Food author Jim Auchmutey learned from a young age about an important part of Bartow County’s culinary history.
His grandfather and great-grandfather were well known for being barbecue cooks at large church and community events in the county, including the annual Euharlee Farmer’s Club barbecue.
Auchmutey recently authored the book “Smokelore: A Short History of Barbecue in America” and is scheduled to give a presentation featuring words, photos and music Thursday, July 25, at 6:30 p.m. at the Bartow History Museum.
“Smokelore,” published by the University of Georgia Press June 1, is what Auchmutey recently described on the ArtsATL website as a “lavishly illustrated popular history” of what he said he believes is the “most truly American food.”
He noted a barbecue helped celebrate the laying of the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol in 1793.
“(It is) so intertwined with our history and represents us as a people with roots on four continents and a variety of cultures,” Auchmutey said.
“Smokelore” contains a history of the cooking method as well as numerous recipes and more than 200 pieces of artwork, including vintage photos and retro magazine ads, he said.
Auchmutey’s grandfather, Bob Auchmutey, was a tenant farmer in Euharlee before becoming a Cartersville firefighter. Great-grandfather James Auchmutey was a Euharlee gristmill operator. Another relative, Ed Auchmutey, served as Cartersville police chief.
Great-grandfather James cooked at community barbecues between Cartersville and Rome. His grandfather, known as “Daddy Bob,” cooked barbecue for decades at events throughout northwest Georgia.
Bob Auchmutey came to the attention of a national audience in 1954 after being prominently mentioned in a five-page Saturday Evening Post magazine article focusing on Southern barbecue.
The article was set mostly at the Euharlee Farmers Club’s annual barbecue and prominently mentioned Bob, who was the club’s pitmaster. The attention led to invitations for him to cook at events outside the Southeast, including once for thousands near Chicago, Jim Auchmutey said.
The “Smokelore” author grew up in Atlanta because his father, a World War II Navy veteran, left Euharlee to work his way through Berry College. He later served as an auditor for 36 years at a General Motors plant in Atlanta.
Jim Auchmutey worked as a features and food writer and editor at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for 30 years. He has co-authored two cookbooks, including “The Ultimate Barbecue Sauce Cookbook,” and has won awards for his food writing from the James Beard Foundation and the Association of Food Journalists.
He wrote “Smokelore” as a companion publication to the “Barbecue Nation” exhibition he helped curate that is now on display at the Atlanta History Center in Buckhead.
Trey Gaines, director of the Bartow History Museum, said in a news release that those who love barbecue or history “won’t want to miss” Auchmutey’s presentation.
“While Auchmutey will not be able to discuss everything in his book, we think it will whet your appetite, leaving you wanting to know more,” Gaines said.
Participants in the July 25 event will be able to sample local barbecue from Scott’s Walk-up Bar-B-Q of Cartersville. A light BBQ meal will be provided at 6:30 p.m., the news release stated.
The program is free for members and included in the price of admission to the museum for non-members. A book signing will follow the presentation, the release stated.
Bartow History Museum is at 4 E. Church St. in downtown Cartersville. Tickets and more information are available at www.bartowhistorymuseum.org.