Lets give a warm welcome to our new friends Rien Fertel and Denny Culbert of The Barbecue Bus! Rien, Denny and their bus will travel North Carolina documenting Southern BBQ histories and traditions as part of an oral history for the Southern Foodways Alliance (SFA). So let’s “Dig the Pig!” and follow these guys during their exploration of North Carolina BBQ.
The Southern Foodways Alliance “stage events, produce documentary films, publish compendiums of great writing, and – perhaps most important – document and map our region’s culinary standard bearers through oral history interviews. We’re talking fried chicken cooks, barbecue pitmasters, bartenders, ham curers, and row crop farmers.”
To download SFA stories to iTunes, click here.
For further SFA reading, check out Gravy the SFA’s “quarterly publication. Gravy welcomes articles dealing with the diverse food cultures of the changing American South.”
The Barbeque Bus Press Release:
FOOD HISTORIAN/PHOTOGRAPHER DUO SET OUT IN NAME OF NC BARBECUE
Southern Foodways Alliance Extends BBQ Trail
OXFORD, MS—On Monday, November 14, 2011 food historian Rien Fertel and photographer Denny Culbert begin a month-long trip to gather and preserve the stories behind North Carolina’s barbecue culture. In conjunction with the Southern Foodways Alliance (SFA) and the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture, the duo will document the people and institutions that are historically and socially significant to North Carolina food culture. “We seek the stories behind the food and the tales from the people who have dedicated their lives to the barbecue craft,” says Fertel. “We’ll talk to Piedmont pitmasters, whole-hog smokers in the East, and hopefully, a pig purveyor or two. There’s no doubt plenty of meat, wood, and smoke will be tasted.”
At the culmination of the trip, the oral history will be added to the SFA’s online Southern BBQ Trail (http://www.southernbbqtrail.com/). Informally deemed “The Barbecue Bus,” Fertel and Culbert are traveling the entire state of North Carolina, outfitted in a state-of-the-art eco-friendly “green” RV. The two plan to hit major North Carolina cities like Lexington, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill, but also have some smaller towns on their food trail like Ayden, Hookerton, and Jason. Part of their research will be to capture the in-state rivalry between Lexington-style barbecue and the Eastern-style barbecue.
In addition to scouring barbecue eateries, Fertel and Culbert plan to explore North Carolina’s nonbarbecue restaurant scene, farmers markets and microbreweries. The pair is asking Barbecue Bus followers to tweet them with suggested stops along the trail.
Rien Fertel is completing his dissertation at Tulane University concerning Creole print culture, myth, and memory. He teaches in the Tulane University History department, researches and writes on culinary cultures, and has completed over 25 oral histories for the Southern Foodways Alliance, including the Tennessee Barbecue Trail (2008). Splitting his time between the banks of St. Martinville’s Bayou Teche and New Orleans’ Mississippi River, he’s deemed himself a “Bicoastal Louisianian.”
Denny Culbert, a former newspaper staff photographer who recently transitioned to full-time freelance work, is building a career documenting food culture at home and afield. His first collaboration with Rien Fertel was in early 2011, on the SFA’s Lunch Houses of Acadiana Trail. The graduate of the Ohio University School of Visual Communications is based in the heart of Cajun Country, Lafayette, Louisiana.
Contact: Rien Fertel