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Gravy is a biweekly podcast that tells stories of the changing American South… through the foods we eat.

Gravy is a biweekly podcast that tells stories of the changing American South… through the foods we eat.
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Gravy is a biweekly podcast that tells stories of the changing American South… through the foods we eat.




Hungry in the Mississippi Delta

While civil rights activists worked in Mississippi in 1964, they encountered a poverty they could never have imagined. People were hungry, starving to death from malnutrition, particularly in the Mississippi Delta. Doctors and medical professionals, including Dr. Jack Geiger, joined together to form the Medical Committee for Human Rights. Geiger founded a community health center in Mound Bayou, Mississippi where he and his medical team wrote prescriptions for food, started a farm...


Hostesses of the Movement

The hostesses of the Civil Rights Movement: They were school teachers, church ladies, and club women. Their subtle contributions played a vital role in the change that was to come. While others hit the streets, marching, singing protest songs, and risking arrest, these women made their contributions to the Civil Rights Movement in their kitchens. They opened their homes to the architects and strategists of the Movement, providing home cooked meals, places to rest, and safe rooms for...


Swine Country

By the end of the twentieth century, hog farming had replaced tobacco as the backbone of eastern North Carolina's economy. Today, the hog industry is a source of both contention and pride in the area. In rural Duplin County, the home of Smithfield Foods, hogs outnumber people 40 to 1. Open-air lagoons store massive amounts of hog waste, which is then sprayed over the surrounding fields as fertilizer. For decades, residents have claimed that these waste management practices cause a host of...


Home with the Armadillo: The Austin Sound, with a Side of Nachos

Austin, Texas, calls itself the Live Music Capital of the World. Back in the 1970s, country music mixed with rock-and-roll to create the "Austin sound." Its cradle was the Armadillo World Headquarters, where the so-called hippies and rednecks came together over cold beer, cheap nachos, and cosmic cowboy sounds. Reporter Ryan Katz looks at the history of the Dillo and its legacy in Austin today.


Hidden in Plain Sight: Las Pulgas of New Orleans

When people think of New Orleans food, jambalayas, gumbos, and beignets usually come to mind. But with the arrival of thousands of Central American and Mexican immigrants after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Latin foods are increasingly present across the city…if you look in the right places. In 2011, Dix Jazz Market, part of a vending space colloquially called La Pulga, opened in the Algiers neighborhood of New Orleans. With over sixty individual vendors and booths, you can find anything from...


A Taste of Place: Whiskey as Food

When most people sit down to enjoy a pour of whiskey, they aren't thinking about where the grain that it is made with comes from, nor do they think much about how it's produced agriculturally. Though spirits are distilled from wheat, potatoes, rice, and even quinoa, many don’t view the end result as an agricultural product. The discussion about composition of whiskey’s mashbill is usually where the conversation about the grain begins and ends, creating a disconnect between the way in which...


A Most Civil Union: from Reconstruction to Restauranteur

Brunswick, Georgia's The Farmer & The Larder restaurant is forward-facing with its menu, while paying homage to an agricultural legacy that reaches back to days of Reconstruction. Rose Reid reports the story of self-described "CheFarmer" Matthew Raiford's family connection to the land, and how he and his partner, Jovan Sage, navigate a dual venture on the Georgia coast.


Stories from the Hem of my Mother's Apron

For Hannah Drake, it all started with a trip to Dakar, Senegal. The author, poet, mother, and native Kentuckian was transformed by the communal experience of simply preparing and eating food with other women. So occasionally she gathers a group of women for dinner. All the women have to do is bring a dish, along with their mother or sister. The goal: To cook and eat a meal with loved ones, and share stories and recipes. Reporter and producer Roxanne Scott brings us today's story.


Of Hunger and Humanity: Resilience on the Texas Coast

When Hurricane Harvey unleashed 30 trillion gallons of rain on Texas last summer, thousands of evacuees and first responders needed to be fed. Restaurants and commercial kitchens were turned into relief operations, and residents hauled their grills to rescue staging grounds. The response was extraordinary. Reporting this episode of Gravy, Barry Yeoman followed two Texans-chef Bryan Caswell and his wife and business partner Jennifer Caswell-as they coordinated a food caravan from their...


The Wise Family at Work: A Sound Portrait

Historically, African Americans played a central role in the nation’s agriculture system, and, through their labor and know-how on farms and plantations, in the very building of the American economy – particularly in the South. Of course, black people did much of that work in bondage, over more than two hundred years, followed by a century of sharecropping and tenant farming. Remarkably, in the early 20th century, black families owned 15 million acres, one-seventh of the nation’s farmland....


Booze Legends

Striking up a conversation with a stranger in a bar is accepted, even expected. And storytelling is a big part of that engagement. But when it comes to origin stories behind cocktails, Wayne Curtis has noticed a shift in focus over the last ten years. Hand in hand with the recent cocktail revival and the increased professionalization of bartending, an obsession with fact over fancy has emerged. “I started hearing a phrase in bars that I don’t think had ever been uttered before inside a...


Kimchi and Cornbread

When you sit down for a meat and three in Montgomery, Alabama, say at the Davis Café, you choose from the menu and you get one plate all for you, but at a Korean table in Montgomery – or anywhere – your plates are all shared. And there are many of them. Meat and six or seven, you might say. Since the Hyundai plant opened in Montgomery in 2005, Koreans have been moving there, some for work at the plant, but others because they see the growing community of Koreans and Korean businesses in...


Shad Stories: The Ebb and Flow of the Founding Fish

The American shad were once as plentiful in the water along the east coast as the buffalo were in the west. But after decades of overfishing and pollution, their numbers plummeted and Virginia outlawed commercial fishing of shad in the 1970s. Now, shad are returning to the Chesapeake Bay, due in part to scientists and waterman who have worked on a restoration project for the fish over the last twenty years. Shad are a keystone in the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem, a food source for animals as...


Pie by Another Name: The Burekas of Or Ve Shalom

Every Tuesday a group of women gets together at Or Ve Shalom Synagogue in Atlanta to bake hundreds of savory hand-held pies. They're called burekas, from the Turkish word Burek, which means pie. Sephardic Jews trace their heritage to the countries around the Mediterranean including Turkey and medieval Spain; the Spanish Inquisition of 1492 forced Sephardic Jews to leave Spain and settle in other countries. The weekly ritual of baking Burekas at the Or Ve Shalom Synagogue is a testament...


Hostesses of the Movement

This week’s Gravy podcast looks at hostesses of the Civil Rights Movement. They were school teachers, church ladies and club women who were not direct in their assault of segregation, but nonetheless played a vital role in the change that was to come. While others hit the streets, marching, singing protest songs, and risking arrest, these women made their contributions to the Civil Rights Movement in their kitchens. They opened their homes to the architects and strategists of the...


The Mala Project: Chinese Flavors, Tennessee Family

What happens when a white family in the American South adopts an 11-year-old Chinese girl who’s never eaten a meal other than Chinese in her entire life and has no intention of starting now? Fear and frustration on all sides give way to a solution in this fiery story of creating a family from strangers by cooking Sichuan food. Fongchong steers clear of traditional American food both inside and outside her new home, but eventually finds her place in the New Nashville by befriending other...


Bluegrass Tacos

In the northwestern part of Lexington, Kentucky, just inside the city’s loop road, there is a little bit of Mexico. In all directions, there are signs in Spanish – a bakery, a restaurant, a grocery store, a daycare, a church. And just down the road more of the same, including a bilingual public library. But at the crux of any diaspora is food – the familiar flavor of the old home mixing with a new one – tacos, in this case. And Lexington, Kentucky is expressing just that. At Tortilleria...


Separation of Church and Coffee

How many of us would be lost without our regular coffeeshop? In the age of wifi and telecommuting, cafes have become more than purveyors of lattes and cappuccinos. They’re the office, the community hub, and the conference room as much as the provider of our caffeine fix. And now—are they also a surrogate for the church? In cities and towns across the South, an increasing number of the folks offering up latte art and high-end pourovers are devout Christians. Is it an unlikely and subtle...


Going Whole Hog in Israel

When you think about Israeli cuisine there are a few things that may come to mind; hummus or shawarma, shakshuka and baba ganoush. What probably doesn’t come to mind is pork. After all, Israel is the self-proclaimed home for Jews in the Middle East. A large portion of the population follows kosher law, which outlaws pork, shellfish, and mixtures of meat and milk. On this episode of Gravy we go global to explore the spread of a prolific Southern food to an unlikely place: pork barbecue...


How A Texas Vine Saved European Wine

Thanks to Texan viticulturist Thomas Volney Munson, you should probably think of Texas when you think of that French wine you're drinking. During an agricultural crisis in France in the late 1800's, his tough grafted Texan vines saved the industry from total collapse. And many of the vines in Europe are still growing strong from that rootstock today. This week's episode tells this story of T.V. Munson and how his obsession with grape vines saved old world wine.


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