Food Network Obsessed

Caroline Randall Williams on Appreciation, Appropriation & Hungry for Answers

Episode Summary

Writer, educator and Harvard graduate Caroline Randall Williams reveals the staggering number of cookbooks she owns and how her personal experiences and history as a Black woman shaped her vision for her show, Hungry for Answers.

Episode Notes

Writer, educator and Harvard graduate Caroline Randall Williams reveals the staggering number of cookbooks she owns and how her personal experiences and history as a Black woman shaped her vision for her show, Hungry for Answers. Caroline talks about how the women in her life shaped her culinary perspective and what it means to be a steward of Black food and culture. She details the stories she uncovered over the course of filming, including the Black family that created the famed Nashville Hot Chicken and the reality of appreciation versus appropriation. Caroline shares the systemic lack of credit and ownership given to Black creators and what it means to course correct using the story of Nearest Green, the Black man who taught Jack Daniel’s how to distill whiskey, as an example. She explores the history of sugarcane and its relationship to convict leasing and the shocking inequities that Black farmers face. Caroline talks about the delicious food she got to experience on the show and her advice for someone who has a story they need to share. 

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Episode Transcription


Cue Food Network Obsessed Theme song. Our host, Jaymee speaks behind the music bed of an upbeat piano


Jaymee Sire: Hello. Hello and welcome to Food Network Obsessed. This is the podcast where we dish on all things Food Network, with your favorite Food network stars. I'm your host, Jamie sire. And, today we have a talented writer and educator on the podcast to talk about her collection of 5,000 cookbooks and her new show that explores the question who gets to cook black food.

 She is a scholar award-winning writer, restaurant tour, cookbook, author, and the host of the new discovery plus series hungry for answers. It's Caroline Randall Williams.


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Jaymee: Caroline. Welcome to the podcast. Uh, first things first. Is it true? You have 5,000 cookbooks

Caroline Randall Williams: Girl. It is true. It is very true. Give or take, but I think probably take like, there's probably it's 5,000 plus I think last,

Jaymee: Where does this cookbook passion or obsession come from?

Caroline: Well, my grandmother, my dad's mother Joan, uh, left me her cookbook collection ah, when she passed away. So, I sort of, and she was a librarian and her father was actually a Harlem Renaissance poet. So, I'm a poet, I'm a cookbook author. So, it's all like family practices, you know, but like I

Jaymee: Love it.

Caroline:  but yeah. And then my godmother, Mimi gave me her cookbook collection, which added another 3000 plus ish, so,

Jaymee: Oh, wow.

Caroline: Yeah, they're in two different rooms of my, of my, of the downstairs of my house. And they're like, it's a library of a house basically. 

Jaymee: do you have like a catalog? Like, so you know where to find everything quickly? Or is it alphabetical or how, how does this all organize?

Caroline: I have this like fantasy that like, I'm going to get some interns from like the library sciences, graduate school somewhere here in Nashville to like come and do what it's like a research project, like organize my books for me, but no, not yet, but like I do want to catalog them. I need to, right now it's sort of just like a, a madness, a methodical madness of like, I know where I put that the last time I used it kind of thing 

Jaymee: Yeah. uh, well, I love it. And I think it's a, a great introduction to who you are and your new discovery plus series hungry for answers, where you travel the country, uncovering the fascinating, essential often untold black stories behind some of America's classic and emblematic food and spirits. You are uncovering the origin stories of these quintessential American offerings, as well as surfacing the truth when it comes to the equity or in most cases, the inequity regarding the recognition and reward and lack thereof for the true founding contributors throughout history. And I know you met the executive producer of this show, Viola Davis on the set of the help in 2010 and later pitched her the idea for this show. So how long has this show been on your heart and mind

Caroline: In the abstract way? Probably my whole life, because I grew up in the kitchens of, you know, black women who love me and fed me and taught me stories through food, through life, in kitchens, around kitchens, all of that. And then, you know, in the immediate more immediate present, like in my adult life, like I moved to Mississippi Delta, uh, I met Viola because I was doing teach for America and I lived in Greenwood, Mississippi, where they were filming the help. And then the cookbook sort of began as just like a crisis of my life of, you know, straight out of college and living in a food desert, despite it being like this, like agricultural, you know, promised land, rural Mississippi, and having to cook for myself and be like, well, who am I drawing from? What are my memories? Like, how do I eat healthily, but also eat something that feels like it tastes good, has soul like honors the ancestors, all that stuff.

Caroline: And then the cookbook was coming out and I remembered meeting Viola. And I reached out to her to ask her to blurb the book, which she did. And then when juvie was starting up, they contacted me having remembered the cookbook and all these things. So, it's been this crazy legacy of just trying to do right by black bodies and black stories from every direction sort of my whole life. But then that going to the Delta was to teach. Right. And then the teaching led to cooking led to writing about it. You know, it's super, it's been an interesting journey.

Jaymee: Yeah. I mean, cooking and food are so evidently, you know, woven into your identity. What are some of your first food memories?

Caroline: Oh my gosh. So, my first sentence ever, I'm going to get teased for this for saying this in the public, but my first sentence I ever said was mommy artichoke, please. And now lovely. I, which I don't remember, but it is in the baby book, like in real time. So, we know that that's true. But I think like first food memories, you know, just helping being put to work at Thanksgiving, like whether it be like peeling things or pulling bread apart to make, uh, bread crumbs for, you know, the creamed onions or whatever else, or pulling the strings off of corn or snapping the ends off of green beans, just like trying to be helpful in the kitchen growing up. Those are my, those are like my first like salient memories. I'm trying to think of like my first I cooked this myself, like triumph.

Caroline: It's a lot of like really frightening experiments or what come to mind when I think about that, like, like the time I put orange dipped oranges in my cup of milk or things like that when I was little. But, um, but yeah, I'm trying to think, and I had an easy bake up and I remember that too. because cooking is alchemy, right? Like when you're a kid and you're like put these three things together and then suddenly there're this whole other thing it's sort of this deep magic to it that I still am obsessed with.

Jaymee: Your mother and grandmother are also part of the show and, you know, an important part of the conversations that you start to have on this show. How did their relationship and approach to food nourishment, mealtime shape your own perspective?

Caroline: So, in the show you have my mom and then you have my, uh, my stepdad's mom, fluff flow, who's been in my life for basically if I can remember. You know, it's interesting, mom and flow are both really celebration cooks and that's something that's always been, uh, that's like sort of central to some of the things that I think about like in my cookbook, but then also in just like my sense of what, like black food is in America today, relative to what it's been. And when I say celebration cooks, I mean, like, they'll like really to do it out for the holidays. And like, you know, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, like new, year's like all the big ones in our family, in our community, but like not in the day to they're not actually like day to day home cooks

Caroline: And so, I really what's interesting is like I came into like home cooking and the day to day on my own. Um, and part of that is to do with the shared history of like, there is like trauma for black women in the kitchen, you know, like there's, you know, there's like a whole there's generations and like whole pockets of the black women, female community who are like, I don't want to go in the kitchen cause that's like the only job we were allowed to have. And it was the only way we could feed our families. it's a place of like oppression, a reminder of gross, broader inequities, you know, like in my own family, like my great-grandmother was conceived in a rape in a kitchen when her mother was working in that kitchen of a white family. Right. And things like that.


So, and that's when she's not the only member of my family for whom we know that story to be true. So, kitchens can be these complicated places. And like, so my mom and my GRA and, and my grandma flow, like they're very much like, well, we're going to do this like big festive thing occasionally, and we're really going to do it all out. We're going to invite the whole family over, like everyone to the cookout, like do the thing, set the table, make it this big celebration, but their approach informed my approach. But then I think like some of the absence of the cooking and the day to day sort of sent me down the rabbit hole of like, but what were we doing? Like how do we feed ourselves? What's nourishing in the day to day? Like, what do black people, like, what are we supposed to be putting in our bodies? Like what, what are the day to day kitchen stories that we need to be telling, like I got there in this sort of roundabout way from not having been raised there.

Jaymee: I mean, what do you think it means to be a custodian and a steward of black food and culture?

Caroline: The first thing to say is I can't speak for us all. I can only speak for myself by the same token. Like we know what we mean when we say the culture or we know when I think about like community solidarity, when I think about linking arms to combat like shared, noted injustices, I think about to that end, I can say like being a custodian of black food and culture means being someone who's like pointing out that our stories need to get told and leaving room for them. Right. Like, I don't know that I have, like I said, I'm hungry for answers, but what I have is lots of questions, right? Like, yeah. All, all I have is I want to ask as many people what their story is and like be somebody who can be a platform for as many stories as possible to come into this space, I guess.

Caroline: And that's like, and that's precious work. And I feel very lucky. I mean, and I obviously do have the lens of my own experience and I'm very grateful to get, to honor like my family and my, you know, and like my ancestors and like my heroes, uh, as I weighed into the conversation for sure. But I think it's really, for me, the being a custodian, it's like being a good librarian. You just got to take care of all of the stories in, in the library, right? Like you just have to make sure that they're all getting told curated looked after taken out and perused, you know.


Jaymee: When we come back more from Caroline on her new discovery plus show hungry for answers.

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Jaymee: I mean, and there are so many stories, um, and still so many that have yet to be uncovered. But you know, I think the show really does a good job of, you know, kind of honing in on some of these, um, you know, important topics it's beautifully shot, beautifully edited. I think the storytelling is wonderful. So, you definitely did a good job of, you know, diving into these people's stories that we see in the show. And one of the episodes is set in your hometown in Nashville, also known as the birthplace of hot chicken. And you kind of set out to dive into the origins of this food, as well as have some, you know, complex, some, some difficult discussions about who should be allowed to benefit from it. Can you share a little bit about what you discovered in that episode?

Caroline: I tried to say it in the, in the episode, which I'm so excited. I hope your listeners will be able to check out the question about hot chicken is really a question about, with so many things in like American culture that came from black culture about the question of appropriation versus appreciation. If you think about blues music, you think like make Jagger, learn how to do what he did for like muddy waters and like how and what, and he amplified and elevated at every term when he was able, you know, at the start of their careers with the rolling stones career. And I feel like that's like an appreciator vibe, right? whereas you can kind of insert artist who is an appropriate Elvis is the most iconic one, right? Like I'm just going to like to take this sound, take these moves, take this look.

Caroline: And me and my white body and voice are going to be able to cross in the mainstream and make money that a black person doing the same thing could never dream of. Right. And so, I think with hot chicken, it's that same story, right? Like Nashville has these like massive white male owned, hot chicken, like empires that are brewing here. Um, and they're everywhere and hot. Jacob was started, uh, you know, by Thornton prince, the, the, the Barb, Prince's barbecue shack that became Prince's hot chicken, Andre prince Jeffries, coined that name and figuring out, you know, in the history of the tradition of revenge chicken in like the black community, it was like way predates even Nashville, hot chicken. And you're thinking about like, how did this very like sort of iconic niche, black delicious delicacy than in the hands of these white men, like boom, into this other thing, the answer can't be, nobody's let, to touch anything that didn't come from their culture.

Caroline: Right, right. Right. And I think that the answer has to be, what does it look like to honor, like the origins of a thing that you are now co like now contributing to the legacy of. Right. And I learned that the conversations are as hard as they look, I learned that people need a chance to be asked to come to the table in both directions. You know, like I was surprised and I asked both of the guys that own the two different, the two different restaurants that I interviewed, Hadie bees and party fellow, neither of them had ever sat down really with Ms. Andre. And, but there's, there'd never been really an opportunity created for them to do that. I'm hoping like season two, we need a, yes, we need a season two. We need follow need do that.

Caroline: Because I think, um, there was an openness to it. And you realize like, if somebody doesn't like, if I'm not asking, nobody's asking, like we have to ask these questions cause we have to facilitate bridges to each other. And I think that there's, um, and it seems like it would be obvious that there'd be a bridge, but it turns out that what's obvious is that bridges are really hard to build. And you have to like, if you see where a bridge needs to be, you need to ask about who's building it and then like take the job on yourself. Maybe.

Jaymee: Yeah. I mean, it's so interesting because actually the last time I was in Nashville, I want, I was like, I'm going to princess. I want to go to the like original, the birthplace of hot chicken I made, you know, just like a little video about it that I posted on social. And one somebody commented and they're like, oh, I thought Hatty bees was the original, hot chicken. And I, you know, I politely corrected them and, and pointed out the years in which each establishment started. Um, but why do you think that that has become the narrative?

Caroline: So, I mean, I think that the, the glib answer is cuause that's how it always works. You know like miss Andre said, like, that's how America's always been like Christopher Columbus saying that he discovered, you know, America and you know, the, there were like whole indigenous population's already being like, you know, been here , there's the like sort of superficial answer of like startup funding, marketing and marketing. And, but then also the capacity to open in places that are more common, thorough affairs for the kind of people that have the disposable income and the buy in to that kind of niche food item, right. Like Hatty be, is like right in the middle of like Midtown Nashville, you know, whereas, you know, princess is princess was in the hood, right. Like

Jaymee: It's not, I mean, I didn't have a car,

Caroline: I took a new, like, it wasn't closed people. The original princess was, and, and, and the current princess is not in an easy to get to location necessarily. Um, the, the, the main store. And I think, and part of that is like generational, you know, there's like generational poverty, there's generational wealth. It's like figuring out how to enter the like Nashville is a wildly segregated city for first of all, you know, like they built the highway through Nashville and like the late sixties, early seventies, and it like cut off an artery to like com commerce in Nashville. Like restaurants close down business is closed down. The city's never recovered. You know? Like how do you get a loan as a black business owner? How do you know where to set up shop? Are you going to be welcome if you've set up your restaurant in the middle of town, in a place where people are likely to frequent it and encounter your food made by you like pro like all of these sort of other systemic, like political things, historical, social inequities, like that make it hard to start any kind of business as a person of color, especially in the south, especially in a city of segregated as Nashville.

Caroline: Like I think that that's got a lot to do with it. And I think you're right. The marketing machine has a lot to do with it. Where are the PR people like knocking down Prince's door, I'm hungry for those answers. And maybe it's too easy to say that that's just, it feels, it's almost tiresome to try to answer that question because it feels like it's the way it works everywhere.

Jaymee: Yeah. It's frustrating. I mean, you mentioned Ms. Jeffries and you had a chance to sit down with her for this episode and, you know, get her perspective on this matter of ownership and other establishments being credited with the work, the labor, the history of her family, you were brought to tears during that moment. What, what were you feeling in those moments?

Caroline: Well, she's such a gracious and graceful woman. Mm-hmm and I think her like circumspection and like her ability to be like, well, we're all breathing the same air. And I'm just glad that this food that I've created is reaching so many people and moves them. It makes you want to cry because I feel a certain resignation about the likelihood of her getting her flowers in real time at the scale that she deserves. And I feel honored to be able to offer her in like a private individual moment, the respect that she deserves. That's a humbling thing for me to get to do, which is moving, but it's also, there's also something like poignant and heartbreaking about her sense of peace with the inevitability of her establishment in her lifetime, not having the same scale of success that these other places have had.

Jaymee: No, I agree. I mean, I, I got teared up as well, um, watching that moment, and I think it's just, you know, one of the many moments, uh, you know, that shows like why this particular program is important. Um, you know, another episode you are still in your home state, but you're going to the origins of whiskey and specifically the story of Jack Daniel and the black man who taught him how to distill whiskey. And his name was nearest green. What central question was raised during your time learning about this story?

Caroline: Well, I think that for me, the central question that I, um, and I have a little moment with the, with Mr. Nelson, Eddie, who is the, the chief historian for Jack Daniels. The first part of, I think it might be a dual central question. So, it might be a pair of, or pair of central questions, but one was, are we really using this word mentor because I think like, you know, they talk about neuro screen and they say he was Jack Daniels's mentor, and that he was, uh, he mentored him and taught him. You sort of Jack learned it, nearest knee, how to make whiskey. And I think that it puts this very like benign Polish on what is like a much harder uglier truth, which is the, like, nearest was forced to teach this young white man how to make whiskey by his owner, by the man who presumed to own him. And I'm sure that was not like a voluntary exercise. Right. And then this,

Jaymee: Regardless of what their relationship

Caroline: Yeah, exactly. Regardless of what their relationship became, the, the teaching was not voluntary. I'm a mentor to a lot of people. It's always a voluntary choice, right. That's like, that's a gift that you give to a student that you like want to learn things. So, I think like, I mean, and I mean, and this is the, that there cannot be consent and a power imbalance, right? Like that's just, that's just it. And now nears did go on to continue working at the distillery. And then his, you know, his sons, his family, there was a, so there is a, a long time consensual relationship between the green family and Jack Daniels. But I think that the origin, the origin still needs to be dignified with like all the truth of it. I think I, I just think anything that, uh, that sort of sweeps the heinousness of slavery under the rug needs to be like reexamined 

Caroline: Do you know what I mean? Yeah. Yeah. And then, and I think that, that my other central question about when I was at the Jack Daniels distillery is what is owed in the present, because I think that there's, I mean, America's dealing with this in every direction, but like, how do you repair? What does a reparation look like? Right. And it's like, it's the scale is so staggering that it's almost difficult to even contemplate. It's like, it's so it's, it's unspeakable, it's monetary, it's written in my, in the bones and trauma. It's like, it's all these things. And it's like, do we even start, like, do we even say that we ought to do it when we have no idea where it begins or ends? I don't know.

Jaymee: I mean, when, when someone is, you know, made aware or held accountable from any of this profiting, from the, the labor, the foods, the recipes, I mean, what does the appropriate course of action look like? I mean, I don't know. I, I mean, you might not know either. I mean, it's a question that we need to continue to look into it.

Caroline: Yeah. I am hungry for answers. I'm hungry. I am hung I'm ravenous for that answer. 

Jaymee: Thought it was interesting though, when you did, you know, going back to the, the mentorship and this kind of like romanticizing of that relationship or how it began, and when you brought it up the historian, I don't think it had ever, you know, been brought up to him before he was like, you're right. You know, like that, that's a great point. I mean, how, how can we continue to look at these stories with this critical eye so we can continue this evolution?

Caroline: It's interesting to me. So the other that reminds me of another question that I had, like throughout the tour, they're all like, you know, we never, we found there's this moment where he is pointing to the, the picture of near of nearest, uh, descendant and next to Jack Daniels, like on the steps and, um, you know, in pride of place right next to him. And he is like, we had this picture in the archives and we never knew who that guy was. And I was like, have a whole historian in house and you have allegedly never not had a green family member working for the company. And somehow mysteriously, don't know who this person, this picture is like, its picture's not that old and that's sort of a, a roundabout way of saying that how we do better is by assuming that there's more to know every time like, if there are no, if like, especially if you're in an American industrial or like an, an American place of industry or agriculture, especially in the south, if you haven't heard a story about black people somebody's lying or covering something 

Caroline: Like, and if by some miracle that is not the truth, like then go find that out. Do you know what I mean? But like, don't ask the question, don't assume, assume that something is being overlooked, untold made less of and, and start from there. Yeah, because it's like, we are, you know, like essential, proven, guilty, but like America's guilty, like we're guilty, you know? Yeah. So, it's like now we just need to continue to find evidence, you know? Yeah.

Jaymee: No, I mean, I don't want to give too much away because I mean, I think it is really important for everybody to watch the show. But in, in other episodes you also explore the history of sugar cane, its past and present relationship with the black community, as well as, you know, the challenges, the systemic inequities that black farmers face. What were you most surprised to learn during your time filming those episodes?

Caroline: The term leasing. I was, I was sort of distantly familiar with the concept, but not the scope and scale, you know, leasing being, you know, the, the, the leasing of prisoners on, you know, prisoners in, uh, state, federal prisons to work private land for profit. I mean, it's just

Jaymee: Wild.

Caroline: It's just, I mean, and it, and I think it's, you know, it's the, it's the 13th amendment loophole that says slavery is illegal except as a punishment for a crime. Right. And then what do we do in this country? We just like criminalize everything that black people ever do and we have since emancipation, the wildness of how directly the prison system is tied to slavery and the underscoring of that. And the, like, I remember like realizing, I think on camera in real time, like the staggering truth of the fact that like, it was actually better than slavery for the, for the people that were enjoying the profit, cause like a slave was an expensive investment that like, you know, if you treated your slave badly and they got sick and like couldn't yield as much crop, you know, or whatever, couldn't work as hard for you, that was money down your drain. Whereas like if a prisoner dies on the job, you just get another one, you know? And so, it's just like, I mean, it was it's unreal.

Jaymee: When do you think about also, you know, the prisons are paying to, to house them, to, to feed them and, and they're just getting the work out of it. I mean that, yeah. I mean, and, and as you're standing there, I mean, I, I know you, you had said to, you know, one of the people that you interviewed that it was an honor to be there with him and he was like, this is not an honor, you know, but I know what you meant, but like it, I'm sure that that, you know, was a, a difficult thing for him to, to go back to the site of, of that trauma. I mean, what does it mean to you that, that, you know, these people are, are trusting you with their stories?

Caroline: I mean, I think that sort of goes back to your question of the, like the sort of custodial obligations of this job. Like it's as precious as if I worked in a museum with like some thousand-year-old irreplaceable artifact, right? Like, you're like, this is a, just a gift like, please, please like, just let me ask you of the right question so that you're like extraordinary truth can come out and what's kind of cool. It's like, by the end of this, like the series I've talked to so many people, it's like such an extraordinary kaleidoscope of people who are in this shared space of like black food in America. Right. but the stories are so ranging and, and the scope of like what other societal concerns they touch is so deep. Right. And are so deep and so broad. And I, yeah, I don't know. I think like talking to Danny when I wrote my little soul food cookbook in 2012, or I started working on it in 2012, but like when it came out in 2015, I never thought this is going to take me to jail, but food touches everything and trying to tell black stories inevitably will involve food. I mean, it's like, it's all just circular. I don't know.

Jaymee: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, and I want to point out too. I mean, I think obviously, you know, the, the point of the series is to dive deeper into these, these questions that, that we need answers to that need to be, you know, talked about. But you also, I mean, you get to enjoy some, some good food and drinking. So I want to put that out there that, you know, you get a little bit of both in this series and

Caroline: Yeah.

Jaymee: Girl, your stomach. I mean, my stomach was growling when you guys were eating those pulled pork, you know, grilled cheese. I don't even know what they were, but I wanted them. I mean, do you have a favorite bite or, or sip from, from filming the series?

Caroline: Oh, I mean, drinking uncle nearest with FA like in the house, you know, that was where nearest lived and worked. That was pretty extraordinary. And then I will also say like the honey, I got to like, I, I got to like scrape honey off the, like the comb, the sheet, and then like had to hold the giant. I don't know. What was it? A centrifuge, like, whatever you spin the honey in, that was the raw honey tasting. That was like ridiculously fun as well. Like that was, that was like fun and hilarious. The slight moment of shame for me, the, like I saw the footage, I was like, I really did just hold that thing. Like, it was like a, like a bucking Bronco. Like I don't even but yeah, those were, those were two of my, I think those were my two favorite. I mean, obviously the princes, like eating princes with miss Andre, like, what are you going to, what am I talking about? Like princes with miss Andre also, also the

Jaymee: Best. That's amazing. I mean, how, how hot did you end up going?

Caroline: Oh, I like, I will, I will take a bite of medium, but when I say like, like mild is like, cause you can get no seasoning, which still is like, they still put a lot of salt and pepper. Like it still got a lot going on in there. Right. But like mild is hot. Okay. Like, yeah. It's cause it's all hot chicken. So, it's like, you're starting at hot. So's true. I'm good. I'm good. With the mild, like I'm like trying to like live the rest of my day. Like not like unsettle myself, like, like you eat hot, the hot you're down for the count for a minute. Like, or I am anyway. Like I can't, I can't mess around with that.

Jaymee: I think I, I did in medium and I thought to myself, I could probably do the hot, but I was happy with the medium. Yeah. Like I, I was like, all right, like I can still taste everything.

Jaymee: and enjoy it, I think is, is the key because it is really delicious chicken, you know?

Caroline: Yeah. It's perfectly fried everything's exactly right. Yeah. That's

Jaymee: Right. Yeah. So, you want to be able to taste all of it. I mean, for someone who has a similar passion as you, you know, this, this burned to, to share these important stories like you do and hungry for answers, what is your advice to them?

Caroline: Trust your obsessions. Ask lots of questions. Be brave. and not just trust yourself, but like enjoy your own instincts. Um, because I think that like, so often in like earlier parts of my career, I'd be like, does anyone want to hear about this? Like, am I being so weird? Am I allowed to be the one to talk about this? Like, but then, you know, you meet these. And for me I've just been very lucky that I've had, you know, allies and witnesses. People like Viola, like people like my team at B 17, like my, my production, like people at the food network who are like, wow, this girl's asking weird questions, but we're excited about it. And these, and they're questions that like a lot of people want to know the answers to. So, I think that like my idiosyncrasies and obsessions and like my need to be a poet and yell about politics and do this home cooking and just be like a black girl from the south and like hold all those things together. Sometimes it felt at moments like we need to pick one of these agendas and then the show is just like, you know, proof positive that if you like, hold on all the stuff that you're obsessed with, that you know yourself to be like, it can like align and then become its own thing. You know? And so, I think like that, that's my advice. Stick to your, enjoy your instincts. Be brave. Ask lots of questions.

Jaymee: Yeah. I mean, and, and you see that you see that come to life in this show. So, I hope everyone, you know, takes, uh, to takes the opportunity to, to watch it on discovery. Plus, um, this has been so insightful and wonderful chatting with you. We are going to wrap things up with some rapid-fire questions. Awesome. And then we have one final question that we ask everybody on the show. So, all right. A cookbook. You wish everyone had

Caroline: Soul food love. It's my cookbook. 

Jaymee: I like it. I like you got to publicize yourself. Right? Favorite cocktail,

Caroline: Martini.

Jaymee: Favorite black owned Nashville, food establishments,

Caroline: Princess hot chicken, uh, slim Huskies. It's pizza's place. Boltons and the cupcake collection.  Black woman owned cupcakes.

Jaymee: Love that. Your top three pantry staples,

Caroline: Olive oil, sweet potatoes onions.

Jaymee: Okay. Song. You cannot stop listening to

Caroline: I'm just going to say my favorite song of all time. Come on, Eileen.

Jaymee: Perfect.

Caroline: Love it. It's midnight runners.

Jaymee: all right. So, in the first episode you mention the happy dance that you do when you have, you know, an amazing bite of food. So, what's the last thing you ate that made you do a happy dance?

Caroline: I just had princes. I had my students over. I had my students over for the end of semester last week and I had princes and I was dancing really happy. Amazing. And I also roasted some potatoes on Sunday night that I did a happy dance over in my own kitchen. So,

Jaymee: All right. I love it. Travel or vacation destination that you'd like to go next.

Caroline: I'm going to Sweden at the end of the month and we're also to Belgium. So. I'm excited about those. I've never been to either of those places. So, I think those are my travel destinations that I want to go to. Cause I'm going

Jaymee: All right. Well, I, we will look forward to seeing the, the, the recaps and the photos. All right. So, the last question, and this is what we ask everybody on food network, obsessed to, to finish out the interview. This is not rapid fire, so you can take as long as you want on this question. And that is what would be on the menu for your perfect food day. So, breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, there are no rules. So, you can travel time, travel. Anyone can cook it for you. You can spend, you know, absurd amounts of money if you want. Um, calories don't count, obviously. So yeah, whatever, whatever is like your ideal, you know, meals for those, those meals. Let us know.

Caroline: I love an adventure. So, I think that there's a world where like there's some wild card that I don't even know how to describe, you know but I think of my, just like my heart's home foods, like I love poached eggs on buttery toast for breakfast. Yes. like, it's just my whole favorite thing, period. I am not a huge lunch eater, but I am a, I think like favorite lunch. I really love like a good, like a well compos sandwich of any kind, like okay. But like, but I like, it's just, it's like a weird joy of mine, but I love. I just, I love a thoughtfully composed sandwich. Okay. Okay. And then for dinner, I'm like, do I say lamb Boase cause like that's like one of my biggest joys of life or do I say like, I love a steak yeah. You, you know what you like? I really love a good. I like a ribeye. What do I want for dinner? But I'm also like, but don't I just want Indian food and I'm also like, but, and I want Fa for lunch. I want Fa for lunch. All right. I don't know. I'm a weird, she's a weird girl.

Jaymee: No,

Caroline: She's a weird girl. I like no. And tomorrow the answers would all be completely different. So, I have no, and I like, I also love sushimi like I love okay. The Japanese food. I don't know. right, girl. I want to say one last thing too. Yes. I tried a round of food network. This was not my first invitation to the dance with them. We, we had an adventure earlier that didn't work out. And then when they reached out to me the second time they said, they were like, Hey, do you want to try another show? And I said, only if I can cuss and wear black

Caroline: That was my, those were my two stipulations for taking a second bite at the food network at the apple, with the wonderful food network. And they said yes to me. So anybody who has made it this far into our conversation, please know that if you tune into hungry for answers, it's one, it's the show where the food network said yes to the girl who said, I'm only doing this show if I can cause and wear black. 

Jaymee: I mean, I love that. And if that's not, you know, an invitation to, to come check it out, I don't know what it is again. Congratulations. Such a, a wonderful show. Yes. You're wearing black and there is a little bit of cussing, but not too

Caroline: Much and drinking and eaten and all the fun things. It's the party. You're invited to the cookout.

Jaymee: Yeah. You're invited to and you're going to learn some things along the way as well. So, thank you again for taking the time and joining us and telling us your story.

Caroline: Oh, thank you so much for having me 


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Jaymee: All four episodes of hungry for answers will be available to stream on discovery Plus beginning Wednesday, June 8th.  Thanks so much for listening and make sure you follow us wherever you listen to podcasts. So, you don't miss a thing. And if you enjoy today's episode, please rate and review. We love it. When you do that, that's all for now. We'll catch you foodies next Friday.


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