A! Magazine for the Arts

Anna Zeide

Anna Zeide

Sunday with Friends hosts two speakers at library in March

February 26, 2024

The annual Sunday with Friends literary series at the Washington County Public Library, Abingdon, Virginia, continues in March with two writers who are writing about plants and foods in history. The events are at 3 p.m. in the Community Room of the library.

Diane Flynt who is the author of “Wild, Tamed, Lost, Revived: The Surprising Story of Apples in the South,” is featured March 3. Southerners at one time cultivated 2,000 apple varieties from Virginia to Mississippi. Today, many of those varieties have disappeared.

Flynt has researched the history of apples, touching on connections to slavery, to theft of Indigenous lands, to Queen Victoria’s court, to Belgian immigrants, and to the Oregon Trail. She points to hopeful signs of restoration of many apple varieties in the future. Flynt left a corporate career in 1997 to found Foggy Ridge Cider in Carroll County, Virginia. She is a multiple James Beard nominee.

On March 24, meet Anna Zeide, director of the Food Studies Program and associate professor of history at Virginia Tech, who has written “U.S. History in 15 Foods.”

The book takes everyday food items and shows the part they played in the making of the U.S. What did the British colonists think about the corn they observed Indigenous people growing? How are oranges connected to Roosevelt’s New Deal? What can green bean casserole tell us about gender roles in the mid-20th century? Weaving food into colonialism, globalization, racism, economic depression, environmental change, and more, Zeide shows how the U.S. has evolved through the food it eats.

The Friends of the Washington County Public Library is a volunteer, non-profit organization whose purpose is to help strengthen the resources of the library and to make it a dynamic force in the community.

There will be refreshments as well as book sales and signings after the events. For more information, contact the event’s coordinator, Ben Jennings, at ben.h.jennings@gmail.com.