From Russia With Sauce

I experienced political whiplash on the barbecue trail today. It involved two very different red states. I’ll explain.


This morning I did a 20-minute interview about "Smokelore" and the history of barbecue with Radio Sputnik, a controversial Russian government-funded broadcast operation out of Washington aimed at Americans. When Radio Sputnik first contacted me, I didn’t know what to make of it. Turns out that one of the hosts of their morning drive-time show, "Fault Lines," is a big barbecue fan and saw "Smokelore" touted by one of the authors of a popular economics blog called Marginal Revolution.

So I talked barbecue with the cohosts: Lee Stranahan (the barbecue lover) and Garland Nixon (a vegetarian). It wasn’t much different from other interviews I’ve done. Well, they were pretty interested in Bobby Seale and the way the Black Panthers used to hold barbecue fund-raisers. I pointed out that the Ku Klux Klan held them, too. It’s America, people. Anyway, thanks to the "Fault Lines" crew for a good interview.

GSU congress.jpeg

Three hours later, I was addressing a group of Congressional staffers over lunch at Georgia State Universit (right), part of an annual tour my alma mater puts together for the state’s delegation in Washington. Georgia, of course, is the other red state I referenced at the top because of its decidedly Republican lean in recent years. 

My lunch audience was amused to hear about Radio Sputnik. I’m amused as well. I never dreamed that in one day I’d be doing barbecue talks funded by the governments of Russia and Georgia.