Dr. Howard Conyers grew up in South Carolina on the same soil labored on by his ancestors, those that were enslaved, and sharecroppers. Cooking his first whole hog at age eleven, he collected stories of a tradition learned from his father, using techniques perfected over centuries by sharecroppers.
At Slow Food Nations 2017, the sold-out History of BBQ dinner showcased the tradition of South Carolina whole hog barbecue with Dr. Conyers. Attendees got a glimpse into the rural South of the past while eating a traditional meal prepared by pitmaster Dr. Howard Conyers of Slow Food New Orleans.
Chef Kevin Mitchell participated with Dr. Conyers in a moving and memorable conversation that accompanied this meal. They spoke about and illustrated the historical and cultural significance of this rich tradition from pre-Civil War to today.
Outcomes of this event continue. Christina Hendrick Melton, director of special projects for Louisiana Public Broadcasting, met Dr. Conyers at Slow Food Nations. She produced a short documentary about Conyers, then included him in a 10-episode show about Southern Foodways, exploring African-American, Native American and Caribbean influences that are often overlooked.
The Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Working Group of Slow Food USA seeks to make this kind of event a regular feature of our national gatherings.