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Gravy

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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Mahalia Jackson's Glori-Fried Chicken

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.

24mins

5 Sep 2019

Rank #1

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A Taste of Dollywood

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.

24mins

22 Aug 2019

Rank #2

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A Table for All?

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. 

19mins

21 Feb 2019

Rank #3

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Access Denied: Cooperative Extension and Tribal Lands

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.

23mins

27 Nov 2019

Rank #4

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When Menus Talk

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.

20mins

23 May 2019

Rank #5

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Home-Cooked Expectations

In the United States, home cooked meals with the family are revered almost to the point of fetishization. Dinners are seen as moral imperatives for happy, healthy families. Women, in particular mothers, have been tasked with serving up meals rich with meaning. Yet, as authors Sarah Bowen, Joslyn Brenton, and Sinikka Elliott write in Pressure Cooker: Why Home Cooking Won't Solve Our Problems and What We Can Do About It, many American women are not happy with their cooking lives. Due to economics and schedules, many mothers are not able to feed their families in the way they've been told they should, which leaves them feeling anxious and inadequate.  Irina Zhorov reported and produced this episode. 

23mins

21 Feb 2019

Rank #6