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Rank #30 in Food category

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Society & Culture
Food

Gravy

Updated 2 days ago

Rank #30 in Food category

Arts
Society & Culture
Food
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Gravy shares stories of the changing American South through the foods we eat. Gravy showcases a South that is constantly evolving, accommodating new immigrants, adopting new traditions, and lovingly maintaining old ones. It uses food as a means to explore all of that, to dig into lesser-known corners of the region, complicate stereotypes, document new dynamics, and give voice to the unsung folk who grow, cook, and serve our daily meals.

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Gravy shares stories of the changing American South through the foods we eat. Gravy showcases a South that is constantly evolving, accommodating new immigrants, adopting new traditions, and lovingly maintaining old ones. It uses food as a means to explore all of that, to dig into lesser-known corners of the region, complicate stereotypes, document new dynamics, and give voice to the unsung folk who grow, cook, and serve our daily meals.

iTunes Ratings

447 Ratings
Average Ratings
378
28
12
11
18

Always a Good Listen!

By Joe Mondo - May 14 2020
Read more
Always interesting and well told. I’ve enjoyed just about every episode!

Great Podcast

By localfoodlover - Oct 26 2018
Read more
I especially like the episode about the women who duck hunt!

iTunes Ratings

447 Ratings
Average Ratings
378
28
12
11
18

Always a Good Listen!

By Joe Mondo - May 14 2020
Read more
Always interesting and well told. I’ve enjoyed just about every episode!

Great Podcast

By localfoodlover - Oct 26 2018
Read more
I especially like the episode about the women who duck hunt!
Cover image of Gravy

Gravy

Latest release on May 28, 2020

Read more

Gravy shares stories of the changing American South through the foods we eat. Gravy showcases a South that is constantly evolving, accommodating new immigrants, adopting new traditions, and lovingly maintaining old ones. It uses food as a means to explore all of that, to dig into lesser-known corners of the region, complicate stereotypes, document new dynamics, and give voice to the unsung folk who grow, cook, and serve our daily meals.

Rank #1: Booze Legends

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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 bar: ‘What’s your source on that?’”

In this episode of Gravy, Wayne Curtis reflects on what’s lost and gained as cocktail and spirits writers—as well as curious consumers—seek out well-supported history over well-spun stories behind the bar.

Oct 05 2017

26mins

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Rank #2: Farmer's Blues

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Imagine you’re a young person wanting to be a farmer. If you don’t inherit land from your family, the challenges of finding and affording farmland might make your dream a non-starter. The average farmer in the United States is in her late 50s, and much of this country’s farmland is at risk of development or buy-out for intensive monoculture.

In this episode of Gravy, Caroline Leland explores these challenges along with some of the keen individuals and organizations working to overcome them.

May 18 2017

22mins

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Rank #3: What Is White Trash Cooking? (Gravy ep. 47)

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In 1986, Ernest Matthew Mickler of Palm Valley, Florida, published White Trash Cooking. It was a loving ode to his people—rural, white, working-class and poor Southerners—and their recipes: tuna casserole, baked possum, white-bread tomato sandwiches.

Mickler died of AIDS in 1988 at age 48, but White Trash Cooking continues to sell. In this episode, Sarah Reynolds explores its lasting influence. 

Oct 06 2016

27mins

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Rank #4: The Chili Powder Cheat: A Tex-Mex Story

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Texas: the land of BBQ, breakfast tacos…and of course Tex-Mex. But what if we told you Tex-Mex wasn’t created by a Texan or Mexican, but a German immigrant? On this episode of Gravy, we tell you the story of William Gebhardt, the inventor of chili powder.

Gebhardt loved the chili con carne of the streetfood sold in the plazas of San Antonio. He adapted it back at his café, but quickly ran into a problem: chili peppers proved expensive and difficult to import. So he devised a solution. Gebhardt dried the peppers in an oven and used a hand-cranked coffee mill to grind them into a dust. He then mixed together the ground peppers with cumin seeds, oregano and some black pepper until he reached the right flavor. The end result? Gebhardt’s Eagle Chili Powder.

As it spread, chili powder came to define the taste of Tex-Mex. Chili, enchiladas, fajitas, nachos are all dishes built on the spice. And today, Tex-Mex dominates; traditional cuisines of the region are less popular.

Gebhardt’s history is a typical inventor tale. But he essentially took what poor Mexican-American streetfood vendors made, changed it and sold it for wider consumption. And boy, did Gebhardt market the heck out of it. Gebhardt’s slogan was “that real Mexican tang.”

Ryan Katz looks into the issue of chili powder’s authenticity.

Mar 22 2017

29mins

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Rank #5: Hostesses of the Movement

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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 Movement, providing home cooked meals, places to rest, and safe rooms for plotting attacks on Jim Crow.

Rosalind Bentley is a longtime journalist, but she didn’t know how a very special aunt became one of those stealth contributors. She traveled to Albany, Georgia to learn more about how that aunt became one of the Hostesses of the Movement.

Aug 10 2017

39mins

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Rank #6: Kimchi and Cornbread

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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 this small capital city in Alabama. So, a small southern K-Town is cropping up in the strip malls along the Eastern Boulevard.

Reporter and producer, Sarah Reynolds travels to Montgomery to eat at several Korean tables. And Chef Edward Lee joins her – a Korean–American chef who made his name in Louisville, Kentucky. He borrows from Korean and American Southern cuisines to make collards and kimchi, grits and galbi. What’s happening in Montgomery reveals a shared hospitality and love of food between these two cultures.

Sep 21 2017

33mins

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Rank #7: How A Texas Vine Saved European Wine

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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.

May 31 2017

29mins

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Rank #8: Comfort Food

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This week, we bring you Gravy's first foray into fiction. It's a story of macaroni and cheese and maternal love, set in the fictional Canard County, Kentucky. 

Robert Gipe is the author of the novels Trampoline and Weedeater. He teaches and coordinates the Appalachian Program at Southeast Kentucky Community College. 

This is the last episode of our summer season. After a short hiatus, Gravy will return with new episodes in the fall. 

Aug 09 2018

22mins

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Rank #9: The Southern Story of Coca Cola (Gravy Ep. 51)

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You might think of Coca Cola as an iconic American brand… and you’d be right. But: it was born in the South. How did Coke’s Atlanta birthplace shape what the soft drink became? And how has Coke shaped the South? It’s a story that includes many surprising twists turns, from Civil War wounds to temperance movements, racist fears to philanthropy, small town soda jerks to Peruvian coca farmers.

Dec 01 2016

25mins

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Rank #10: Ironies and Onion Rings: The Layered Story of the Vidalia Onion

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If you know and love the Vidalia onion—an onion sweet enough, its fans say, to eat like an apple—you likely also know it as a product of Georgia, as proudly claimed as the peach. But the story of the Vidalia’s popularity is far more complex than just one of a local onion made good. In this episode of Gravy: an onion’s success story, born of clever marketing, government wrangling, technological innovation and global trade.

Jan 26 2017

28mins

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Rank #11: Schnitzel and the Saturn V (Gravy Ep. 42)

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How did Huntsville, Alabama become home to a whole host of German restaurants? It has more to do with rocket science, than with Southerners’ love of spaetzle. In this episode of Gravy: a story of space exploration, World War II, nationalism—and the food that emigrated to Alabama along with a rocket scientist named Werner von Braun. Reporter Dana Bialek explains how his arrival in the South not only led America into the space race; it led Huntsville into an ongoing fondness for schnitzel.

Jul 28 2016

33mins

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Rank #12: Mahalia Jackson's Glori-Fried Chicken

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In addition to her work as an international recording artist and civil rights activist, the Queen of Gospel entered the restaurant business in the late 1960s with Mahalia Jackson’s Glori-fried Chicken. The fast food chain was more than a brand extension for the star; it was the first African American-owned franchise in the South. Producer Betsy Shepherd tells how Mahalia used the gospel bird to push for economic empowerment in the black community.

Sep 05 2019

24mins

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Rank #13: Repast (Gravy Ep. 46)

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One spring day in 1965, a waiter in Greenwood, Mississippi gave an interview for an NBC television documentary. What he said has made him an unlikely Civil Rights hero… and the subject of an opera oratorio. In this episode of Gravy, the story of that waiter, Booker Wright, put to the music written about him.

Sep 22 2016

36mins

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Rank #14: A Seafood Phenomenon: the Wonder of Alabama Jubilees (Gravy Ep. 40)

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Imagine: crabs, fish, eels—a whole team of sea creatures—rushing towards the shore, and then sitting there, as if waiting to be caught. This isn’t some fisherman’s daydream. It really happens in Alabama’s Mobile Bay. In this episode of Gravy, we tell the story of the Jubilee, a rare natural phenomenon that provides local residents with a bounty of seafood.

Jun 16 2016

22mins

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Rank #15: A Table for All?

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At the FARM Café in Boone, North Carolina, diners can pay $10 for meal—or they can pay nothing. The restaurant, one of dozens of its kind, follows a pay-what-you-can model. Guests can dine regardless of their finances. It's an attempt to address food insecurity.

While some have dismissed these restaurants as limited-scale, feel-good attempts to address serious hunger issues, the cafés do foster a sense of community. 

Irina Zhorov reported and produced this episode. 

Feb 21 2019

19mins

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Rank #16: Reclaiming Native Ground

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For centuries, the bayous and lowlands of coastal Louisiana have fed the Point-au-Chien Indian Tribe. From cattle to crabs, oranges to okra, the fertile landscape provided almost everything they needed to eat. But now, the land is disappearing,  and the Point-au-Chien are joining together with other tribes to figure out what to do next. In this episode of Gravy, Barry Yeoman reports on the rich food traditions of tribes in South Louisiana, the threat to them posed by coastal land loss, and intertribal efforts towards solutions.

Feb 09 2017

29mins

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Rank #17: Hungry in the Mississippi Delta

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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 cooperative, taught nutrition classes, and ultimately reduced hunger in the region.

This episode was produced by Sarah Reynolds.

Mar 08 2018

37mins

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Rank #18: The Middle East in Music City (Gravy Ep. 39)

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The pride of Nashville: honky tonks and… Halal lamb? The area of the city known as Little Kurdistan contains a whole culinary universe that many people—even those who live in the city—are unaware of. In this episode of Gravy, we partner with Jakob Lewis of the podcast Neighbors from Nashville Public Radio. Jakob takes us on a tour of the Kurdish part of Nashville with Shirzad Tayyar, a resident who’s made it his mission to make his corner of the city better known by everyone.

Jun 02 2016

28mins

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Rank #19: What’s Growing in Mossville? (Gravy Ep. 38)

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The residents of Mossville, Louisiana have long prized self-sufficiency. Founded by freed slaves in the 1700s, Mossville was a place where everyone grew their own fruits and vegetables, caught fish, and hunted. African American families built the town from the ground up, and the land provided so well for them that, even into the 20th century, many didn’t realize they were technically “poor.” And then: the petrochemical industry moved in.

In this episode of Gravy, we tell the story of Mossville, its gardens and fisheries, and the uneasy relationship that’s evolved between residents and industry.

May 19 2016

31mins

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Rank #20: Transplanted Traditions: From Southeast Asia to North Carolina (Gravy Ep. 48)

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In Chapel Hill, there’s a farm that’s much more than just a spot to grow food: it’s a gathering place for refugees, including a group of Karen teenagers from Burma. In this episode of Gravy, those teens report on the farm, their lives, and the ups and downs of trying to be both Karen and American.

Radio producer Alix Blair spent a week teaching Ree Ree Wei, Hla Win Tway, Talar Hso, Aw Kaw Joon, Eh Paw (who goes by Tatha), Kawla Htee, and Hickrihay Htee about the basics of radio recording. She sent them off to interview one another, and tape themselves at home and around the farm. From pop songs on the radio to intimate moments in the kitchen with their families, they provide us, in this episode, with a little glimpse into their world.

Oct 20 2016

27mins

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Nueva Acadiana

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When Wanda Lugo opened her Venezuelan restaurant, Patacon Latin Cuisine, in 2015, she wasn’t sure how the city of Lafayette would react. Many Lafayette residents had never tasted Venezuelan food before. Wanda’s opening week was one of the busiest they’ve had in the restaurant’s five-year history. She runs Patacon with her daughter, Maria, her son, Daniel, and her niece, Elimar. It’s no accident that the Lugos ended up in Lafayette. Wanda’s husband, Jose, is an electrical engineer at Halliburton, and like Acadiana, Venezuela is an oil center. When the Venezuelan economy began to show signs of trouble, Jose requested a transfer and the Lugos ended up in Lafayette in 2006. Today, Patacon is a hub for the growing Latinx community in the region, and Lafayette wouldn’t be the same without Patacon’s arepas and empanadas.  

The episode was reported and produced by Sarah Holtz. Sarah is an independent radio producer and documentary artist based in New Orleans.

May 28 2020

23mins

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The Miracle of Slaw and Fishes: Louisiana’s Lenten Fish Fries

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Order a catfish po-boy or a few pounds of crawfish in Acadiana any Friday between Mardi Gras and Easter, and you may be surprised to learn that your delight is another person’s sacrifice. The Catholic tradition of abstaining from meat during Fridays in Lent is alive and well in Southwest Louisiana, a region where more than a third identify as Catholic. Thanks to the long list of Catholic churches and restaurants that roll out an array of delectable seafood options on Lenten Fridays, it’s not much of a burden. St. Francis of Assisi in Breaux Bridge and the Knights of Columbus Council at St. Pius X in Lafayette both have long-standing Lenten fish fry traditions that bring together their communities and welcome anyone hungry for fried catfish, regardless of religion. Olde Tyme Grocery in Lafayette sells close to 2,300 seafood po-boys during the 40-day period. Religious abstinence never tasted so good.

This episode of Gravy is reported and produced by Sarah Holtz.

May 21 2020

19mins

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Ten Gallons and a Bag of Cracklins: Filling Up in Cajun Country

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Along the highways and rural byways of South Louisiana, there’s great boudin, cracklins, and plenty more to be found. Many of these food destinations have one thing in common -- they’re found within gas stations. Acadiana’s roadside stops attract thousands of customers each day, whether they’re travelers making a pilgrimage across the state to fill their ice boxes with boudin, or oil and gas workers stopping for a bag of cracklins before heading out to the refinery or offshore rig. Cajun gas station fare is not fast food, it’s not fine dining, and it’s not quite a plate lunch, either. It’s a category unto itself, and as it turns out, these gas stations speak volumes about the diverse communities of Acadiana. 

May 14 2020

19mins

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Eat 'Em Till You Beat 'Em: Florida’s Lionfish Problem

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Poisonous, spiky, bug-eyed and edible: Lionfish are a prolific invasive species off the coast of Florida. Their voracious appetites are destroying native reef fish populations, leaving decimated reefs in their wake. Chefs and concerned eaters are attempting to eat their way through this problem. You can find items like lionfish sushi, poached and broiled lionfish, and lionfish dumplings on menus throughout South Florida.

Reporter Wilson Sayre takes us to the Florida Keys to catch a few lionfish and see how much of a bite diners are taking out of the problem.

Mar 19 2020

20mins

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Grape Expectations for Virginia Wine

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Virginia is often heralded as the birthplace of American wine. But from colonial times through efforts made by Thomas Jefferson, those efforts were seen as a failure. The archetypical image of wine country—arid, rocky places—is not what one thinks of when conjuring images of wet, humid, Virginia summers. 

But a few pioneering grape growers and winemakers have made huge strides over the past few decades, giving wine enthusiasts a taste for Virginia terroir. 

Reporter Wilson Sayre explores this history and evolution of wine from the Old Dominion.

Mar 12 2020

24mins

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Sorghum: Planting Possibilities

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For many people in the American South, sorghum is a condiment to be spread, like maple syrup, on top of warm, pillowy biscuits, pancakes, and cornbread. But for most of the world, particularly in West Africa, sorghum is a grain used much like rice or quinoa. There is a growing group of chefs, millers, plant breeders, and farmers that is trying to reconnect with the West African roots of sorghum and create gastronomic and growing opportunities in this region. Reporter Wilson Sayre explains how sorghum might again become a grain of the American South. 

Mar 05 2020

23mins

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The Rise and Fall and Rise of Pitmaster Ed Mitchell

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Ed Mitchell’s name has come to be synonymous with Eastern North Carolina wood-smoked whole-hog barbecue. From Wilson, North Carolina, he grew up smoking hogs and has tried to continue that tradition, using old techniques and traditionally farm-raised pigs. But almost since the start, Ed Mitchell’s barbeque journey has not been a straight line—business relationships, racism, and smoke have all shaped his rollercoaster ride.

Feb 27 2020

24mins

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Greetings from Ham & Bacon High School

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How much is too much for bacon? $10 a pound? $20? What about $500 a pound? In New Martinsville, West Virginia someone actually paid $500 a pound at auction for bacon raised and butchered under pretty special circumstances. The bacon, along with ham and eggs, sold at this auction are raised and butchered by high schoolers as part of their school curriculum. Reporter Corey Knollinger tell us the story of what it takes to compete in the Wetzel County Ham, Bacon, and Egg show. 

Feb 20 2020

23mins

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Harassment and the Service Economy

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In restaurants, economics and sexual harassment are intimately entwined. Restaurants, along with hotels, have the highest rates of sexual harassment of any industry. For a tipped worker, in particular, how and how much one gets paid can determine how empowered one feels to respond against harassment. We delve into why restaurants pay servers just $2.13 per hour and how that affects how they deal with bad clients. And we look at why money might not be the only culprit when it comes to harassment.   

Dec 18 2019

20mins

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Spinning Carolina Gold Rice into Sake

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For much of the 19th Century, Carolina Gold rice was a favorite of American rice growers, before disappearing in the early 20th Century. Brought back to life in the 1980s, it again occupies a much beloved, if niche, place in the South's canon of heirloom ingredients. Now, Hagood Coxe, a daughter of a Carolina Gold farmer, wants to make sake, a Japanese rice wine, out of the grain.

Dec 11 2019

20mins

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Are prison diets punitive? A report from behind bars

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Is prison food causing problems for public health? Gravy investigates.

Dec 04 2019

23mins

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Access Denied: Cooperative Extension and Tribal Lands

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Cooperative extension is a century-old government program that places agricultural agents in counties to educate and work with farmers. But for years, agents failed to show up for Native American communities.

Nov 27 2019

23mins

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Preserving Community Canneries

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Community canneries–facilities, often subsidized by local government, where people can in bulk–are closing. With groceries easily available even in rural communities, there's less need. And with busy schedules, people have less time for the labor-intensive process of canning their own food. But people who continue to use the still-operational canneries, like Arnold and Donna Lafon, find community and pride in the practice.

Nov 20 2019

19mins

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Mahalia Jackson's Glori-Fried Chicken

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In addition to her work as an international recording artist and civil rights activist, the Queen of Gospel entered the restaurant business in the late 1960s with Mahalia Jackson’s Glori-fried Chicken. The fast food chain was more than a brand extension for the star; it was the first African American-owned franchise in the South. Producer Betsy Shepherd tells how Mahalia used the gospel bird to push for economic empowerment in the black community.

Sep 05 2019

24mins

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Where Mexico Meets Arkansas

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Menudo, sopes, gorditas, tortas, gringas, huaraches, mangonadas, and alambres are just some of the specialty dishes of De Queen, Arkansas, population 6,600. A majority of the town's residents are Latino. Many of them migrated from Mexico to southwest Arkansas for jobs in poultry processing plants. Producer Betsy Shepherd attends Fiesta Fest, the town’s Cinco de Mayo celebration, to sample local food and music and to hear stories from the men and women who make it.

Aug 29 2019

23mins

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A Taste of Dollywood

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Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s Appalachian-themed amusement park, draws millions of country fans and thrill seekers to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, every year. The tourist attraction features roller coasters, live music, folk art demonstrations, and a Dolly museum in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. Recently, the park has started marketing itself as a culinary destination. Producer Betsy Shepherd goes on a Dollywood tasting tour to gain insight on her musical idol and experience Dolly’s vision of the mountain South.

Aug 22 2019

24mins

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Electric Tofu

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In the early 1970s, two hundred hippies from San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury neighborhood resettled in rural Tennessee. They founded a vegetarian commune and agricultural operation called The Farm. With help from their neighbors and a psychedelic soundtrack from their house band, the back-to-landers got their social experiment off the ground and produced some of the first vegan cookbooks and commercial soy products in the United States.

The Farm outlived the Flower Power era to become a model of environmental sustainability and community farming that is still thriving nearly 50 years later. Producer Betsy Shepherd tells how tempeh, experimental rock, midwifery, and the antinuclear movement grew from a seed of West Coast counterculture planted in Southern soil. 

Aug 15 2019

26mins

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Biscuit Blues

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Delta blues found its voice and audience on the airwaves of KFFA’s King Biscuit Time, a daily broadcast out of Helena, Arkansas. Bluesmen like Sonny Boy Williamson and Robert Lockwood Jr., who would go on to become legends, interspersed their own songs with advertising jingles. King Biscuit Time, which launched in 1941, gave unprecedented exposure to African American musicians while selling everyday grocery staples like flour and cornmeal. And it's still on the air. Reporter-producer Betsy Shepherd travels to Helena to tell the story for Gravy. 

Aug 08 2019

24mins

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The Magical, Meandering Life of Eugene Walter

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Eugene Walter (1921–1998) of Mobile, Alabama was a novelist, a poet, a playwright, an actor, a costume designer, and a food writer, among myriad vocations and avocations. He had a deep love for the Mobile of his youth, which nurtured his creativity and informed much of his writing. He spent thirty years in Europe, acting in and translating films, hosting and carousing with artists, actors, and literati. Mobile called him home for the last chapter of his life. His surviving friends agree: Walter changed everyone he met. Twenty-one years after his death, producer Sara Brooke Curtis asks: Why don’t more people know about him? 

May 30 2019

25mins

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When Menus Talk

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What do restaurant menus have to say about the identity of a restaurant or the point of view of the chef? It turns out, menus are more nuanced and revealing than we might suspect. They reveal narratives that extend far beyond the bill of fare. They are collectors' items and rich historical documents. They are highly curated and sometimes distinctly engineered texts. They may impact the dining experience more than you think. Reporter Sara Brooke Curtis explores menus as text and menus as literature.

May 23 2019

20mins

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iTunes Ratings

447 Ratings
Average Ratings
378
28
12
11
18

Always a Good Listen!

By Joe Mondo - May 14 2020
Read more
Always interesting and well told. I’ve enjoyed just about every episode!

Great Podcast

By localfoodlover - Oct 26 2018
Read more
I especially like the episode about the women who duck hunt!