What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more

246 - Southern Sauce Sources

February 18, 2008, 8:20 PM

scbbq.jpg  “Tell me what you eat”, the famous quote by legendary chef Brillat-Savarin goes, “and I’ll tell you who you are.” The dictum also applies very locally, to South Carolina, and very specifically, to barbecue sauce.”We barbecue enthusiasts find it fascinating,” says John Shelton Reed about the peculiar example of culinary cartography he sent in, which was taken from ‘South Carolina: A Geography’ by Charles F. Kovacik and John J. Winberry (if you don’t at least have a middle initial, you’re not really Southern).The map shows the state of South Carolina divided into four regions, according to the preferred style of condiment used on barbecued food.

  • The vinegar and pepper region covers the eastern quarter of the state. This is “a southward extension of eastern North Carolina-style sauce,” states Mr Reed.
  • “The tomato region ditto for North Carolina’s Piedmont- or Lexington-style sauce, which is basically the eastern sauce with a little tomato added, still thin and vinegar-flavored.”
  • The ketchup region is influenced by what they serve in Georgia “and most of the trans-Appalachian South – or for that matter in grocery stores – a thick, sweet, ketchupy sauce.”
  • Unique to South Carolina, though, is “the mustard sauce of central South Carolina, (which) is unique to that state, and (which) gives it more distinct barbecue regions than any other.”

This peculiarity can be explained by “the German names of the principal purveyors of mustard-based sauces (…) it does seem that most are descended from the great 18th century wave of German immigrants to the Southern uplands.”Thanks for that fascinating bit of gastronomy-meets-genealogy-meets-cartography, Mr Reed. I’m feeling a bit peckish now…A final word on that most appetite-inducing word, the barbecue – its etymology is not, as I always thought, French (from the roasting of wild boars snout to tail, or in French barbe à queue) but apparently it’s an americanism, in fact a real Southern word, derived from the New World-Spanish expression barbacoa, itself taken from the Arawak language, where barbakoa means something like ‘wooden support beam’.


246 - Southern Sauce Sources

Newsletter: Share: