Gravy Goes Behind the Scenes at Motels

There’s a movie I’ve liked for a long time, practically since it was released back in 1991: Mississippi Masala, directed by Mira Nair. It’s about an Indian family fleeing Idi Amin’s takeover of Uganda and resettling in Mississippi. It’s mostly a love story; the daughter in the family, Mina, falls in love with, who else, Denzel Washington (who plays a character named Demetirus). But the setting for the film is the small motel owned by Mina’s family. I had no idea when I watched the film that there were thousands of Indian families who owned motels in the South—and across the United States.

Kamini Patel tries to grow everything she might need for cooking in her garden at their motel in North Charleston. "Everything I eat I try to grow," she said. Photo by Paul Zoeller for the Post & Courier.
Kamini Patel tries to grow everything she might need for cooking in her garden at their motel in North Charleston. “Everything I eat I try to grow,” she said. Photo by Paul Zoeller for the Post & Courier.

In the new episode of Gravy, though, we take a deep dive into the world of Indian-owned motels, and the food world they’ve maintained behind the scenes. In a partnership with the Post & Courier in Charleston, South Carolina, Hanna Raskin takes us to meet the motel owners and taste their dinners.

Listen here.