Gravy

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. 

Direct download: SFA_-_Robert_Gipe2ndDraft.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:38am EDT

Bars mean different things to different people. For some, they are places to find community and discover new ingredients and flavors. They can serve as a gateway for cultural understanding. A group of bar operators in Houston, Texas, use their establishments as vehicles to foster conversation and educate their guests about our neighbors to the south in Mexico. Sean Beck, Bobby Heugel, and Alba Huerta use agave spirits to bridge gaps in divided times. Producer Shanna Farrell explores how their work has ignited interest in Mexican culture alongside craft cocktails. 

Direct download: Agave_Diplomacy_FInal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:48am EDT

Mine is a slightly funky ancestry: a Colombian mother, a Cuban father, a combination that leads many Latinos to say, “¡Que mezcla tan rara!” But even in saying the phrase myself, it’s clear that neither tongue works comfortably for me. My Spanish is passable, sure, but it is also glaringly self-conscious, mainly because it is a first language that began to fade during a boyhood in the South, despite my parents’ best efforts to preserve it. The fact that it evolved from a first language to a second one for lack of practice—for lack of commitment—evokes a mash of complicated feelings shared by anyone belonging to an immigrant family’s transitional generation who feels adrift between cultures. It begins as code-switching, but over time, the tools you need to switch back are harder to find.

Paul Reyes is the editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review. 

Direct download: SFA_PaulReyes_FinalDraft.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:19am EDT

When he was shut out of the industry during the 1980s catfish boom, Scott turned 160 acres of arable farmland into catfish ponds and built a processing plant of concrete and stainless steel atop the bones of an old tractor shed. In doing so, he marched into history. Scott used food as a weapon and a megaphone: feeding civil rights workers, employing dozens of his friends and neighbors, joining a class action suit against the federal government, and providing an example of perseverance for future generations. 

This episode is adapted from the book Catfish Dream: Ed Scott’s Fight for His Family Farm and Racial Justice in the Mississippi Delta by Julian Rankin (published by University of Georgia Press; Southern Foodways Alliance Studies in Culture, People, and Place series). Learn more at www.catfishdream.com

Julian Rankin wrote this episode. Beau York of Podastery Studios in Jackson, MS, was the producer. 

Direct download: V1_Final_Gravy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:29am EDT

When we pour a glass of milk, most of us don’t consider the economics that brought that milk from a cow to our kitchen. Reporter-producer Allison Salerno visited two women, friends and neighbors in southeast Georgia, who both grew up and spent their working lives on dairy farms. One woman watched this spring as auctioneers sold her family's cows and farm equipment. The other dairy woman has changed her business model to stay afloat. Their way of life is rapidly disappearing in Georgia and throughout rural America as milk prices remain low.

Direct download: salernodairyFINAL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:12am EDT

Writer Naben Ruthnum compares outsiders' expectations and assumptions about the South Asian diaspora to those about the American South. 

This week's episode is adapted from a lecture Ruthnum gave at SFA's Taste of the South at Blackberry Farm in Walland, TN. 

Direct download: GRAVY_NATIVE_FINAL_MP3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:48am EDT

Many Muslims in the United States feel the stings of xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment on a daily basis. For them, safe public spaces are essential.

As many lament the death of the American mall, the International Mall on 8th and York Streets in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, provides a lifeline to thousands of resettled refugees from Somalia.

But this mall is more than a place to buy food, or a place where teenagers hang out. From playing dominoes, to watching soccer to catching up with community news the International Mall serves as a hub for Louisville’s Somali community.

Direct download: Scott_Edit_5.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:20am EDT

Gravy listeners, we invite you to join us in Lexington, Kentucky, June 21–23, for our annual SFA Summer Symposium. Today, listen to Kentucky poet—and Summer Symposium presenter—Rebecca Gayle Howell reading her poem "What Wealth Is." 

Visit southernfoodways.org to learn more about the Summer Symposium and to purchase tickets. 

Tune in on May 17 when we return from hiatus with a new episode. 

Direct download: SFA_HiatusSymposiumAnnouncement.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:08pm EDT

In the early 20th century, an Arkansan real estate developer named C.A. Linebarger had an idea. American was in the throes of the Great Depression, and the worst drought in recorded history gripped the heartland. Times were tough. But like many folks on the Ozark Plateau, Linebarger owned a cave. And like many folks with caves in their possession during Prohibition, he was going to make good with it. Thus, the Wonderland Underground Nightclub came to be.

It wasn’t uncommon to find booze or dancing or relics from civilizations gone by in these caves. But what made Wonderland different was that it served a very distinct kind of fare: chop suey.

Reporter-producer (and former Gravy Intern) Robin Miniter travels to Bella Vista, Arkansas to find the cultural threads that led to this dish being served along with chicken salad sandwiches and a side of big band tunes. In a story of policy and palate, she dives into to the attitudes that shaped this menu and shaped the white tourist imagination.

Direct download: Miniter-Caves-Final-Mar22.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:18am EDT

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.

Direct download: HungerRebroadcast_March2018.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:32am EDT