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Food and drink in the American South
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Hi, I’m Hanna Raskin. For more than two decades, I’ve worked as a newspaper reporter, starting in Columbus, Miss. Since those cub years of covering crooked cops and beauty pageants, I’ve written about every aspect of Southern food, including its contested history; the culture surrounding it and big business of selling it.
Food journalism for all
The above image of a reader has been the lock screen on my phone since I snapped it five or six years ago at the Charleston County Public Library.1 It’s a constant reminder of who I serve, which is to say: Not restaurant owners, publicists or anyone else with industry money or influence.
I believe that Charleston area residents appreciate that I take seriously my responsibility to stand up for the disenfranchised and challenge those in power by rooting out facts and reporting them clearly.2
But as immediate past president of the Association of Food Journalists, I am keenly aware that most newspapers continue to treat food as a lighthearted diversion. This occurs despite the outsized role that restaurants play in Americans’ lives, particularly in the realm of labor; race and gender relations; health and their shared built environment.
In the South, arguably the nation’s leading food section, this scarcity of true food journalism is shameful.
Welcome to The Food Section
My goal in starting this publication is to provide a forum for the kind of food news I’ve published in Charleston since 2013. That means a lively mix of restaurant reviews; investigative reports; opinion columns; itineraries for hungry travelers and features contextualizing the region’s tastes. I hope The Food Section will ultimately serve as a platform for food journalists across the South.
It isn’t all pretty: If you’re looking for banana pudding recipes or saccharine recollections of ice cream socials gone by, this probably isn’t the right newsletter for you.
But if you’re curious about Southern food, and have an appetite for both grit and glories, I hope you’ll stick around.
The Food Section will launch later this year. To make sure you don’t miss a word, subscribe today. And why not ask a friend to do the same?
No need to squint: He’s reading a story about the Lowcountry tradition of Black-owned bars serving up bushels of blue crabs to customers for free.