Celebrating Edna Lewis and 10 Years of SoFAB

The Southern Food & Beverage Museum was pleased to welcome author Sara B. Franklin to the museum on October 18, 2018 for the 9th annual Contemporary Issues in Food & Drink Lecture Series presented by Domino Foods, Inc.


Sara and Liz Williams, SoFAB’s Director, shared a wide-ranging conversation about Edna Lewis, her life, and her ongoing impact on what we know as Southern cuisine today. Sara’s book, Edna Lewis: At the Table with an American Original, was inspired by Sara’s interest in Edna Lewis’s story, and how she moved from a tiny town in Virginia that was founded by emancipated slaves to New York City. Sara wanted to write a biography chronicling Edna’s life and exploring her culinary prowess and cookbook writing, but the lack of papers and original source documents made that task difficult. Instead, she began reaching out to people who had known Edna directly as well as contemporary cooks and writers who have been inspired by Edna’s work. The book is a collection of 21 of these essays, featuring Edna from different points of view and the past, present, and future impact of this incredible woman.


Following the conversation, the rest of the museum opened up for a reception and cookbook signing with a bevy of local cookbook authors, including Poppy Tooker, Justin Nystrom, Judy Walker, Yvette Jemison, and Nancy Wilson. With signing pens ready, they personalized a great selection of new and classic cookbooks for our attendees (a limited number of signed copies are still in the gift shop!). Delicious hors d’oeuvres were served by Olive Blue Catering and tasty cocktails were crafted by Belle Isle Moonshine. All around, we enjoyed an excellent party for SoFAB’s 10th anniversary!

One of our favorite states also enjoyed a bit of an update as well—Florida has gained some floor space and a Cuban coffee stand! A fantastic group of Floridians made up of NatFAB Board Members and other culinary enthusiasts spent time this year to include important Florida artifacts and stories from the Sunshine State.

Join us for the month of October, 2018 as we spotlight Culinary Innovation as part of the 10 Years of SoFAB programming! Food history is a field that shows clearly the impact of changing tastes, new technology, and new ideas. SoFAB’s Rouse’s Culinary Innovation Center by Jenn-Air hosts lessons, demo, and more to educate and cultivate the next generation of innovators, and the Contemporary Issues in Food & Drink Lecture Series sponsored by Domino Foods, Inc. provides food for thought on the future of American foodways.