It takes more than good intentions to transform the South. It takes money.
What the hell is a Scalawag?
"I'd like to think I don't need to explain why this issue—amplifying the work of writers, illustrators, photographers, and editors of color—needs to exist."—Cynthia Greenlee
Scalawag is pleased to sell copies of the Summer 2020 issue of Gravy, a quarterly journal published by the Southern Foodways Alliance. This is a special partnership for a special issue. Writers and visual artists of color make up the majority of contributors in this issue curated by former SFA deputy editor, current Scalawag contributing editor, and James Beard award winner, Dr. Cynthia Greenlee.
This print issue shouldn't be unprecedented, but it is. A new media reckoning seems to come every day because food media—and the larger publishing industry—resist more than token representation of people of color on their staffs and silently embrace the monochromatically white leadership that's been at the top of mastheads since kingdom come.
Why is Scalawag handling sales of a publication that's not our own you ask? On one level, Scalawag is selling Gravy because we support nonprofit media and because the Southern Foodways Alliance lacked the infrastructure to distribute it. But more than that, we support transformative and nonbinary visions of the South, reflections of not just what was or how things are—but what it can be.
We can see that in this issue, where the cover shows how literally what the face of food writing can and should be. And the content—by award-winning and talented editors, writers, illustrators, photographers of color such as Kinitra Brooks, Brandon Donnell, Daniel Fishel, Oriana Koren, Andrea Morales, Anthony Ocampo, Naben Ruthnum, Imani Perry, Tina Vasquez, and others—underscores a commitment to changing the whiteness of food media, one issue, one article, one photograph, one sketch at a time.
Black and Brown creatives are always creating new worlds. Purchase a hard copy of a journal unlike any published by the "mainstream."
Contributors featured in this issue, and why they matter
—in Cynthia's words:
‣ An excerpt from Aimee Nezhukumatathil's upcoming illustrated essay collection, "World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments."
It's an amuse-bouche of an essay, so wonderfully self-contained… [A] counter to those commodity histories that were the rage back in the day. Where you'd have a book simply called "Banana" or "Salt."
‣ Illustrations by Daniel Fishel.
My favorite may be the woman in the gravy boat that accompanies "When My Wife Gets to Tell You About White Sauce." I love how he plays with size, humor, and relationships in a single image.
‣ An essay from Anthony C. Ocampo exploring the Filipino restaurant in Savannah and his own second-generation identity in his visits.
This hybrid essay shows how wrong that can be and how you can integrate history into your own narrative. And you're always in your stories, even if we front like the author is some invisible hand.
‣ A meditation on Savannah's dessert culture and un-sweet history and present from Imani Perry.
[T]his line about Southerners and our heightened sense of sin: "But I also think of it as one of the numerous contradictions that we carry: preaching doing right while all the while doing wrong, the habits of a people convinced of a forgiving yet judging God."