Savannah, Let's Eat!
'Savannah, Let's Eat!" comes to the web
Who doesn’t want to write a book?
I was pretty excited when approached by a publisher to pen a volume on Savannah food and food people. I plugged away for a year, focusing on the people who, in the tail end of the last century and the beginning of the 21st, were the foundation of the city’s contemporary food scene.
Then, on nearly the eve of deadline, the publisher shifted gears, wanting me to exclude “certain” people and include others who were friends of the publisher. Suddenly, it was not my book, my voice, a collection of stories that I determined were important to tell to leave a history of the city’s culinary legacy. It was meant to be a slice of time and as we argued back and forth time slipped away and the landscape began to change.
In the end, I pulled the plug. This wasn’t about money or notoriety, it was about, dammit, telling the stories. No one much wants to tell the story anymore. Personal agendas and focus groups and corporate profits drive much of the content you read. Apparently, that strategy even reaches out to little community food books.
I’ve let it stew for a year. I’ve got more than 50,000 words and images that are now going to find a home on this website. You get the stories for free, my subjects get their richly deserved 15 minutes of spotlight and I don’t feel like I wasted a year. The Web-based content also allows me to link out to other resources – in all, I think it will enrich my content.
This release date is not without coincidence. I did not know in early 2015 that the well-respected Chef Joe Randall was being included in the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture. I am honored to count Chef Joe as a friend and confidant – and was humbled when he agreed to pen the foreword for my book. Chef Joe is indeed a treasure – on both the national and local culinary fronts. He is as humble as he is talented; a larger than life character who has legions of friends, students, devotees and foodies who have relished his dishes that, “Put a little South in your mouth.”
As I post new sections, a link to the individual stories will appear below in a table of contents. Thank you for reading -- I hope you enjoy meeting my Savannah food friends as much as I enjoyed writing about them.
Good reading and bon appetit!
Tim Rutherford, September 2016