If Lewis could go unnamed in a picture that foretold the promise of America in the postwar era, I figured that image might serve as a metaphor for the lesser role Americans have long ascribed to African-American contributions to the culinary arts. Telling that story might be a way for me to pay down the debts of pleasure, both culinary and other, that a privileged white son of the South like me has accrued over a lifetime.
Do you really intend to stand behind that Texas Monthly declaration, slathered all over their recent cover, that declares the fifty best barbecue joints in the world are all in Texas? You’re better than that, kind sir.
Climatic complements, cultural ties, and transportation link the American South and Africa. Fittingly, Atlanta is now a beacon for African refugees. Resettlement agencies place three to five thousand refugees here each year, I learned over two days of bounding through Atlanta, visiting four farm sites managed in whole or supported in part by Global Growers.
It’s a summer night, circa right now. I’m in the backseat, leaching liquor and perspiration onto the vinyl. Chris Shepherd, who spent the afternoon at a Vietnamese nail salon here in Houston, is digging his shellacked toes into the front passenger-side pile, while Bryan Caswell palms the steering wheel and blasts Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears through a removable-face Blaupunkt that would have gotten him laid in tenth grade.
We ate yellowfin tuna, dressed with a buttermilk sauce and tucked in a nest of cucumber noodles. And spring onion pesto-swaddled black grouper, served on a drift of creamy lemon grits. And banana pudding ice-cream cake, capped with toasted meringue.