of The Delta Queen Cookbook and A Confederacy of Dunces Cookbook, and co-author of The Fonville Winans Cookbook.


Justin Nystrom is an Associate Professor of History and director of the Center for the Study of New Orleans at Loyola University. A specialist in nineteenth and twentieth century America, his publications include New Orleans after the Civil War: Race, Politics, and a New Birth of Freedom(2010) and Creole Italian: Sicilian Immigrants and the Shaping of New Orleans Food Culture (2018). He lives in Uptown with his wife Jess and two young sons, Virgil and Henry Francis.


Chef Diana Riley's interest for cooking and military service began while she was in high school. Her military occupational specialty was food service specialist, and she is an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran and received an honorable discharge. After 9 years, her military career ended but not her passion. She is the owner and Executive Chef at The Kitchen Table Catering Company, LLC. In her best-selling cookbook, Cooking on Purpose Life Lessons Learned from the Kitchen, she shares her journey and readers can gain insight to the "chef life" and her upcoming book soon to be released Grace at the Kitchen Table.


Poppy Tooker is a food personality, culinary teacher and author, and she is passionate about food and the people who bring it to the table. She brings all of these elements to the table in her weekly NPR affiliated radio show, Louisiana Eats! recently named 2014’s Best Radio Show by the New Orleans Press Club. She provides weekly restaurant commentary on the PBS show, Steppin’ Out seen on WYES TV.  She is the author of four books: The Crescent City Farmers Market Cookbook (2007), a 2012 re-issue of Madame Begue’s Recipes of Old New Orleans CookeryLouisiana Eats!, and Tujague’s Restaurant Cookbook – Creole Recipes and Lore in the Grand New Orleans Tradition (2015).

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Judy Walker is the author of seven cookbooks, and is now retired from writing food and feature stories for three daily newspapers. She writes a freelance recipe column for all editions of The Advocate, which pays for her addiction to quilting. 


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Nancy Wilson is the former owner of Louisiana Gourmet Enterprises, a family owned food manufacturing company.  The company was the first to introduce Cajun Creole  foods to the grocery market as convenience foods.  Her Mam Papaul brand of Cajun Creole dinner mixes, Velvet Cake and Frosting mixes, and Mardi Gras King Cake Mix are now sold nationally. Nancy Wilson is the author of five books. She was one of the first to recognize food as a vehicle for preserving culture with her little book Mam Papaul Country Creole Basket. It is recognized as the iconic Creole cookbook of the seventies.

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Kit Wohl is an award-winning writer, photographer, and artist. A lifelong food and wine enthusiast, she was set on a culinary path by a chance visit with legendary James Beard. Since 2005, she has authored fifteen cookbooks. Pure serendipity, she says. Her new book is New Orleans Icons: Iron Lace (Pelican Publishing) a new Icons series following her New Orleans Classics series. She also wrote The James Beard Foundation's Best of the Best: A 25th Anniversary Celebration of America's Outstanding Chefs (Chronicle Books), Flavors of Taste with Jeremiah Tower, Arnaud’s Restaurant Cookbook and P&J Oysters Cookbook.