Episodes
“Buying and Selling Food in the Black South” is the fourth installment in reporter Kayla Stewart’s 2022 Gravy podcast season, where she explores Black foodways in the South and beyond. For this episode, she speaks to Black business owners who are trying to improve food access in Black communities. Stewart explores the history of Black-owned grocery stores and shops, and why these institutions matter in Black communities.  For centuries, Black Americans have been finding their own ways to...
Published 12/07/22
In the episode “In Houston, Three Tastes of West Africa,” Gravy producer Kayla Stewart takes listeners to her hometown of Houston, Texas, which boasts one of the most vibrant international food scenes in the country. It’s a city where Black Americans have built their own communities and pathways to success, and where diversity is prized. It’s also where West African immigrants—from Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria, and beyond—have created their own stories, including through food.  To find out why...
Published 11/30/22
Published 11/30/22
In “The Joyful Black History of the Sweet Potato,” Kayla Stewart reports for Gravy on sweet potatoes, which Southern-born Black Americans have baked, roasted, fried, distilled—and long revered. Stewart takes listeners across the United States to learn how African Americans are finding new, interesting ways to enjoy sweet potatoes.  Harvey and Donna Williams own and operate Delta Dirt Distillery in Helena, Arkansas. Both grew up in Arkansas, and Harvey was raised on a farm that has been in...
Published 11/23/22
In “Annie Laura Squalls and Her Mile High Pie,” Gravy producer Kayla Stewart tells the story of Annie Laura Squalls, who, in 1960, became head baker at the Caribbean Room, the popular in-house restaurant at New Orleans’ renowned Pontchartrain Hotel. It was there where Squalls created her “Seven Mile High Pie,” known colloquially as the “Mile High Pie.” But while many people know the legendary pie, most don’t know the baker behind it.  Squalls was no ordinary baker. Though she never attended...
Published 11/16/22
A reflection on the 2004 Southern Foodways Symposium, by soul food scholar Adrian Miller.
Published 10/12/22
A reflection on the first Southern Foodways Alliance Barbecue Symposium, by Founding Director John T. Edge.
Published 09/28/22
In “Rib Tips, Hot Links, and the Mississippi Roots of Chicago Barbecue,” Gravy producer Courtney DeLong dives into the history of Chicago barbecue and its connection to the Great Migration.  When people think about the best barbecue cities in America, they tend to think about places like Memphis, Kansas City, and Austin. In doing so, many neglect a unique and innovative barbecue hub: Southside Chicago. Melt-in-your mouth rib tips and seasoned hot links sitting on freshly-crisped french...
Published 09/14/22
In “Father, Son, Fire: A Chat with Howard and Harrison Conyers,” the fourth episode in Gravy’s five-part series on barbecue, Howard Conyers—a barbecue expert and NASA rocket scientist—introduces listeners to a formative influence in his barbecue education and journey: his father, Harrison Conyers.  Some people find barbecue, but the Conyers family was born into a barbecue tradition that survived in the community. Growing up in the small town of Paxville, South Carolina, Howard didn’t go to...
Published 09/07/22
In “Grandpa’s Barbecue Blooms Out West,” Gravy producer Monica Gokey takes listeners to Idaho Falls, Idaho, to explore what happens when a Southerner leaves the South and opens a barbecue joint in the West.  Grandpa’s Southern Bar-B-Q originally opened in the small town of Arco, Idaho, which is obscurely famous for being the first community in the U.S. powered by nuclear energy. At the time Grandpa’s opened, Arco’s population was about a thousand people. It was an unlikely location for any...
Published 08/31/22
In “Brisket Pho, a Viet Tex Story,” Gravy producer Jess Eng explores the emergence of Viet Tex, a cuisine created in recent years by contemporary Vietnamese-Texan chefs. These chefs grew up steeped in multicultural dining, eating Central Texas barbecue alongside family recipes. Now, in their own businesses, they marry smoked meats and barbecue spices with the flavorful broths and bright herbs that characterize Vietnamese dishes.  Houston is ground zero for Viet Tex, and with good reason....
Published 08/24/22
In “Henry Perry, Kansas City’s 'Barbecue King,'” Gravy producer Mackenzie Martin tells the story of Henry Perry, the first person to really make a living selling barbecue in Kansas City. He even coined the local style. But, until recently, most people in KC didn’t know his name.  Perry was born in Shelby County, Tennessee, and started learning how to barbecue when he was just seven. By fifteen, he was cooking professionally on a steamboat that traveled up and down the Mississippi...
Published 08/17/22
In “Bread and Friends,” the final episode in her five-part series for Gravy, producer Irina Zhorov meets Camille Cogswell and Drew DiTomo in the final stages of preparation to open their new bakery. They hope that Walnut Family Bakery will be a special space in its Marshall, North Carolina community, where people run into friends, meet new acquaintances, and generally feel good entering. But how does such a place get created?  Marshall was once a thriving town, where people went from the...
Published 06/15/22
In “Making That Dough,” the fourth episode in her five-part series for Gravy, producer Irina Zhorov explores the business of cottage bakeries—and how small-scale bakers make amazing loaves out of home kitchens and converted garages. “Cottage” bakeries refer to those in which people sell baked goods out of their homes. For much of the twentieth century, selling food made at home was largely prohibited, but that changed in the 1990s and early 2000s, when a small number of states passed laws...
Published 06/08/22
In “Fresh Flour to the People,” the third episode in her five-part series for Gravy, producer Irina Zhorov talks to bakers who have started demanding more from a key element in their craft—flour.  When we talk about ingredients, there’s a lot to consider: how fresh the fruit, how local the meat, how wild the fish. But for some reason, these are not questions most of us have been asking about flour—until more recently.  In the South, much of the work to bring local, quality flours started in...
Published 06/01/22
In “Bread by Fire,” the second episode in her five-part season for Gravy, producer Irina Zhorov takes listeners to the little house in Marshall, North Carolina, whose residents have produced some of the most exciting baking in the South. The property is a hotbed for baking specifically because of the ovens. Two large, wood-fired ovens anchor the space and attract a very specific kind of baker to their side.  Here’s how the ovens work. You build a fire inside the oven’s chamber and let the...
Published 05/25/22
In “Genealogy of a Bakery,” Gravy producer Irina Zhorov takes listeners up into the mountains of western North Carolina, to a town called Marshall and a property that’s been used as a bakery for more than two decades.  The little building with a metal roof and ovens with more than sixty square feet of stone hearth has been home to some of the most exciting baking in the country. It’s one of the places where naturally leavened, rustic breads gained a foothold in the South, where two artisanal...
Published 05/18/22
Lucien Darjeun Meadows is an English, German, and Cherokee writer born and raised in the Appalachian Mountains. His debut poetry collection, In the Hands of the River, is forthcoming from Hub City Press in September 2022.
Published 04/13/22
Can Co-Ops Fix a Broken Food Delivery Model? Gravy producer Sarah Holtz introduces listeners to food industry veterans in Lexington, Kentucky, who launched a food delivery co-op during the COVID era as an alternative to Big Delivery (think DoorDash, GrubHub, Postmates, or UberEats). It aimed to put drivers, restaurants, and take-out customers all on the same team. Listen to learn more about the promise of a more equitable system during a time when takeout can make or break a restaurant.
Published 03/16/22
“The Bare Minimum,” producer Sarah Holtz follows Florida’s Fight for 15, a labor campaign aimed at raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Though there are countless labor issues associated with restaurant work, from wage theft to sexual harassment, the minimum wage is a concrete area to affect change, because it improves material conditions for hourly workers in every industry. Historically, it’s also a difficult thing to change.  To understand why, Holtz interviews experts to explore the...
Published 03/09/22
In “The Bitter and the Sweet of Craft Chocolate in the Global South” episode of Gravy, producer Sarah Holtz engages important voices in the complex conversation about ethical chocolate, from central Ghana to southern Missouri.  In the chocolate world, terms like corporate sustainability and ethical sourcing are gradually entering the mainstream, but they remain a little vague. Holtz explores how direct trade and profit-sharing models offer alternatives to the practices of the largest...
Published 03/02/22
In "Memphis Restaurant Workers Unite," Gravy follows a group of restaurant workers that’s slated to become the first formal union of food and beverage workers in Memphis, Tennessee. Led by Lily Nicholson, the group, Memphis Restaurant Workers United (MRWU), organized a petition that resulted in $2.5 million in pandemic support grants from the county government and has begun negotiating contracts with local restaurants so that workers can make a living wage with benefits. At the average...
Published 02/23/22
What’s in the fridge? In New Orleans, solidarity means a stocked fridge. In this episode of Gravy, producer Sarah Holtz takes listeners inside a mutual aid society called New Orleans Community Fridges, which formed during the pandemic to help feed people in need. Since its start, the group has been gifted around 20 fridges. They sit on neighborhood sidewalks, plugged into power strips, some powered by generators—filled with food that’s free for the taking.   In this episode, Holtz talks to...
Published 02/16/22
"Married," by Jo McDougall. Featured in Vinegar & Char: Verse from the Southern Foodways Alliance. University of Georgia Press, 2018.
Published 02/09/22
Marlanda Dekine is a poet and author obsessed with ancestry, memory, and the process of staying within one’s own body. This poem appears in their collection Thresh & Hold, forthcoming from Hub City Press on March 29, 2022.
Published 01/26/22