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.
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.