Raised on Rice and Gravy (2009; 24 minutes)
Gone are the days when farmers cam in from the fields at noon, and working class families gathered at home for lunch before returning to their labors. But more than anywhere else in the South, folks in the food-conscious town of Lafayette stubbornly cling to their traditions of home-cooking and a shared midday meal. There, in the heart of French Louisiana, age-old customs of the family kitchen over-flow into local restaurants, making public and communal what was once private and domestic.
Raised on Rice and Gravy serves up an authentic experience of these neighborhood “plate-lunch houses,” little known to any but the locals, where the genuine traditions of Cajun and Creole cooking can still be found. But more than just mouthwatering food, the film captures the friendly, face-to-face exchange between cook and customer. Unlike fast food drive-thrus, plate lunch restaurants create a setting for nourishing the body as well as the soul of a culture, where black and white, blue collar and white collar, come together for plain talk and to share their common culinary heritage: rice and gravy. Eating at a neighborhood plate lunch house is truly like going home for lunch.
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Publicist Bradley Black