The South has a rich and varied food history, but too often it's reduced to stereotype. On this week's show, we explore the influence of the South on America’s culinary identity, and the central role African-American and immigrant cooks played in its formation.
We speak with John T. Edge, author of The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South. John T., who serves as director of the Southern Foodways Alliance, describes the influence of Southerners on America’s culinary identity, delving into the modern intersections of race, class, gender, and ethnicity in the process.
Then, self-described “soul food scholar” Adrian Miller shares stories of the African-American men and women who fed our First Families, from George Washington to Barack Obama.
Next, we turn to the site of countless segregation battles: the lunch counter. Historian Jill Cooley’s book, To Live and Dine in Dixie traces the story of race and gender politics within dining spaces during the age of Jim Crow. We speak with Jill to learn about how restaurants became so politically charged in the 1960s.
Finally, we revisit an archived interview with the late civil rights leader, Rudy Lombard. In a story that takes place in such significant institutions as Dooky Chase’s Restaurant, Rudy chronicles his time in the the civil rights movement in New Orleans.