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Podcast Gravy
Podcast Gravy



Episodi disponibili

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  • A Tale of Two Laredos
    In “A Tale of Two Laredos,” Gravy producer Evan Stern visits Laredo, Texas, which shares history, culture, and memory with its sister city across the border, Nuevo Laredo. For decades, Mexican border towns were renowned for refined, white tablecloth restaurants where jacketed waiters served a café society that transcended international boundaries. Among the most celebrated was Nuevo Laredo’s Cadillac Bar, which opened in 1926 and grew famous for delicacies such as frog legs and Ramos Gin Fizzes until it was forced to close in 2010.  Chosen for its location on the river we now call the Rio Grande, Don Tomas Sanchez established Laredo as a ferry crossing in 1755. After the Mexican-American war of the mid-19th century, the land was ceded to the U.S. Some long-time residents moved across the river into Mexican territory and founded Nuevo Laredo, while others remained in what became Texas. Laredo has evolved into a bustling and fast growing center of trade that’s now the largest inland port in the United States. Yet the border has hardened in ways that have vastly altered these neighboring cities’ social dynamics. On the American side, 9/11 spurred a wave of counterterrorism and immigration policies that have slowed the process of entry. In Mexico, the 2003 arrest of cartel leader Osiel Cardenas Guillen spurred a protracted turf war amongst rival factions for control of Nuevo Laredo’s prized point of entry. March of 2022 saw gunmen fire shots at the American consulate, whose workers are forced to adhere to curfews and movement restrictions. The US State Department advises against travel there altogether. For Laredoans, movement across the border into Nuevo Laredo—once a part of daily life—has all but ceased. In Laredo, Stern searches for traces of the Cadillac Bar’s influence on the American side. He hears memories from native residents including Elsa Rodriguez, who shares firsthand how the border’s hardening has altered the region’s cultural fabric. He also visits with Margarita Araiza, chair of the Webb County Heritage Foundation, who discusses how Laredo and Nuevo Laredo were founded as one city in the 1700s and remain inextricably linked. Newspaper veteran and longtime journalism professor Wanda Garner Cash tells of her grandfather, Mayo Bessan, who, sensing business opportunity, fled Prohibition Era-New Orleans to open the Cadillac Bar with gambling winnings.  Stern also gets a taste of Laredo’s current dining scene through a visit to the Border Foundry, whose owner Pete Mims once hosted a dinner that featured a tasting menu entirely comprised of recipes from the Cadillac. Also on hand to mix an award-winning cocktail is Cesar “Cheese” Martinez, manager of the new Bar Nido, who was named Best Bartender by readers of the Laredo Morning Times.   
  • A Texas Cabrito Communion
    In “A Texas Cabrito Communion,” Gravy producer Evan Stern invites us to ride along as he joins the Avila and Aguirre families for a celebratory reunion and cabrito cookout at their YY Ranch, which sits below the Nueces River in Texas. The river once served as the boundary between Texas and the Mexican states of Coahuila and Tamaulipas, and some advocate for viewing this region and Northern Mexico as a singular landscape, united by shared terroir and culture. As a beloved delicacy enjoyed on both sides of the Rio Grande, cabrito—a roasted baby goat nourished strictly on a diet of mother’s milk—brings this philosophy to life. As Mundo and Luz Aguirre, a couple who have driven in from Monterrey, prepare the feast, Stern explores how this dish that’s now a staple of Easter celebrations was brought to the New World by Spanish Sephardic Jewish shepherds. Faced with the Inquisition’s policies of forced Catholic conversion, they turned to goat as a staple to maintain kosher practice in secret. Eventually, in the sixteenth century, many of these secret adherents began making their way to Mexico. Stern considers issues surrounding cabrito’s ties to colonial history and ethics through a conversation with noted chef and historian Adan Medrano, who grew up traveling between San Antonio and his father’s birthplace of Nava, Coahuila.  Stern also meets Olmito-based educators and musicians Rosa Canales and Joe Perez, who share early memories of cabrito, which was viewed as “prize” in their Texas hometowns of Premont and Hebbronville. Rosa shares her love of machito, which some call Texas haggis, made from goat innards, while Houston-based chef Sylvia Casares discusses her choice to serve cabrito enchiladas at Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen in Houston. She also shares some of the barriers that restaurant owners face in featuring cabrito on menus.  Concluding with a round of beers by a crackling fire, the voices of Refugio “Cuquin” Aguirre and Peter and Joe Avila reveal how cross-border connections reveal themselves not only in the cooking and sharing of cabrito, but in their family gatherings.
  • Blessed Egg Rolls and the Evolution of Rockport, Texas
    In “Blessed Egg Rolls and the Evolution of Rockport, Texas,” Gravy producer Evan Stern takes listeners to the small town of Rockport, Texas, which hugs the shores of Aransas Bay on the state’s Gulf Coast, about 35 miles northeast of Corpus Christi. There, he visits Saint Peter’s Catholic Church, founded by Vietnamese arrivals in the early 1980s, and whose congregants host a monthly fundraiser selling such dishes as bun, egg rolls, and shrimp.  Following the collapse of Saigon, in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians fled the Indochinese Peninsula to seek refuge in the United States. While a great many of these people famously resettled and established enclaves in cities like Houston and New Orleans, seeking work in fishing and shrimping, others moved to and impacted smaller, less diverse communities on the Gulf Coast. For Gravy, Stern explores the challenges of resettlement and this community’s evolution. We hear from congregants including Trang Kelsey, who found comfort in Rockport’s oysters and fish that reminded her of her home island, Phu Quoc. Lyly Nguyen shares how the popularity of her family’s cooking among Rockport High’s football team—pho, lo mein, egg rolls—inspired them to open the successful restaurant, Hu Dat, which now claims three locations in Texas.  Stern also examines the racial tensions following this mass migration. Noted environmentalist and fourth-generation fisherwoman Diane Wilson, who lives and works up the coast in the town of Seadrift, remembers how misunderstandings between residents and newcomers over misplaced crab lines and unspoken rules gave rise to conflict. Lyly Nguyen recalls harassment and violence following a 1979 territorial dispute that kept her home from school for a week.  Finally, Stern speaks to Julie La Pam, a shrimper in Aransas Bay; seafood market owner Flower Bui; Saint Peter’s choir director Tam Nguyen; and Father Tung Tran. All proudly call Rockport home and remind us that churches—and communities, and towns, and cities, and nations—are made of people before brick and mortar.  
  • A Taste of Sicily on Galveston Bay
    In “A Taste of Sicily on Galveston Bay,” Gravy producer Evan Stern takes listeners to Galveston, Texas. Once perhaps the greatest town of significance between New Orleans and San Francisco, today its population doesn’t even crack the top fifty of Texas cities. But while Austin is often referred to as a small town with growing pains, some say Galveston is really a big city disguised as a small town. Much of this is owed to its immigrant history, as its port provided a point of entry for over 750,000 newcomers from its opening in the 1830s, until the early 1920s.  Settled by a French pirate and officially incorporated in 1839, Galveston essentially sits on a sandbar that straddles its namesake bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The cotton trade gave rise to a prosperous, cosmopolitan center that enjoyed a trade monopoly as a gateway to Texas before the dredging of Houston’s safer, more accessible inland channel. Galveston briefly rivaled San Francisco as a destination for Gilded Age tycoons. And as a growing city in need of masons, maids, and tradesmen, it proved a desirable terminus for immigrants: Germans, Russian Jews, Poles, Czechs, Italians and Sicilians.  While thousands of these new arrivals continued to destinations further inland, many chose to plant roots in Galveston. Among the numerous groups who established new homes here was a sizable population of Italians and Sicilians, who eventually established a foothold on the island working as small grocers. In this episode of Gravy, Stern searches for evidence of this history through visits with the owners of such island institutions as Sonny’s Place and Maceo Spice, whose connections to the old country remain evidenced through their menus. He also chats with Al Tropea, who grew up helping his parents make sausage at Tropea’s Grocery, and author Ellen Beasley, who documented stores like theirs in the 1970s. The result is a rich tapestry of stories and voices, representative of a flavorful side of this most unique city on the Gulf Coast.
  • Noodling with the Texas Wends
    In “Noodling with the Texas Wends,” Gravy producer Evan Stern takes us to the small, Central Texas town of Serbin, which was last included in the Census more than 20 years ago, when the population was only 37. But its sign still proudly announces itself as the “Home of the Texas Wends”—and the locals take their noodles seriously.  An ethnic minority, primarily concentrated in the region of Lusatia—which sits just between Germany and Poland—for generations the Wends wrestled with wars, poverty, and discrimination. Those troubles only escalated after they embraced confessional Lutheranism. By the 1840s, after King Wilhelm III merged non-Catholic faiths into a single, state-regulated body, many began looking abroad. One group of 35 decamped to Texas, and a decade later, around 600 followed. From Galveston, settlers made their way to present-day Lee County, where they named their new community Serbin.  Those early immigrants constituted the largest single Wendish migration to America, but Serbin’s population has since dwindled as residents scattered to nearby towns. On the last Sunday in September, however, the town comes alive when nearly 2,000 descendants, friends, and family convene for Wendish Fest, a celebration of all things Wendish: beer, coffee cake, and, of course, noodles.  Noodles are a staple of Wendish tables, from Sunday night dinners to weddings and other special occasions. In Serbin, families have been making them by hand for generations. Stern listens and looks on as the Wends he meets mix dough, roll noodles, and boil them in chicken broth to be enjoyed as a side dish with sausage and sauerkraut. And he learns that beyond sustaining the belly, these noodles have helped sustain an entire identity.  In this episode, Stern speaks to Serbin resident Jack Wiederhold, along with Becky Weise, Evelyn Bucchorn, and Mike Moss, who make and cook noodles for Wendish Fest. He also interviews the “Noodle Sisters”—including Mildred Perry, Judy Boriack, and Marian Wiederhold—who gather each week to make noodles in Serbin’s Wendish Heritage Museum. Finally, Richard Gruetzner, President of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society, tells of a group of women in the 1970s who worked to keep Wendish culture—and cooking—alive. Featured Music Jack Wiederhold on organThe Shiner Hobo Band Recorded live at Wendish Fest For more information, visit

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