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BATCH, A Bitter Southerner Podcast

The Bitter Southerner

The Bitter Southerner wants to read you a story! (Make that batches of stories.) Yes, we’re launching a brand new podcast called BATCH, and in our first BATCH series we're sharing some of our most popular food stories. We Southerners love our food and we take our regional recipes seriously. In the coming episodes, we’re going talk about red beans, peaches, memories of the pound cake we had growing up and stories of people doing good and changing lives through food. We will laugh. We might cry. We’ll definitely have a good time. Join us here - for BATCH.

2023 Bitter Southerner

The Bitter Southerner wants to read you a story! (Make that batches of stories.) Yes, we’re launching a brand new podcast called BATCH, and in our first BATCH series we're sharing some of our most popular food stories. We Southerners love our food and we take our regional recipes seriously. In the coming episodes, we’re going talk about red beans, peaches, memories of the pound cake we had growing up and stories of people doing good and changing lives through food. We will laugh. We might cry. We’ll definitely have a good time. Join us here - for BATCH.

2023 Bitter Southerner
11hr 16min
Thumbnail for "Ep 013 - Farhan Mustafa : Immigrant Spaghetti".
In Episode 13, our host Kyle Tibbs Jones chats with talented and hilarious writer Farhan Mustafa, author of The Bitter Southerner story, "Immigrant Spaghetti." For Farhan, spaghetti swaddled in a meaty tomato sauce electrified with spices like coriander, cumin, and turmeric was a regular recipe both at the family table and at mosque potlucks. Recently Mustafa, the child of North Indian immigrants, realized how special spaghetti has been to him and to so many others looking for a taste of home here in the South. In this episode he talks about reporting this story, Italian nights growing up in North Carolina, jacked up jars of Ragu, and his very southern take on a Charles Dickens classic. There's also a recipe in the show notes. Episode 13 is fun. Enjoy!
Thumbnail for "Ep 016 - Taylor Brown : Ode to Blackwater Rivers".
Sturgeon that weigh half a ton. The legendary Altamaha-ha river monster. Hogzilla. Mystery awaits as Taylor Brown takes us upriver to the Blackwater.
Thumbnail for "Ep 015 - Mickie Meinhardt : My Old Friend Natty Light".
To shore-living Marylanders (who do indeed qualify as Southerners), the humble, blue-collar, all-American staple is more than just cheap beer
Thumbnail for "Ep 014 - Jennifer Justus : Country Cooking: Minnie's Corn Pudding and Tammy's Better Than Sex Cake".
These days, downtown Nashville is littered with bars named after stars, and most of those names belong to men. Jason Aldean’s Kitchen. Even (bless his heart) Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk Rock ’n’ Roll Steakhouse. But it’s the women of country music who ought to be on those neon signs. Jennifer Justus explores the history.
Thumbnail for "Ep 012 - Alana Dao : Southern Hustle: Houston Hip-Hop & Chinese Chicken ".
Timmy Chan’s fried chicken is legendary in the Houston hip-hop world. Alana Dao delves into the restaurant chain that her grandparents started in the 1950s + the emergence of chop suey and chopped and screwed
Thumbnail for "Ep 011 - Caroline Hatchett : The Elusive Roots of Rosin Potatoes".
The rosin potato - a baked potato cooked in a vat of boiling pine rosin - is a culinary oddity with mysterious roots. Caroline Hatchett joins us to talk about her unexpectedly long quest to find the truth
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BATCH is back! We're bringing you conversations and excerpts from our new book Food Stories: writing that stirs the pot - we can't wait to share it with you! You're gonna love it
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August 29th, 2022, marked the 17th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s devastating landfall on the gulf shore. Why did the people of New Orleans come back and rebuild their city? In 2015, we asked Lolis Eric Elie to help us find the answer. Today, he reads his piece The Whys.
Thumbnail for "Ep 009 - Jessica Bradley Wells : Where the Tupelo Grows".
Did you know that tupelo honey actually comes from the Panhandle of Florida? That's right, it's not from Elvis' hometown!
Thumbnail for "Ep 008 - Boyce Upholt : Down To The Tide Line".
Who loves the beach? Time to head for our ever changing Southern coastline.
Thumbnail for "Ep 007 - Jim Barger : The Untold Story of Hibiscus Grandiflorus".
In this episode we follow writer Jim Barger deep into the forest of a barrier island in search of prehistoric flowers once thought lost.
Thumbnail for "Ep 006 - Janisse Ray : Okefenokee, Heavy & Precious".
Acclaimed author, Janisse Ray, on one of the great wonders of this world - The Okefenokee Swamp. In this story we travel deep into the swamp, we meet the people working to fight off a mining company whose plan will have devastating effects. Janisse is a devoted environmentalist and a mesmerizing storyteller. This episode is so good.
Thumbnail for "BATCH No. 2 is here!".
In our new BATCH of episodes - "Earth Stories" - we've recorded some of our favorite contributors reading their stories about special and fragile places across the South. Listen to these wonderful writers read their powerful words and then talk with our host, Kyle Tibbs Jones.
Thumbnail for "Ep 005 - Sheri Castle: The Seven Essential Southern Dishes".
Sheri Castle talks us through her world famous, highly controversial, list of the Seven Essential Southern Dishes
Thumbnail for "Ep 004 - Shane Mitchell : The Queen of Delicacies".
Shane Mitchell reads her piece "The Queen of Delicacies" about an iconic southern fruit: the peach!
Thumbnail for "Ep 003 - Beans and Rice & Lemon Meringue Pie".
In the third episode of BATCH, we're actually sharing two stories: a tale of love and a tale of… well, also love, but with some hate mixed in too. Nikesha Elise Williams reads “Beans and Rice: More than a Poor Man’s Meal” and Kathleen Purvis reads “Lemon Meringue Pie: A Lesson In Love, Hate and Bravery”
Thumbnail for "Ep 002 - Kate Medley : Meat and Three & 10 Dollars Worth of Regular".
Some people marvel at gas station food. Trust us, it's a beautiful thing.
Thumbnail for "Ep 001 - Jennifer Kornegay : The Difference Between Happiness And Joy".
A restaurant in Brewton, Alabama does its part to fight hunger by giving up on the idea of being a business at all. Meet Lisa McMillan, a woman serving up love in the form of fried chicken, mac and cheese and cornbread. Her story is a good one.
Thumbnail for "An Intro to Season 1/ Episode 1 of BATCH: A Bitter Southerner Podcast ".
Coming soon - a new Bitter Southerner Podcast!

Ep 013 - Farhan Mustafa : Immigrant Spaghetti

Thumbnail for "Ep 013 - Farhan Mustafa : Immigrant Spaghetti".
August 1, 202346min 9sec

Show Notes

You can read the full story at the Bitter Southerner’s website. Here’s a link: https://bittersoutherner.com/feature/2023/immigrant-spaghetti

It can also be found in our new book Food Stories: writing that stirs the pot, available here: https://bsgeneralstore.com/products/food-stories

Credits

Hosted by Kyle Tibbs Jones

Produced by Ryan Engelberger

Engineered by

The theme music for Batch was made by Curt Castle.

This episode of Batch (in fact this whole batch of food stories) was made possible by the support of E Pluribus Unum. Learn more at https://www.unumfund.org/

Plus, as promised:

Farhan’s Immigrant Spaghetti

The following amounts and ingredients are suggestions, not real rules. Like speed limits on a Southern highway.

  • 1.5 lbs grass-fed ground beef, ground chicken or ground turkey

  • 2 Tbsp oil

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1/4 stick cinnamon

  • 1/2 C diced onion

  • 1/2 C diced celery

  • 3/4 C diced carrots

  • 1 C diced red or green bell pepper (or both)

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1.5 Tbsp coriander powder

  • 2 tsp cumin powder

  • 2 tsp fennel powder

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika

  • 1/4 tsp turmeric

  • 1.5 C marinara sauce

  • 1 C canned, crushed tomatoes

  • 1 tsp dried mint

  • 2-ish C water

  • 1 box spaghetti (If you’re cooking the sauce and pasta separately, then feel free to splurge on the fancy pastas that create a very starchy pasta water. That fancy pasta starch can work against you if you cook it all together though. Cheaper pasta is better for cooking in sauce)

  • Chopped fresh cilantro, parsley, maybe a little mint for garnish

A few notes:

  • Chop the onions, peppers and tomatoes to achieve your desired level of chunking in your sauce. Just remember if you didn’t like chunky Prego sauce growing up, you probably won’t like it now

  • I cook the sauce like we would a curry in India - which means you’re frying, not sweating, the onions + carrots + celery + bell peppers. If it burns a little, just add a splash of water to cool down the temp. It’s all about cooking over medium-high heat until the oil oozes out the sides.

  1. Brown the meat but don’t cook it all the way through. If you’re using beef, drain most of the fat except for a teaspoon or two (i do that for flavor). Remove to a plate/bowl.

  2. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until the oil is hot. Add the bay leaf and cinnamon stick to the oil until you hear it sizzle for about 30 seconds.

  3. Dump in the onions, carrots, celery and bell peppers. Cook until the onion starts browning on the edges - about 10 minutes.. Ideally, it’ll even burn a little. Stir frequently to avoid sticking and add splashes of water if it sticks.

  4. Add the garlic, stir and cook until you smell it.

  5. Then add all the spices at once and stir it up. Keep the heat at medium-high and cook for about 3-4 minutes until you see the oil gather at the edges of your very brown-ish colored vegetable mess.

  6. Add the tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes. Keep that heat up - you’re basically “frying” the sauce. Stir often. Cook for a few minutes until you see the oil gather at the edges.

  7. Add in the mint and browned meat, turn the heat down to medium-low and let it simmer for at least 15 minutes (The longer it simmers, the better).

  8. Break up the pasta to fit into the pot, push the pasta down and mix it into the sauce as much as you can. Add 2-ish cups of water so it covers the noodles by a quarter inch. Bring it a boil, then cover and turn down to a hard simmer. Stir every few minutes to make sure the pasta doesn’t stick together.Add water as needed. It should be done after 10-12 minutes, depending on the pasta you use. When it’s al dente, take it off the heat and let it rest, and stir it around.

  9. Dump chopped herbs on top and serve!