100 EpisodesProduced by Southern Foodways AllianceWebsite

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 corner… read more

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Mahalia Jackson's Glori-Fried Chicken

September 5th, 2019


In addition to her work as an international recording artist and civil rights activist, the Queen of Gospel entered the restaurant business in the late 1960s with Mahalia Jackson’s Glori-fried Chicken. The fast food …

Where Mexico Meets Arkansas

August 29th, 2019


Menudo, sopes, gorditas, tortas, gringas, huaraches, mangonadas, and alambres are just some of the specialty dishes of De Queen, Arkansas, population …

A Taste of Dollywood

August 22nd, 2019


Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s Appalachian-themed amusement park, draws millions of country fans and thrill seekers to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, every …

Electric Tofu

August 15th, 2019


In the early 1970s, two hundred hippies from San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury neighborhood resettled in rural Tennessee. They founded a vegetarian …

Biscuit Blues

August 8th, 2019


Delta blues found its voice and audience on the airwaves of KFFA’s King Biscuit Time, a daily broadcast out of Helena, Arkansas. Bluesmen like Sonny …

The Magical, Meandering Life of Eugene Walter

May 30th, 2019


Eugene Walter (1921–1998) of Mobile, Alabama was a novelist, a poet, a playwright, an actor, a costume designer, and a food writer, among myriad vocations and avocations. He had a deep love for the Mobile of his youth, …

When Menus Talk

May 23rd, 2019


What do restaurant menus have to say about the identity of a restaurant or the point of view of the chef? It turns out, menus are more nuanced and revealing than we might suspect. They reveal narratives that extend far …

Cooking Up Social Change with Julia Turshen

May 16th, 2019


Can cookbooks be a vehicle for social change? What can or should cookbook writers offer readers beyond recipes? Writer and cookbook author Julia …

Catering: Behind the Pipe and Drape

May 9th, 2019


Have you ever been to a wedding and wondered, how do hundreds of plates of food arrive at the right destinations at the right time—often without an on-site kitchen? This is high-concept cooking, done without a net. …

JoAnn Clevenger: New Orleans’ Uptown Girl Scout

May 2nd, 2019


JoAnn Clevenger is a hospitality archetype. She lives to serve and breathes life into every service encounter. For the past thirty-six years, she’s nurtured a haven for guests and staff at Upperline, her New Orleans …

Spring Season Trailer

April 22nd, 2019


The spring season of Gravy, featuring 5 episodes reported and produced by Sara Brooke Curtis, begins on May 2. 

With John T. Edge and Melissa Hall as your cohosts, you'll:

Sneak behind the pipe-and-drape with the Lee …

A Table for All?

February 21st, 2019


At the FARM Café in Boone, North Carolina, diners can pay $10 for meal—or they can pay nothing. The restaurant, one of dozens of its kind, follows a …

Pop-Up Identity

February 21st, 2019


Chefs stage pop-up dinners to tell stories, many of them focused on identity. Whether's it's to highlight African American chefs, develop a platform for Indian American chefs in the South, or focus on Appalachia's food …

Home-Cooked Expectations

February 21st, 2019


In the United States, home cooked meals with the family are revered almost to the point of fetishization. Dinners are seen as moral imperatives for …

Bottled Myth

February 21st, 2019


Legal moonshine—funny as that sounds—has exploded in the South. Instead of on creek banks, it's now produced in gleaming distilleries. But it's the …

A New Recipe for Charlotte

February 21st, 2019


Charlotte, North Carolina, has long been a banking town. These days, its dining scene is booming as well. As the city works to rebrand itself as a …

Y'all Have Chilaquiles?

December 20th, 2018


With its vibrant take on Mexican breakfast, Con Huevos restaurant is bringing Louisville, Kentucky, brand-new answers to the question of what to eat for breakfast. Answers like tortas, chilaquiles, huevos rancheros, and …

Smoking on the South Side

December 6th, 2018


Barbecue purists from the Carolinas to Texas might balk at the notion that Chicago, Illinois, has a barbecue tradition all its own. But owing to the …

Vinegar & Char

November 15th, 2018


Vinegar & Char: Verse from the Southern Foodways Alliance, edited by poet Sandra Beasley, is SFA's latest book, available now from University of Georgia Press. 

In this special episode, you'll hear half a dozen of …

Visible Yam

November 1st, 2018


“For me, the hallmark of food in literature, raised to the level of art, is food interacting with character. Food as character. Food doing stuff. Food being stuff. Just as it happens with our flesh and blood, our mouths …

The Swamp Witches

October 18th, 2018


The Swamp Witches, as this group of friends call themselves, have been duck hunting together for nearly 20 years. Men are often surprised to stumble upon a half-dozen women—not in the company of fathers or husbands or …

Comfort Food

August 9th, 2018


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, …

Agave Diplomacy

July 26th, 2018


Bars mean different things to different people. For some, they are places to find community and discover new ingredients and flavors. They can serve …

What Is Latino Enough?

July 12th, 2018


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 …

Catfish Dream

June 28th, 2018


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 …

The Price of Cheap Milk

June 14th, 2018


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, …

Native Strangers of the South

May 31st, 2018


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 …

Where Kentucky Meets Somalia

May 17th, 2018


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 …

A Message and a Verse

April 19th, 2018


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 …

Subterranean Chop Suey

March 22nd, 2018


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 …

Hungry in the Mississippi Delta

March 8th, 2018


While civil rights activists worked in Mississippi in 1964, they encountered a poverty they could never have imagined. People were hungry, starving …

Hostesses of the Movement

February 22nd, 2018


The hostesses of the Civil Rights Movement: They were school teachers, church ladies, and club women. Their subtle contributions played a vital role …

Dispatch from Duplin County

February 8th, 2018


By the end of the twentieth century, hog farming had replaced tobacco as the backbone of eastern North Carolina's economy. Today, the hog industry is …

Home with the Armadillo: The Austin Sound, with a Side of Nachos

January 25th, 2018


Austin, Texas, calls itself the Live Music Capital of the World. Back in the 1970s, country music mixed with rock-and-roll to create the "Austin …

Hidden in Plain Sight: Las Pulgas of New Orleans

January 11th, 2018


When people think of New Orleans food, jambalayas, gumbos, and beignets usually come to mind. But with the arrival of thousands of Central American and Mexican immigrants after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Latin foods are …

Baptism by Biryani

December 28th, 2017


If you want to see the American future, visit Greater Houston, the nation's most diverse major metropolitan area and home to the South's biggest …

A Taste of Place: Whiskey as Food

December 14th, 2017


When most people sit down to enjoy a pour of whiskey, they aren't thinking about where the grain that it is made with comes from, nor do they think …

A Most Civil Union: from Reconstruction to Restaurateur

November 30th, 2017

Brunswick, Georgia's The Farmer & The Larder restaurant is forward-facing with its menu, while paying homage to an agricultural legacy that …

Stories from the Hem of my Mother's Apron

November 16th, 2017


For Hannah Drake, it all started with a trip to Dakar, Senegal.

The author, poet, mother, and native Kentuckian was transformed by the communal experience of simply preparing and eating food with other women.

So …

Of Hunger and Humanity: Resilience on the Texas Coast

November 2nd, 2017


When Hurricane Harvey unleashed 30 trillion gallons of rain on Texas last summer, thousands of evacuees and first responders needed to be fed. Restaurants and commercial kitchens were turned into relief operations, and …

The Wise Family at Work: A Sound Portrait

October 19th, 2017


Historically, African Americans played a central role in the nation’s agriculture system, and, through their labor and know-how on farms and …

Booze Legends

October 5th, 2017


Striking up a conversation with a stranger in a bar is accepted, even expected. And storytelling is a big part of that engagement.

But when it comes to origin stories behind cocktails, Wayne Curtis has noticed a shift …

Kimchi and Cornbread

September 21st, 2017


When you sit down for a meat and three in Montgomery, Alabama, say at the Davis Café, you choose from the menu and you get one plate all for you, but at a Korean table in Montgomery – or anywhere – your plates are all …

Shad Stories: The Ebb and Flow of the Founding Fish

September 7th, 2017


The American shad were once as plentiful in the water along the east coast as the buffalo were in the west. But after decades of overfishing and …

Pie by Another Name: The Burekas of Or Ve Shalom

August 24th, 2017


Every Tuesday a group of women gets together at Or Ve Shalom Synagogue in Atlanta to bake hundreds of savory hand-held pies. They're called burekas, from the Turkish word Burek, which means pie.

Sephardic Jews trace …

Hostesses of the Movement

August 10th, 2017


This week’s Gravy podcast looks at hostesses of the Civil Rights Movement. They were school teachers, church ladies and club women who were not …

The Mala Project: Chinese Flavors, Tennessee Family

July 27th, 2017


What happens when a white family in the American South adopts an 11-year-old Chinese girl who’s never eaten a meal other than Chinese in her entire …

Bluegrass Tacos

July 13th, 2017


In the northwestern part of Lexington, Kentucky, just inside the city’s loop road, there is a little bit of Mexico. In all directions, there are signs in Spanish – a bakery, a restaurant, a grocery store, a daycare, a …

Separation of Church and Coffee

June 29th, 2017


How many of us would be lost without our regular coffeeshop? In the age of wifi and telecommuting, cafes have become more than purveyors of lattes …

Going Whole Hog in Israel

June 15th, 2017


When you think about Israeli cuisine there are a few things that may come to mind; hummus or shawarma, shakshuka and baba ganoush. What probably doesn’t come to mind is pork. After all, Israel is the self-proclaimed …

How A Texas Vine Saved European Wine

May 31st, 2017

Thanks to Texan viticulturist Thomas Volney Munson, you should probably think of Texas when you think of that French wine you're drinking. During an …

Farmer's Blues

May 18th, 2017


Imagine you’re a young person wanting to be a farmer. If you don’t inherit land from your family, the challenges of finding and affording farmland might make your dream a non-starter. The average farmer in the United …

Halal Memphis

May 4th, 2017


Chicken shawarma might not be the first food that comes to mind when you think of Memphis. This episode of Gravy takes us inside Ali Baba Mediterranean Grill to meet Mahmoud al-Hazaz, who made his home in the U.S. South …

Booze Legends

April 19th, 2017


Striking up a conversation with a stranger in a bar is accepted, even expected. And storytelling is a big part of that engagement.

But when it comes to origin stories behind cocktails, Wayne Curtis has noticed a shift …

Corned Beef Sandwiches in the Delta

April 6th, 2017


It’s the season for communal meals, like Easter dinners and Passover Seders. In the Mississippi Delta town of Greenville, members of the Hebrew Union Congregation synagogue have been hosting a community meal on the past …

The Chili Powder Cheat: A Tex-Mex Story

March 22nd, 2017



Texas: the land of BBQ, breakfast tacos…and of course Tex-Mex. But what if we told you Tex-Mex wasn’t created by a Texan or Mexican, but a German …

Southern Food Gets Christopher Columbus-ed

March 9th, 2017


So much of our national culture—food, music, dance—has come from the South. Where would American dance be without Jane Brown? Where would American …

Korean BBQ in Coolsville: A Memphis Report

February 23rd, 2017


What happens when Korean barbecue goes from suburban strip malls to restaurant rows in cities like Atlanta, New Orleans, and Memphis? On the latest …

Reclaiming Native Ground

February 9th, 2017


For centuries, the bayous and lowlands of coastal Louisiana have fed the Point-au-Chien Indian Tribe. From cattle to crabs, oranges to okra, the fertile landscape provided almost everything they needed to eat. But now, …

Ironies and Onion Rings: The Layered Story of the Vidalia Onion

January 26th, 2017


If you know and love the Vidalia onion—an onion sweet enough, its fans say, to eat like an apple—you likely also know it as a product of Georgia, as proudly claimed as the peach. But the story of the Vidalia’s …

Hungry in the Mississippi Delta

January 12th, 2017


While civil rights activists worked in Mississippi in 1964, they encountered a poverty they could never have imagined. People were hungry, starving …

ENCORE: The Emotional Life of Eating

December 29th, 2016


Many of the stories we hear and tell about food are positive—food’s power to nourish, to comfort, to bring people together. But it also has the …

A Tale of Two Krauts

December 15th, 2016


Sarah Reynolds takes us into the kitchens of Louise Frazier and Sandor Katz to learn how fermenting vegetables has helped them both carry on through …

The Southern Story of Coca Cola (Gravy Ep. 51)

December 1st, 2016


You might think of Coca Cola as an iconic American brand… and you’d be right. But: it was born in the South. How did Coke’s Atlanta birthplace shape …

Beyond the Golden Leaf (Gravy Ep. 50)

November 17th, 2016


For generations, farmers in western North Carolina have relied on tobacco as a core crop, their lifeblood. It was more than just income, though: …

Maize Migrations (Gravy Ep. 49)

November 3rd, 2016


Corn is a ubiquitous part of Southern food—from bread to whiskey. But how did it get to be that way? In this episode of Gravy, we go on a hunt for …

Transplanted Traditions: From Southeast Asia to North Carolina (Gravy Ep. 48)

October 20th, 2016


In Chapel Hill, there’s a farm that’s much more than just a spot to grow food: it’s a gathering place for refugees, including a group of Karen teenagers from Burma. In this episode of Gravy, those teens report on the …

What Is White Trash Cooking? (Gravy ep. 47)

October 6th, 2016


In 1986, Ernest Matthew Mickler of Palm Valley, Florida, published White Trash Cooking. It was a loving ode to his people—rural, white, working-class …

Repast (Gravy Ep. 46)

September 22nd, 2016


One spring day in 1965, a waiter in Greenwood, Mississippi gave an interview for an NBC television documentary. What he said has made him an unlikely Civil Rights hero… and the subject of an opera oratorio. In this …

Dancing the Shrimp Dry: How Chinese Immigrants Drove Louisiana Seafood (Gravy Ep. 45)

September 8th, 2016


Imagine this: deep in the Louisiana wetlands, a wooden platform the size of three football fields, covered in shrimp, drying in the sun… which are being danced on by Chinese immigrants, to rid them of their brittle …

The Leftovers In A Coal Miner's Lunchbox (Gravy Ep. 44)

August 25th, 2016


For decades, Ronnie Johnson woke up in the late afternoon, and fixed a lunch to bring with him 2,000 feet underground, as he worked all night in a coal mine. In this episode of Gravy, his son, Caleb, tells the story of …

An Apple Quest (Gravy Ep. 43)

August 11th, 2016


You’ve heard of explorers discovering new lands, but new… fruits? Fruit exploring has a long and abundant history, including in the American South, a region once rich in apple orchards. In this episode of Gravy, a …

Schnitzel and the Saturn V (Gravy Ep. 42)

July 28th, 2016


How did Huntsville, Alabama become home to a whole host of German restaurants? It has more to do with rocket science, than with Southerners’ love of …

ENCORE: Dinner at the Patel Motel (Gravy Ep. 33)

July 14th, 2016

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, …

Fish Camps: Fried Seafood and Family in a North Carolina Mill Town

June 30th, 2016


For years in Gaston County, North Carolina, just west of Charlotte, there was a local tradition on Friday or Saturday night: Get the whole family in …

A Seafood Phenomenon: the Wonder of Alabama Jubilees (Gravy Ep. 40)

June 16th, 2016


Imagine: crabs, fish, eels—a whole team of sea creatures—rushing towards the shore, and then sitting there, as if waiting to be caught. This isn’t …

The Middle East in Music City (Gravy Ep. 39)

June 2nd, 2016


The pride of Nashville: honky tonks and… Halal lamb? The area of the city known as Little Kurdistan contains a whole culinary universe that many …

What’s Growing in Mossville? (Gravy Ep. 38)

May 19th, 2016


The residents of Mossville, Louisiana have long prized self-sufficiency. Founded by freed slaves in the 1700s, Mossville was a place where everyone grew their own fruits and vegetables, caught fish, and hunted. African …

Halo Halo: Growing up “Mix Mix,” Filipino in the American South (Gravy Ep. 37)

May 5th, 2016


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 …

The New Old Country Store (Gravy Ep. 36)

April 21st, 2016


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 …

Wanting the Bourbon You Can’t Have (Gravy Ep. 35)

April 7th, 2016


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 …

Jell-O Makes the Modern (Mountain) Woman (Gravy Ep. 34)

March 24th, 2016


Jell-O could seem like a trivial food. It’s brightly colored-- vibrantly orange, electric green or unsettlingly blue—nutritionally void, and, hey, it …

Dinner at the Patel Motel (Gravy Ep. 33)

March 9th, 2016


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, …

Mexican-ish: How Arkansas Came to Love Cheese Dip (Gravy Ep. 32)

February 25th, 2016


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 …

A Trailer, a Temple, a Feast: Making Laos in North Carolina (Gravy Ep. 31)

February 11th, 2016


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, …

The Pull of Pollo: How the Chicken Industry Transformed One Arkansas Town (Gravy Ep. 30)

January 28th, 2016


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 …

Hip Hop to Bibimbap: the Atlanta of Christiane Lauterbach (Gravy Ep. 11)

January 14th, 2016


What kind of view of a city can you have through its restaurants? Or—more specifically—through its strip mall restaurants? Christiane Lauterbach’s …

Fighting for the Promised Land: A Story of Farming and Racism (Gravy Ep. 29)

December 31st, 2015


Shirley Sherrod’s introduction to the intermingling of agriculture and racism came when she was 17 years old, with an incident that changed the …

Southern Fried Baked Alaska (Gravy Ep. 28)

December 17th, 2015


What do the restaurants of your childhood say about the place you grew up? In Jack Hitt’s case, the Oysters Mornay and Escargots Bourguignonne of his …

Delta Jewels (Gravy Ep. 27)

December 3rd, 2015


When Alysia Burton Steele moved to Mississippi, she found herself drawn to the Delta. Something about it reminded her of her grandmother, who’d grown …

South by South of the Border Soul Food (Gravy Ep. 26)

November 19th, 2015


Black-eyed peas and collards. Fried chicken and peach cobbler. Customers at Delicious Southern Cuisine in Los Angeles come for these soul food …

The Cajun Reconnection (Gravy Ep. 25)

November 5th, 2015


How is a region of the far north—Canada—intimately connected to a region 2,000 miles away in the Deep South? It’s a story that begins 250 years ago, …

The Mason Jar Pickle (Gravy Ep. 24)

October 22nd, 2015


They’re everywhere: in your fancy cocktail bar and your down home country restaurant. In the hands of farmer’s market shoppers and 7-Eleven Slurpee slurpers. How did mason jars get to be so ubiquitous? How did they come …

Combat Ready Kitchen (Gravy Ep. 23)

October 8th, 2015


One of the more important places for the modern Southern (and American) diet may be... an obscure army base in Natick, Massachusetts. The Combat Feeding Directorate looks just like any other suburban office park, but …

A Salt Story: West Virginia Siblings Mine the Past to Build a Future (Gravy Ep. 22)

September 24th, 2015


While West Virginia may be known for resources like coal, the country once turned to this mountain state for a culinary staple: salt. Salt production …

Coming Out Meatless (Gravy Ep. 21)

September 10th, 2015


What does *not* eating meat say about you? In one young biracial man’s family, his dietary change was construed as white, elite, even feminine. In the new episode of Gravy, radio producer Renee Gross tells us Choya …

Red Beans, Red Wine, & Rebuilds: a Katrina Anniversary Special (Gravy Ep. 20)

August 27th, 2015


Ten years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, how does the city’s food reveal how the place has changed? This hour-long special episode of Gravy takes on that question, from what was eaten just after the …

Ice Cream, Coffee, and Community in Alabama: A Gravy Road Trip (Gravy Ep. 19)

August 13th, 2015


The Shoals is a community in Northwest Alabama made up of four towns: Muscle Shoals, Florence, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia. Tucked in the foothills of the Tennessee River Valley, the Shoals is an hour from any interstate, …

Bill Smith Turns Up the Volume (Gravy Ep. 9)

July 30th, 2015

How does a chef’s taste in things other than food wind up influencing what’s on the plate? For example, if they like rocking out to, say, the …

Holding Onto the Bayou (Gravy Ep. 18)

July 16th, 2015


Five years ago this week, the BP oil spill ended. On July 15, 2010, the well that had been spilling millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of …

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