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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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"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…
 
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…
 
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