Gravy (general)

When Alexis Diao’s father arrived in Tallahassee, Florida, he couldn’t even find coconut milk—let alone many other ingredients to make the Filipino food of his home. But there was an even bigger problem: he didn’t know how to cook. His feeling of remove from everything familiar was intensified; he was in a new land with unfamiliar foods, and not a clue how to cook them.

In this episode of Gravy, Alexis ponders how her family and others made a culinary home for Filipinos in the Florida panhandle, and how to impart that hybrid Filipino-Southern identity to her own daughter.


Every week, Cracker Barrel provides 4 million Americans with a studied version of down-home Southern food and hospitality. The dumplins and the chicken-fried steak. The country knick-knacks and the rocking chairs. What are we really consuming, culturally, along with the hashbrown casserole? In this episode of Gravy, Besha Rodell ponders the restaurant chain, the trickiness of Southern nostalgia, and how all of that has ended up informing her understanding of family.

Direct download: The_New_Old_Country_Store_Gravy_Ep._36.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:18am EST

When it comes to a certain kind of bourbon, it doesn’t matter who you are or how much money you have—you can’t get it unless you’re exceptionally lucky or you’re willing to break the law. In this episode of Gravy, we teamed up with the podcast Criminal to bring you the story of the cult of popularity surrounding Pappy Van Winkle… and how it’s driven some to crime. The Pappy frenzy has law enforcement, bartenders, and even the Van Winkle family themselves wringing their hands.

Direct download: Wanting_the_Bourbon_You_Cant_Have_Gravy_Ep._35.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Jell-O could seem like a trivial food. It’s brightly colored-- vibrantly orange, electric green or unsettlingly blue—nutritionally void, and, hey, it jiggles. But in Appalachia, Jell-O marked a transformation in the lives of rural residents.

In this episode of Gravy, Kentucky writer Lora Smith sifts through a trove of oral histories that demonstrate the sea change in culinary that Jell-O represented. It served, for these communities, as a benchmark in a time. Life could be sorted into a pre-Jell-O and a post-Jell-O era.

Direct download: Jell-O_Makes_the_Modern_Mountain_Woman-_Gravy_Ep._34.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

We stay at them around the South and across the United States: Day’s Inn. Best Western. Quality Inn. But there is a food world behind the scenes at some motels that most people are unaware of. In this episode of Gravy, a partnership with the Post & Courier in Charleston, South Carolina, we delve into that world. Hanna Raskin brings us the story of how so many motels came to be owned by families from the Gujarat region of India, and the secret cooking they do to keep their culinary traditions going here in the United States.

Direct download: Dinner_at_the_Patel_Motel_Gravy_Ep._33_FIXED.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:11am EST

There’s a dish you’ll find at every kind of restaurant in Little Rock, from the pizza places to the burger joints: cheese dip. How did it become so beloved in Arkansas? And what does it reveal about the state’s past—and present? In this episode of Gravy, Dana Bialek and host Tina Antolini investigate this story of highways, demographic changes, and a food’s shifting identity over time.

Direct download: Mexican-ish-_How_Arkansas_Came_to_Love_Cheese_Dip_Gravy_Ep._32.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:30am EST

Sticky rice. It may not be the first dish you expect to be served in a double-wide trailer in the mountain South, but in Morganton, North Carolina, you will find it in abundance. In this episode of Gravy, Katy Clune brings us the story of one Laotian family that’s introducing their community to their food and faith, and working to make themselves a home in the South. Food weaves in and around this story, from the solitary egg that fed a whole family fleeing Laos to become refugees in Thailand, to the sticky rice cooked in offering to a new temple’s monk in North Carolina.

Direct download: A_Trailer_a_Temple_a_Feast-_Making_Laos_in_North_Carolina_Gravy_Ep._31.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:45am EST

When you think of Southern food, especially if you're not from the South, fried chicken might be the first dish that comes to mind. Chicken is a Southern staple, and the biggest chicken companies in the world are all based in the South. The second-largest poultry state is Arkansas, and the northwest region—home to the Walmart empire—is also home to Tyson, Cargill, and George's, among others. 

Twenty years ago, it was more than 80% white, but today—because of big chicken—there's a ballooning population of Latino, Marshall Island, and Asian immigrants. The school system is nearly half Latino, and streets once marked by poultry plants and feed stores are lined with taquerias and signs en español

This is the story of Springdale, Arkansas, and how chicken transformed a once-sleepy rural town into the most ethnically diverse city in the state—and among the most diverse in the South.

Direct download: Gravy_Springdale_VDiaz_FINAL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:19am EST

What kind of view of a city can you have through its restaurants? Or—more specifically—through its strip mall restaurants? Christiane Lauterbach’s multi-decade career proves: a whole lot.

Christiane is a woman full of contradictions. A loner who is unfailingly gregarious. A self-described hermit who loves to ramble around her adopted city of Atlanta, Georgia. A French transplant who refuses to claim a Southern identity, but has changed the way Atlantans think about their restaurants. In this episode of Gravy, we learn how a Parisian woman came to document the evolution of a Southern restaurant scene, and what her work reveals about Atlanta’s global population.

Direct download: ChristianeLauterbach_remix.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

Shirley Sherrod’s introduction to the intermingling of agriculture and racism came when she was 17 years old, with an incident that changed the course of her life. And, after that moment, her life has been one defined by the fight for black-owned farmland. It’s a fight that has included devastating racism, the biggest class action lawsuit in the history of the United States, and a high-profile firing from the USDA. 

But Shirley’s story taps into a much bigger one; she and her family are just some of the tens of thousands of black farmers who have been victims of institutional racism. This is a story about how those farmers lost ownership of millions of acres of land in the U.S., in part because of USDA discrimination. It’s also a story of how Shirley Sherrod and others have kept fighting back—and, in some surprising ways, winning.

 

Direct download: Fighting_for_the_Promised_Land_Gravy_Ep._29.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EST