For a sneak peek at the relaunch of the Authentic US podcast, check out this track called "Fawn." It was recorded during our live music and storytelling event, Authentic US Presents "An Evening with Josh Vasa & Sanyasi" held in Birmingham, Alabama at the Desert Island Supply Company. The show will become our first two episodes of the relaunch.
For years, at historic plantation sites across the South, the focus was on the big house and not on the slave cabins. But cabins like that are now being resurrected by a program called Slave Dwelling Project on the grounds of Montpelier, James and Dolley Madison's home in Virginia.
Hunter Lewis is the executive editor at Southern Living magazine. Before that, he had stints at the publications Bon Appetit and Saveur. In this episode he discusses writing and cooking, Eastern North Carolina whole hog barbecue and the agricultural renaissance that is feeding the way people cook in the South.
Special music by Joel Madison Blount.
In Episode 17, we met Sean Kelley, a writer who set out to raise a couple of pigs for the purpose of butchering them himself. He was so adamant about that mission that he even named the pigs Lunch and Dinner. This episode picks up at the point where Dinner had grown to over 300 pounds, and Sean was finally ready to slaughter her.
Special music by Boone, N.C.-based Redleg Husky.
Sean Kelley is a journalist, and in this show, he begins telling us the sometimes comic/sometimes tragic story about raising a couple of pigs so that he could slaughter, butcher and eat them just learn about that entire process firsthand.
"We know everything about pork and beef and poultry. We know nothing about pigs and cows and chickens," he says.
Chef Hugh Acheson is one of the most celebrated and influential chefs in the country.
Today, he has three restaurants in Athens, Georgia: The National, Five and Ten, and Cinco y Diaz. His Empire State South is one of the most popular places to dine in Atlanta and his new restaurant called The Florence is set to open in Savannah in May.
Hugh is a two-time James Beard Award winner, once as a chef and once for his cookbook, A New Turn in the South. You may have seen him on television competing on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters or as a judge on the show Top Chef.
“Folks started talking about the New South after the Civil War," says Tom Hanchett, staff historian at the Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte, North Carolina. "Where we are now is the newest of the New Souths, the Newcomer South.” Tom speaks about the ever-evolving South, especially as it relates to food, from a booth in El Pulgarcito, a Honduran-Salvadoran-Mexican restaurant in the eastern part of the city.
Special music in this episode courtesy of Charlotte-based band UltimaNota.
Cynthia Graubart attained culinary celebrity status last year when she won a James Beard Award for the cookbook she co-wrote with famed Southern author Nathalie Dupree. It’s called Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking, and it is amazing. It took four years to write, and it weighs six and a half pounds. It’s got 750 recipes and another 650 variations on the standards. It is becoming itself a standard--a bible--for any Southern cook.
Eudora Welty was one of the South’s most beloved writers, and her fiction is still a study in detail and dialogue and wit. Her settings were often Southern, but her themes were universal. Eudora won multiple awards in her lifetime, including a Pulitzer in 1973 for her novel The Optimist’s Daughter. She passed away in 2001.
The audio you hear of Eudora in this episode is part of folklorist Bill Ferris' recent book The Storied South, which is a collection of interviews with iconic writers, musicians, historians, photographers and artists.
I first featured Bill in Episode 10, and we talked extensively about his 40-year career and how the South has perfected the art of storytelling.
In this episode, Bill returns to tell us about his close friendship with the famous Southern writer.
From THE STORIED SOUTH: VOICES OF WRITERS AND ARTISTS by William Ferris. Copyright © 2013 by William Ferris.
Contributor Kelley Libby visits a shape note sing event in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Sometimes this style of singing is referred to as Sacred Harp. That’s because there’s an old tune book called The Sacred Harp, and most shape note singers use it, especially in the deep South.
Photos: Sarah Cumming
Bestselling novelist Cassandra King talks about her new book Moonrise as well as her writing relationship with her husband, famous author Pat Conroy.
"Being married to another writer was just like dropping a little fat kid into a candy store."
Preeminent Southern folklorist Bill Ferris has spent the last 40 years documenting the South in print, photography and film. His latest book, The Storied South, is a collection of interviews with some of the South's (and country's) most iconic writers and artists, including Alice Walker, Alex Haley, Robert Penn Warren and Eudora Welty. We discuss the book, the importance of story and how Bill defines the South.
Featuring the song "Remember You Used to Love Me" by War Jacket .
One of the highlights of Knoxville’s International Biscuit Festival is the Mr. & Miss Biscuit Pageant. This episode profiles Liz Barr, the reigning Miss Biscuit 2013. Her win was surely secured after she performed an interpretive dance to an original love song...about a biscuit.
The pageant's talent competition was serious. One guy ate a spoonful of flour. There was a woman who carved a butter sculpture to resemble the Sunsphere, one of the city’s iconic landmarks.
And then there was a woman who sang an a cappella piece she wrote to the tune of the Little Mermaid song, “Part of Your World.”
The Indian Pass Raw Bar is the anchor of the community in the Florida panhandle. It sits on County Road 30A, just southeast of Port St. Joe and west of Apalachicola. It’s an institution in this part of the world and has been here since owner Jimmy McNeill's grandparents opened it in 1929. People come for the oysters and the unusual 'honor system' code, but they also come for Jimmy, the unofficial mayor of Indian Pass.
This episode features the song "372" by Pressed And.
Les Thomas wrote his way across the South. His travel writing, for Texas newspapers, Southern Living magazine and beyond, has spanned over 45 years. He's a giant of a man with an innate curiosity.
"I've always liked to ask questions," he says. "That's been part of my life, I guess. I've probably asked way too many beyond patience, but I don't know how you find out things unless you ask."
This episode is the first in a series called Southern Storytellers.
In our food-obsessed culture, we likely never think about what's on the menu at an eating disorder clinic. A couple of chefs bring their inventive cuisine and gregarious personalities to Magnolia Creek, a treatment center in rural Alabama.
The episode features the song "Pour Traverser" by the Birmingham-based band War Jacket.
Faux Crab Cakes by Chef Roscoe Hall
2 spaghetti squash split in half, seeded, and rubbed with 1 TBL grape seed oil, S&P, then wrapped in foil.
2 cups black beans: 1 cup smashed with spoon, other cup left whole
1 cup chopped spinach
3 TBL minced garlic
3 TBLs each of chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, fresh thyme, and oregano
2 TBL honey
2 TBL lime juice & zest of limes used
2 cups Panko bread crumbs: 1 for dusting, other for binding. More if needed.
-Preheat oven at 375.
-Place foil wrapped Squash onto baking sheet and roast about 20-25 minutes or until sides push in when squeezed.
-When done, unwrap and let cool completely.
-Once cool grab fork and gently fork out strings/flesh of squash from skin and put that into mixing bowl.
-Add all spices, spinach, and beans, and toss until it is mixed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
-Now add Panko as needed to bind and the mixture forms patties with ease. You're shooting for crab cake feel.
-Once cakes are formed, dust outside of cakes with Panko. Put on tray and let cool in fridge for 30 minutes.
-Once ready to cook, turn a pan on medium heat, give a few swirls of grape seed oil and gently lay down cakes into pan. Sear about 3 minutes on both sides or until golden brown.
-Boom. You're done. Serve with a nice herb salad, rice, or even as a sandwich.
Microwave Potato Chips by Chef Wil Drake
-grape seed oil (or any other neutral oil)
-fresh ground pepper
-Slice thin on mandolin or with a very sharp knife. You want to just barely see your finger through the slice.
-Place the slices in a bowl and cover with water. Let them hang out for at least 15-20 mins to expel some of the starch.
-Rinse them, shake off excess water, and lay out on a microwaveable plate lined with paper towels. Brush with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
-Pop them in the microwave at full power for about 4-5 mins. Take them out and flip over. Repeat the oil and salt and pepper process. Reduce your power by about 50% and cook another 3-4 mins. Continue zapping them in 1 min increments until they are brown around the edges and crispy!!
-They will keep in an air tight container for almost a week.
Barbara Nottingham has been running the Happy Hollow Gift Shop in Medicine Park, Oklahoma, for almost 40 years. Its live rattlesnakes and an abundance of tchotchkes draw most of the visitors who have come to the area to tour the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. Barbara believes her divine purpose is to be a people person.
This episode features "Dancing Song," a track off Duquette Johnston's upcoming album Rabbit Runs a Destiny.
This episode features James “Ooker” Eskridge, a waterman who has lived on Tangier Island, Virginia, his whole life. Ooker talks about being the Chesapeake Bay island’s mayor (population 450), the dwindling interest in working in the seafood industry, and the island’s distinct Cornwall, England-tinged accent.