Meet Karen Barker of Southern Foodways Alliance

Meet one of the founders of SFA and preserver of Southern food culture.


Hi, I'm Karen Barker and I am originally from Brooklyn. New York but now reside in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I'm a pastry chef and a former owner of the Magnolia Grill in Durham, North Carolina. SFA is important to Southern food for so many reasons. Of course it's the preservation The recording of, education, but most importantly, I think, Southern Foodways Alliance brings people together to a common table. It's sitting down and sharing meals together and that is just, it's a treasure to be able to do that. I think the recipes that are most important to the South are probably the ones that transcend generations. They're family recipes. They're not chef ranted recipes and not enough of them have been preserved. There's so many that seem to get lost through history. I think in order to tell a story about the South And using one pantry item I'd probably choose buttermilk. I personally couldn't abide by buttermilk until I moved to the south because I never really knew what true buttermilk was. I'm talking about full throttle, full fat, buttermilk. Not the insipid, just nasty stuff that you tend to get in most other regions of the country. You can't bake really well without buttermilk. My husband claims that the best snack in the world is cornbread crumbled up into a bowl of buttermilk. I finally learned to drink it by the glass.
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