Missing Memphis: Food Edition

Posted on June 1, 2014


By Katie Butler

photo_for_websiteAs a native Texan, I know what it is like to have state pride. As I embarked on my college journey almost a year ago, I came to realize that this Texas pride is carried over into every other state that I have visited. I have never failed to find signs of Texas everywhere, between state flag bumper stickers, state flag shorts, and real Texas flags hanging in my friend’s dorm rooms. Let’s face it, I rarely go without seeing signs of the Lone Star State everywhere I go, proud of my state that I consider to have it all. However, upon my return to Texas from Memphis this summer, things have started changing. Despite my Texan upbringing, I find myself missing my new home in Memphis, Tennessee. Now while I will always be a Texan at heart and would never dream saying anything against it, I think it is about time that Texans realize that there are states and cities that bring a lot to the table, and Tennessee is one of them. So as I sit on my couch in Houston, I find myself missing Memphis for some silly, yet heartfelt reasons. And here is why.

Number one; the Food.

It is no surprise that Memphis is known for their great food and BBQ, but the cuisine itself is not why I miss the food of Memphis. On the contrary, I actually prefer the spicy Texas BBQ to the sweet Memphis kind (shocker I know), but I am not here to make enemies by saying this. Rather, I think that Memphis is starting to do something with their food industry that other cities should notice and start doing themselves, this being initiatives such as Project Green Fork. 

This project, a movement aimed at reducing the environmental impacts of restaurant waste by focusing on strengthening homegrown restaurants, has the ability to change the way that people grow and consume food. Every time that I ate at one of the certified Project Green Fork restaurants in Memphis, including Café Eclectic, Central BBQ, Sekisui, or Beauty Shop, among many others, I found myself able to cast a vote of sorts, a vote that says I support a new, innovative way of serving good food while maintaining a healthy world. (As you can see, I am an organic-loving, environmentally aware kale-obsessed individual, but this is beside the point).

Regardless, while I do have to give my hometown of Houston and other cities around the country some credit for starting to recognize these issues, I find myself missing the easy access of these restaurants in my hometown. Project Green Fork makes it so easy; their website has a large list of restaurants that provide this service, many of which are popular, well-known spots that many of my friends who don’t necessarily feel the same way that I do about eating would enjoy. I find myself frustrated at home, wishing there was a Fuel Café, a Sweetgrass, or a Tsunami restaurant right down the street. I’m sorry to admit it, my fellow Texans, but Memphis’ food scene just might rival ours.

So I challenge other cities to act as Memphis has; with 1,815,880 gallons of recycled plastic, glass, and aluminum, 1,634,792 pounds of recycled paper and cardboard, and 222,867 gallons of recycled food waste, Memphis is the model city of what the future of all cities can be. I never realized what a special place Memphis is food-wise while living there, but since I have left, I have been dreaming and craving it’s wonderful, environmentally friendly, green, and scrumptious cuisines.

So while I may enjoy my spicy, tasty Texas BBQs, I may be secretly dreaming of an environmentally green Chiwawa dog. And that, my friends, is something I never thought I would admit.

To find out more about Project Green Fork, how you can help, make a donation, and a list of certified restaurants, visit their website. 

Katie Butler is the News editor for theGRIND and is a sophomore at Rhodes College, where she studies English, music, and urban studies.

Posted in: Lifestyle