Edge interview, AJC

Edge interview,Outside

Latest Tweets


 RSS Feed

Edge profile, AJC.

Edge Interview, Outside.


Edge is now at work on The Potlikker Papers, a history of the modern South, told from the lunch counter sit-ins of 1960 forward. The Penguin Press will publish in 2017. 

Also by Edge:

Co-editor with Elizabeth Englehardt and Ted Ownby, The Larder: Food Studies Methods from the American South, University of Georgia Press, 2013

The sixteen essays in The Larder argue that the study of food does not simply help us understand more about what we eat and the foodways we embrace. The methods and strategies herein help scholars use food and foodways as lenses to examine human experience. The resulting conversations provoke a deeper understanding of our overlapping, historically situated, and evolving cultures and societies.


Truck Food Cookbook, Workman Publishing, 2012

An exploration of modern American truck and street food. Check the Tumblr site. 



Southern Belly: The Ultimate Food Lover’s Companion to the South (3rd edition paperback, 2012)


Buy a signed copy from Square Books and have the nice folks in Oxford ship it to you. 


Edge reveals a South hidden in plain sight, where restaurants boast family pedigrees and serve supremely local specialties found nowhere else. He introduces you to cooks who have been standing tall by the stove since Eisenhower was in office.


While revealing the stories behind their food, he shines a bright light on places that have become Southern institutions. In this fully updated and expanded edition, with recipes throughout, Edge travels from chicken shack to fish camp, from barbecue stand to pie shed. Pop this handy paperback in the glove box to take along on your next road trip. And even if you never get in the car, you'll enjoy the most savory history that the South has to offer.



Donuts: An American Passion (2004)


Few can write with such gusto, imagination, and grace as everyman omnivore and cultural historian John T. Edge. His passion, irreverence, and intelligence illuminate the culinary road less traveled.


John T. celebrates America’s iconic foods. His books are quirky and spirited and delightful reads. John T. takes readers on a pilgrimage to the land of donut legend. He pays homage to the Salvation Army’s band of World War I Donut Lassies, to a California son of Japanese immigrants who stuffs donuts with jewel-like strawberries, to a New York City baker who weeps over his donut dough.


He crosses the country sampling crullers and Bismarks, paczikis and beignets at diners, dives, and donut carts. And he introduces a collection of sweet and savory recipes along the way. The result is what John Thorne, writing in The Art of Eating calls “not a quest for recipes but a desire to connect with the passion of people.”



Hamburgers & Fries: An American Story (2003)


“Passion for his subject shines through like a harvest moon on a clear autumn night, illuminating with stunning clarity. John T. Edge strikes again.”

– Ellen Sweets, The Denver Post


Our love affair with the burger dates back 100-plus years, but unlike other universal dishes, the hamburger is a purely American invention. Armed with a notebook and a hearty appetite, Edge travels across the country and selects fifteen recipes for the best burger and fries you’ve ever sunk your teeth into.


From greasy spoons to four-star restaurants to roadside stands, Edge samples the local cuisine—pimento burgers, Jucy Lucys, steamers, and bean burgers, to name a few—and sprinkles in history and gastronomy in equal measure. Along the way, he sweet-talks the chefs into sharing recipes, burger folklore, and peculiar local knowledge. Edge traces our heritage through our favorite comfort foods in a quirky, charming, mouth-watering book that is part travelogue, part cookbook, and part history.



Fried Chicken: An American Story (2002)



“Edge takes one of my favorite subjects on earth -- fried chicken -- and writes the extra-crispy hell out of it. It is the way he welds the food to the cooks, their life experiences and homeplaces, that make this a wonderful read.” – Rick Bragg


With Fried Chicken Edge celebrates the food that conjures childhood and comfort, that compels the reader to hit the road in search of the greasy grail, that call a reader to the kitchen—the ones everybody thinks their mom made best. In doing so he discovers the story of America itself, using food as a lens to view history and culture and reveal a rich social landscape.



Apple Pie: An American Story (2002)

In Apple Pie, Edge documents the joys of good eating as well as our deep personal associations with our most iconic food. With this book and Fried Chicken, Edge begins a series about our most cherished dishes - served up in smart, funny, and irreverently entertaining narratives - that form an affectionate portrait of our country by way of our bellies.




A Gracious Plenty: Recipes and Recollections from the American South (2000)


"There have been many, many cookbooks about the food of the former Confederacy. But A Gracious Plenty: Recipes and Recollections from the American South by John T Edge trumps them all." – Raymond Sokolov, Wall Street Journal


Written as a graduate student project for the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, A Gracious Plenty features thematic essays on Southern identity, archival photos, and a rich treasury of recipes pulled from the region’s best community cookbooks.


Anthologized Writing

More than a dozen of Edge’s pieces have been anthologized. Magazine pieces including “Paris Through Yam Colored Glasses” and others appear in the Best Food Writing series. Also look for Edge in the Best of the Oxford American, in the Cornbread Nation series, and in a number of college textbooks and writing primers.


Co-author or Contributor

Edge wrote the extensive history that fronts Mrs. Wilkes’ Boardinghouse Cookbook as well as a number of essays in chef Frank Stitt’s cookbook. He has also written introductions to a number of books including a revised edition of Hint and Pinches, the Eugene Walter classic.



A long time ago while dwelling in a galaxy of penury, Edge wrote a number of guidebooks including a paean to Georgia for Compass as well as portions of three different Deep South and New Orleans guides for Lonely Planet. And way back in 1996, while still living in Atlanta and working as a corporate swine, Edge– with friends Nelson Ross and Boyd Baker – wrote and self-published Belly of Atlanta, an irreverent guide to the city.