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Gravy

Southern Foodways Alliance

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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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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 o…
 
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…
 
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 count…
 
In "Filipino Balikbayan is Homecoming in a Box," Gravy explores the histories underlying the balikbayan box—a large box filled with everything from tubes of toothpaste to cassette tapes to cans of Spam—that Filipinos in the United States customarily send home to family in the Philippines. There is an entire industry in Filipino enclaves across the …
 
In "New Orleans Street Vendors, Old and New," Gravy explores the history of street food vendors in New Orleans, from Mr. Okra to the pralinière, or praline vendor. A conversation with urbanist Amy Stelly, who grew up in Tremé and remembers when street vendors populated her neighborhood, reveals that there is a fraught line between cultural apprecia…
 
In "The Skinny on the South Beach Diet" producer Katie Jane Fernelius speaks with Adrienne Bitar, author of Diet and the Disease of Civilization, all about diet books and why they capture the American imagination. They discuss the South Beach Diet, in particular, and the ways it answered a specific moral panic over obesity in the early 2000s. But w…
 
In this episode of Gravy, "The Kitchen Electric: Selling Power to Rural America," producer Katie Jane Fernelius looks at the role of women in campaigns for electricity and electrical appliances. She speaks with scholar Rachele Dini at the University of Roehampton about how advertising portrayed and defined the modern housewife in print ads and comm…
 
In this episode of the Gravy podcast, “Orange Juice and the Making of the Sunshine State,” producer Katie Jane Fernelius examines how, for decades, the Florida Citrus Commission not only peddled orange juice, but Florida’s popular image as the sunshine state. She talks to James Padgett, a scholar who has studied Florida oranges; Fred Fejes, profess…
 
"Take the Woods Ballistic! Black Belt Nightlife" disrupts the sleepy picture of rural life by taking you into its nightlife. In Alabama’s Black Belt, the night scene has a beat all its own, rooted in a sense of deep community. We dive into bootlegging, clubbing, and a legendary Black Belt festival: the Footwash in Uniontown. Catherine Shelton of th…
 
Alabama’s Black Belt has always been a place of migration: the site of both forced and elective movement. Today, our reasons for leaving and coming home are still shaped by the desire for better lives and livelihoods. In "Migration: Making Meals and Homes in Alabama," we meet three women whose very different paths all led to a home in the Black Bel…
 
For generations, rural families in the Alabama Black Belt grew and hunted what they needed to sustain themselves. Wild game was a major and critical part of the diet. Today, hunting is still a popular Black Belt pursuit, but it’s less about sustenance and more about camaraderie, challenge, and immersion in nature. We meet Jerry Dawson, a coon hunte…
 
As "Cooking Up a Living in Alabama" reveals, culinary entrepreneurship, whether running barbecue stands, holding neighborhood fish fries, or selling sweets around town, has long enabled African Americans to earn income, stick together as a family, and express creativity. Georgia Gilmore of Montgomery is the quintessential model in Alabama. In this …
 
Alabama’s Black Belt stretches in a strip 25 miles wide across the center of the state. Named for the rich soil that enabled cotton to flourish, the Black Belt was once Alabama’s most prosperous and politically powerful region. It held most of the state's enslaved people, and African Americans still comprise the majority of the Black Belt populatio…
 
You’d be hard-pressed to find a major city in the United States that doesn’t have Indian food. Despite some of the nation’s limited ideas about what American food is, Indian favorites like chicken tikka masala, biryani, and samosas have become nationally recognized, and are often the dinner or lunch of choice for millions of Americans. But, what ab…
 
The Cuban sandwich. If it’s made with ingredients someone else doesn’t like, you might find yourself in an hours-long argument in the middle of Little Havana. In Miami and Tampa, Florida, restaurant owners, historians, and Cuban Americans recount their own memories of the Cuban sandwich, as well as the story of its origins. In this episode of Gravy…
 
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