Vivian is tapped to give a lecture on the wide world of pickles at the first ever Chow Chow Festival in Asheville, N.C. Her turn as a pickle professor sparks a deeper look at the funk and acidity that fermented or vinegar pickles bring to most meals and how those pickles make a belly-filling bowl of rice or grains so much more delicious.
While in Asheville, Vivian tastes an array of Indian pickles — some preserved the subcontinent’s traditional way in oil with spices— with the chefs behind the Brown in the South dinner series. The Brown in the South dinners are a collaboration among chefs of Indian and Southeast Asian descent who call the American South home and dishes inspired by both places. The dinners are meant to spark discussion among the chefs and the diners about Southern identity and how long one must live in the South before you can claim it as your home.
Vivian then ventures to Lexington, Kentucky for a pop-up dinner that puts Sri Lankan pickles front and center. She gets a lesson on how to make Puerto Rican escabeche and sees how chow chow is made in the hollers of eastern Kentucky.
- American as Hand Pie As Vivian tries to mass produce hand pies, she learns the historical ties between this convenience food, labor and migration.
- Porridge for the Soul At a dinner honoring Edna Lewis, Vivian gives porridge the royal treatment and honors African American contributions to Southern food.
- Dumpling Dilemma Vivian quickly learns that while dumplings are hard to define, they stretch our ingredients and our imagination.
- What a Pickle Vivian ponders how so many meals are brightened by pickles, including achaar, kimchi and escabeche.
- It’s a Greens Thing Vivian travels from North Carolina to Georgia to learn the roots of Southern hospitality and the goodness greens provide.
- How Do You ‘Cue? Vivian knows North Carolina whole hog barbecue but trips to Florida and Texas expands her idea of what barbecue is and how it’s done.