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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to annemarie@southernfoodways.org.


Leroy "Spooney" Kenter

Leroy "Spooney" Kenter, Jr.

Leroy Kenter, Jr., better known as “Spooney,” started barbecuing at home in Kansas City, Kansas. When he returned to his native Greenwood, he knew he wanted to have his own place and make a name for his own brand of ‘cue and sauce. Located in a narrow space on Johnson Street with smokers in the lot next door and just down and across from the Crystal Grill, a whole different clientele know and love Spooney’s food, and they keep coming back. Spooney’s secret is in his sauce, the recipe for which came to him after his first wife left him. The story is that Spooney sat at home alone, staring at the walls for days upon days. Then one day his eye caught the image of the crock-pot sitting on the kitchen counter. Then some ketchup. And then his mind started swimming with secrets and spices, culminating in his homemade sauce that was inspired by heartache. This man’s barbecued ribs really will make you cry.

*Spooney closed his Johnson Street location in 2009.

Date of interview:

Amy C. Evans

Amy C. Evans

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


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