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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.
 
Welcome to Okracast, the podcast of the Southern Foodways Alliance. Okracast maps food culture across the changing American South, using stories to explore the dynamic people, places and traditions of our region. Each week, we highlight one interview from the SFA's growing oral history archive, as well as original, sound-rich narrative audio documentaries to share the stories behind the food. You’ll hear from pitmasters and soul food cooks, oystermen and bartenders, and more. Grab some headp ...
 
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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…
 
Arab American and Middle Eastern immigrants have had a unique experience in the U.S. With a history that dates back more than 100 years, Arab Americans of every generation have brought their food and history with them, and have often used restaurants as a center of culture and a way to create their own American and Arab story. In Arkansas, one popu…
 
The home of Civil Rights leaders like John Lewis and Martin Luther King, Jr., Atlanta has a remarkably storied Black history. It’s birthed the musical careers of legends like Andre 3000, Usher, and Gladys Knight. And recently, it made political history when the state—largely due to Black voters—flipped blue for the first time in nearly 30 years, im…
 
The largest city in Texas doesn’t disappoint when it comes to food. Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the United States. There is a bustling and ever-growing immigrant community that has brought food and culture to almost every corner of the city. Amid strip centers filled with pho shops, taco trucks, and Indian restaurants, however, Ind…
 
Nearly every cuisine has its own flavor base. In Louisiana, this technique has become doctrine. The Holy Trinity, a base of finely chopped and sautéed onion, celery, and green bell pepper, is the starting point for jambalaya, gumbo, and étouffée. So iconic have these dishes become that the Trinity manifests whenever Louisianans have migrated. In th…
 
The black-eyed pea is not your average bean. Like many staple foods of the African Diaspora, it’s become a powerful symbol of food sovereignty and survival. With the migration of the black-eyed pea from West Africa during the transatlantic slave trade came a superstition about good luck. This belief combines folklore from West Africa and Western Eu…
 
In 2018, Beverlee Sanders launched a novel pilot project in Charlotte, North Carolina: collecting food scraps from a small number of homes and sending them to a composting facility, rather than to the landfill. Food is the number one category of waste going to landfills. Once dumped, it produces methane, a very potent greenhouse gas. Beverlee, who …
 
Anna Shine is an Episcopal parish priest in Boone, North Carolina. Her focus, both during her education and now in her work, has been 'creation care,' which is theologically motivated environmentalism. She sees food security and climate change as intrinsically Christian issues, with representation and instruction present in scripture. And she's not…
 
The U.S. is losing agricultural land to commercial, industrial, and residential development. Every state is converting ag acres to other uses, but the South is losing more farmland than any other region. Southern states' policy response has also lagged behind other parts of the country. Why does this matter? First, it matters because we need land t…
 
Restaurants—and not just those working with Zero Foodprint—are starting to wake up to the issues around climate change, food, and the role chefs can play in driving change. That can mean being purposeful about the kinds of farmers they work with, but also educating diners, who may ultimately bring more sustainable ingredients to their home kitchens…
 
Goat Light provides focused reflections by Tom Rankin and Jill McCorkle upon their home and farm northwest of Hillsborough in rural Orange County, North Carolina. In this episode of Gravy, Tom Rankin talks about how goat can figure into a Southern future. This episode is part of a 4-episode 2020 symposium series where Gravy interviews authors whose…
 
Gravy host John T Edge talks with poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil about her book, World of Wonders. The poetry collection integrates everyday life, family history, and natural history, and offers a path, to see and think anew. This episode is part of a 4-episode 2020 symposium series where Gravy interviews authors whose work shapes our ideas about the f…
 
Author, photographer, and cultural documentarian Candacy Taylor's most recent project is Overground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America (Abrams Books). In this interview with Melissa Hall, Taylor talks about the process of researching the Green Book, visiting the sites, and taking photographs. She also speaks to the wa…
 
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