It’s a simple question: What food tradition in your life reflects time or place or evokes a specific memory?
In interviews throughout the South, Whole Foods documentarian Kate Medley asked this question of farmers, home cooks, professional chefs, writers, artists, and children. The resulting project, A Spoken Dish, captures heartfelt stories about a wide range of subjects including the Civil Rights Movement, Hurricane Katrina, the Great Migration, traditional hog killings, magic pickling rocks, Southern spaetzle, paw paws, gumbo, and more.
A joint endeavor from Georgia Organics, Southern Foodways Alliance and Whole Foods Market, A Spoken Dish is a storytelling project dedicated to celebrating and documenting food memories and rituals from people across the South.
Here’s Gilliard Farms‘ Matthew Raiford talking about the power of his grandmother’s sweet potato pie:
“The goal of A Spoken Dish is to document the palate of a changing South; one that demonstrates the diversity of our communities by way of what lands on the supper table,” Medley said. “We want to know more about how people are cooking and how they got there – from the North Carolinian who holds the generations-old recipe for Appalachian fermented beans, to the Atlantan who riffs on her Caribbean roots by way of grits and okra.”