Award winning author, tv host and executive producer, Padma Lakshmi is taking Hulu viewers on a culinary journey across the country and makes a stop right here in Charleston. In her new Hulu original, Taste the Nation, Lakshmi seeks to redefine the term “American cuisine” by showing us how immigrant cultures have shaped the food we eat. From indigenous communities to recent immigrant arrivals, the show follows Lakshmi as she breaks bread with Americans across the nation to uncover the roots and relationship between our food, our humanity and our history. She explores everything from Mexican to Native American, hot dogs to kebabs and how it’s all shaped American food as we know it.
Here in Charleston, Lakshmi spends time with Gullah Geechee chefs and people who are fighting to preserve the traditions passed down from their ancestors, West Africans forced into slavery. She spends time at Middleton Place making red rice with James Beard Award Winning writer, Michael Twitty, who preserves the stories of his ancestors through food. She catches crabs with father and son team Keith Smiley and Jerrel Brown and learns about the challenges facing fishermen in a changing climate. Gullah chef, BJ Dennis shows Lakshmi how to make a proper Lowcountry crab boil and the she spends time with Gullah Geechee power couple, Bill and Sará Reynolds Green. Sará teaches her how to farm organic Geechee produce and Bill invites Lakshmi for a cooking class with Gullah children, where they are taught the art of gumbo and learn to reclaim their heritage. The full series is now available on Hulu. In honor of Juneteenth, the episode shot in Charleston, The Gullah Way, is also available for everyone to watch here on YouTube for free.
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In honor of Juneteenth @hulu is releasing the ‘Taste the Nation’ episode on Gullah Geechee history & cuisine directly to @youtube so that everyone can learn about it whether they have a subscription or not. (link in bio!) Enslaved Africans came here with a whole wealth of agricultural knowledge and food traditions that date back hundreds of years before they ever set foot on our shores. I am a product of the US public school system and we should have learned all of this in school but we never did. It’s so important to recognize that many hands made this country what is it, often with little or no credit. I want to thank @thecookinggene, @chefbjdennis, Bill and Sará Green, Keith Smiley, Mona Lisa Smiley, Jerrel Brown, @heyjessicaberry, Akua Page and Chris Cato (@geecheeexperience). As well as @nyuniversity professors Steven Hahn and Michele Mitchell for all of their guidance. #GullahGeechee #Juneteenth #SouthernFood #TasteTheNation
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My show ‘Taste the Nation’ premieres tomorrow on @hulu. It’s about the undeniable spirit, adaptability and resilience of the immigrants who shaped this country and what we now know as “American” food. We get to hear their stories directly, contextualized against the backdrop of our current immigration policies. I hope it makes us question our place in the world and the idea of “Who gets to call themselves American?” I’m excited to hear your thoughts! #tastethenation
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