Have you ever heard of a slug burger? Did you know that Moon Pies turned 100-years-old this year, or that people used to herd turkeys?
On his new segment “Potluck Radio” on WETS that premiered this weekend, Fred Sauceman explores obscure or odd food facts like these. It’s named after his monthly column for the Johnson City Press, where he’s been writing about food for over a decade.
In fact, much of Sauceman’s writing career since the late 1990s has focused on food. He writes for the magazines Blue Ridge Country and Smoky Mountain Living and has published several books. Since 2005, he’s taught a class called Foodways of Appalachia here at ETSU.
But he says that “Potluck Radio” won’t just focus on our local area. While he has a certain affinity for Appalachian food, he wants to explore all kinds of cuisine, both in his kitchen at home and in this segment.
“Potluck means a little bit of everything, and that describes the content,” Sauceman said. “It’s about food and culture, restaurants, home cooks, gardeners, herbalists—anything even tangentially related to food and the table.”
Much of the segment comes from archived interviews Sauceman has conducted over the years. The challenge, he said, isn’t in finding stories to tell, but in telling them succinctly. The segment only lasts two minutes.
“I always thought about a way to make use of that [content],” Sauceman said.
So why food?
“Food is a stepping stone for me to understand a culture,” Sauceman said. “I think food is one of the best ways to understand a person’s mentality, a person’s mindset, a person’s character—to understand what a culture is all about.”
To listen to “Potluck Radio,” tune in to WETS HD-1 or 89.5 FM on Saturdays at 9:39 a.m. and Sundays at 5:39 p.m. You may learn something you didn’t know.
“I don’t think of food as something that creates barriers,” Sauceman said. “Quite the opposite, food is a way to join us together no matter what our backgrounds are. Food is a great common denominator.”
After all, everyone has to eat.