Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Getting Carried Away With Betty

Author Betty Fussell kicks off the Southern Food and Beverage Museum’s (SoFAB) Special Lecture Series with “Raising Steaks: The Life and Times of American Beef,” on Saturday, May 2, 2009 at 5 p.m. at the museum. Best known for her book The Story of Corn, winner of the first Jane Grigson Award given by the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) in 1993, Betty Fussell is the author of ten books, ranging from biography to cookbooks, food history and memoir. Her most recent book on American food, Raising Steaks: The Life and Times of American Beef, was published in the fall and has been nominated for a book award by the IACP and the James Beard Foundation.

“We are excited to have a culinary star of Betty’s caliber lecturing at SoFAB. It will be a stimulating event timed to prime the appetite,” says Liz Williams, Director of SoFAB. A frequent speaker at IACP conferences, Betty Fussell was Scholar in Residence in 1999. Her essays on food, travel and the arts have appeared in scholarly journals, popular magazines and newspapers over the past 40 years. She has lectured throughout the country in venues as varied as New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Iowa’s State Fair. A winner of Food Arts’ Silver Spoon Award, she has presented courses and/or workshops in food writing, food history and food preparation at universities, colleges, culinary schools and cooking stores across the United States and in Mexico. Her memoir, My Kitchen Wars, was performed in Hollywood and New York as a one-woman show by actress Dorothy Lyman.

Why a lecture on beef? Fussell may say it best in her book, Raising Steaks, ““Real American men, women and children eat steak because it’s red with blood, blood that pumps flavor, iron, vitality, and sex into flaccid bodies. For women, steak is better than spinach. For men, it’s better than Viagra. With steak, its easy to get carried away.”

SoFAB looks forward to getting carried away with Fussell. As a writer and lecturer, Fussell is both controversial and endearing. “I’ve spent most of my life doing kitchen battle, feeding others and myself, torn between the desire to escape and the impulse to entrench myself further. When social revolutions hustled women out of the kitchen and into the boardroom, I seemed to be caught in flagrante with a potholder in my hand. I knew that the position of women like myself was of strategic importance in the war between the sexes. But if you could stand the heat, did you have to get out of the kitchen?” writes Fussell in Kitchen Wars.