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Inside Appalachia: It's All Gravy, Baby

Courtesy: Southern Foodways Alliance

Biscuits, gravy, pepperoni rolls, fried chicken, and... salt? This week on Inside Appalachia, we're investigating the history and stories of some of Appalachia's most famous foods with the help of Gravy, a podcast produced by the Southern Foodways Alliance

We'll hear about the revitalization of West Virginia's salt production industry, the complicated history of fried chicken, and the growing popularity of Appalachian food in major urban centers. 

The Hidden History of Kanawha Valley Salt

Nancy Bruns and Lewis Payne, owners of JQ Dickinson Salt

Did you know? A young Booker T. Washington cut his teeth in the salt mines in Malden, not far from where Nancy Bruns and Lewis Payne are working to revive their family's historic salt company, JQ Dickinson Salt. The siblings have re-designed the process that their ancestors used to create the product that was known worldwide for its distinct flavor and pink hue, all the while keeping in mind the slave labor that fueled their family's salt's original success. 

Chicken Wings
Credit Clark Davis / WV Public Broadcasting
WV Public Broadcasting


Our Not-So-Simple Relationship with Fried Chicken

Later, we'll take a look at the complicated relationship between race and fried chicken. While soul food has provided opportunities for economic mobility for some African Americans, many feel uncomfortable enjoying traditional food in public because of the harsh stereotypes associated with their consumption. 

Credit The Clarksburg Post
In 2013, West Virginia named the pepperoni roll its state food.

All this and more this week on Inside Appalachia. Music in today’s show was provided by Ben Townsend,  Larry GroceHell For Certain String BandBlue Dot Sessions, and David Shoulman and the Quiet Life Motel,  Ryan LittleDigital Primitives and Diagram Collective. Our Appetite Appalachia theme music is by the Carolina Sunshine Trio.

We’d love to hear from you. You can e-mail us at feedback@wvpublic.org. Find us on Twitter @InAppalachia or @JessicaYLilly.

Inside Appalachia is produced by Jessica Lilly and Roxy Todd. Our intern is Katelyn Campbell. Editing help was provided by Zander Aloi. 

Subscribe to our Inside Appalachia podcast here or on iTunes here, or on Stitcher here.

Stay Connected
Southern W.Va. Bureau Chief, Reporter/Producer, jlilly@wvpublic.org, 304-384-5981, @JessicaYLilly
Former Reporter/Producer for Inside Appalachia, @RoxyMTodd