Brutal South
Brutal South
24: Okra soup (w/ Amethyst Ganaway)

24: Okra soup (w/ Amethyst Ganaway)

"Okra soup, for me, is home."

My guest is Amethyst Ganaway, a chef and writer from North Charleston, South Carolina.

Amethyst has been working in the restaurant industry for about 12 years, and during the past year she got deep into researching the history of food from our part of the country. She has published a few great pieces on what she's learned.

The articles we'll be discussing are "Black Communities Have Always Used Food as Protest," from Food & Wine magazine; and a tribute to the late culinary giant Martha Lou Gadsden of Charleston, which ran on Today. The New York Times recently published Amethyst's recipe for Lowcountry Okra Soup, which I'll be trying out as soon as okra season hits.

One word you'll hear a few times in this episode is Gullah. If you aren't familiar, Gullah people are the descendants of formerly enslaved West African people who developed a unique language, culture, and cuisine on and around the sea islands of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. The longer I've lived in South Carolina, the more I've realized how central Gullah culture is to the way of life here. I'm glad I learned a few new things from Amethyst.

Amethyst and I have some friends in common, and we grew up in the same area and even went to the same college and had stories to share about a professor we both had in the religious studies department — but we hadn't actually met somehow. I admired her work from afar, so I'm glad she accepted the invitation to talk.

Follow Amethyst on Twitter at @ExcuseMyFly or on Instagram at @Thizzg. Her website is

This podcast is an offshoot of the Brutal South newsletter, which you can get for free every Wednesday at For $5 a month, you can get access to some exclusive newsletter issues and podcast episodes as well as some sweet Brutal South logo stickers while I've still got them. If you can subscribe, that's great, but if not, please just spread the word. I depend on word of mouth, so if you enjoy my work, please tell your friends.

The episode art is a picture of an okra cross-section by Prathyush Thomas, published under a GNU Free Documentation License.


Brutal South
Brutal South
On struggles, schooling, and raw concrete in the dirty dirty south. A companion podcast to the Brutal South newsletter.