Hickory – Elon University Professor John Beck will talk about the cuisine of southern kitchens and restaurants at a community gathering on Wednesday, March 13 at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Hickory, NC.

His talk is sponsored by Newcomers of Catawba Valley and is open to the public at no cost, starting at 10:30am in the ballroom of the hotel, 1385 Lenoir-Rhyne Blvd., Hickory.

Reservations are not needed for Dr. Beck’s talk, but prepayment is required for the optional lunch of traditional southern cooking that will follow. The buffet lunch will feature southern fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, collard greens, buttered corn, biscuits, apple crisp, tea and coffee. The lunch price of $15 includes tax and gratuity. Payment for the lunch must be received by March 5. Mail a check made out to Newcomers of CV to 2425 N. Center St., # 169. Hickory, NC 28601.

Southern cooking’s roots are traced to Native Americans, the British and Africans. Dr. Beck says Southern cooking is taking a new direction in some restaurants from professionally trained chefs who are exploring its possibilities.

Dr. Beck’s talk is made possible by funding from the N.C. Humanities Council, a nonprofit foundation and state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For questions, contact Dianne Straley at (828) 328-1412.