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344 pp., 7 x 10, 79 illus., notes, bibl., index

ISBN  978-0-8078-7123-2
Published: September 2010

Matzoh Ball Gumbo

Culinary Tales of the Jewish South

By Marcie Cohen Ferris

From the colonial era to the present, Marcie Cohen Ferris examines the expressive power of food throughout southern Jewish history. She demonstrates with delight and detail how southern Jews reinvented culinary traditions as they adapted to the customs, landscape, and racial codes of the American South. Richly illustrated, this culinary tour of the historic Jewish South is an evocative mixture of history and foodways, including more than thirty recipes to try at home.

About the Author

Marcie Cohen Ferris is associate professor of American studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a former president of the Southern Foodways Alliance.


"This culinary journey embraces oral histories, poignant anecdotes and evocative photographs to explore the power of food in the Jewish South. More than 30 recipes, many blending Jewish and Southern food traditions, add a cook's perspective and illustrate the story at the dinner table."
--Chapel Hill Magazine

"Fascinating reading mixed with delicious recipes."
--Chicago Tribune, a syndicated column

"Takes readers on a tasty road trip."
--Arkansas Libraries

"Handsomely produced, filled with vivid and evocative photographs with many piquant sidebars. . . . The carefully selected recipes that accompany each chapter are skillfully adapted and usable."
--Journal of Material Religion

"A Jewish native of Arkansas and anthropological historian examines the compromises, adaptations and challenges of a people adrift in a land where such forbidden foods as pork and shellfish were staples."
--Black Issues Book Review

"A must-read for Vicksburg-area residents. . . . Ferris is no ordinary cookbook author. She is a writer of history – Southern Jewish history as it can be told through the recipes served on Jewish family tables."
--Vicksburg Post

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