Meet Donna Florio of Southern Foodways Alliance

Watch our Q&A with Southern Living staffer and one of the founders of SFA.


I'm Donna Florio. I'm a Senior Writer at Southern Living magazine in the Food Department. I'm from Charleston, South Carolina but I've lived in Birmingham now for about 17 years. I think some of the most Southern, most important Southern recipes would be biscuits because they're so universal. They've transcended every every economic class, every racial class. I think they're, they're, you know, there're a lot of foods that are, but I think that biscuits are so basic, and so easy, and so much an everyday thing for so many people. But I also think you can't estimate, underestimate the power of the deviled egg. Shortening would tell a great story about food across the region. A lot of people use it in biscuits, it's used in frying. I once read in a book by Marcie Ferris, that shortening was a great boon to the Jewish population in the South. Because they could not really make the biscuits because it was, they were made with lard at the time. But because vegetable shortening is vegetable and not, not pork it opened up some things to them that weren't available before. And I think that's really interesting. But I think so many people fry in vegetable shortening. Maybe with a touch of lard in it if they like, or a touch of bacon grease for flavor but it, it does it's used in so many ways.
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