Michael Pollan went on an odyssey in the south, searching for the world's purist barbecue. What he discovered surprised him.
Ed Mitchell, a renowned pitmaster in North Carolina, is not only a connoisseur but also a historian of barbecue. He described to Pollan how the love of barbecue in the south transcends racial divisions. To test Mitchell's claim, Pollan spoke with a barbecue historian (yes, those exist) who explained that even during the height of tensions during the Civil Rights Movement, blacks and whites came together (to eat, anyway) at barbecue joints.
Today's big idea explores the social nourishment of food.