Behind the Gumbo: A Journey Through Mobile’s Rich Culinary History with Cart Blackwell

Port City Plate Podcast

11-07-2023 • 55 mins

In this episode, we dive deep into the rich culinary and cultural history of Mobile with our special guest, Cart Blackwell. Cart is the talented curator of the Mobile Carnival Museum and an architectural historian. With degrees in art history, historic preservation, and architectural history, he brings an unparalleled perspective to the show. His knack for storytelling has captivated many, as he weaves tales of our city's past, bringing history to life in the most enlightening and entertaining ways.

In our conversation, Cart shares intriguing insights on Mobile's food history, drawing from his deep knowledge and research. We traverse through the times of Native American life, the French, British, and Spanish colonial periods, and up to the modern era. He explains the importance of the city's strategic location, how it's influenced by these various cultures, and how Mobile became a gumbo of traditions, tastes, and people.

The late 1800s to early 1900s heralded the arrival of modern restaurants and iconic Mardi Gras societies in Mobile. Blackwell provides insight into the changing food trends of the time, reflecting the waves of immigration and burgeoning sense of hospitality in the city. He details the grandeur of early Mardi Gras banquets and balls, and how they contributed to Mobile's culinary identity.

We also discuss some of the iconic restaurants that have shaped Mobile's food scene, the unique culinary experiences of Mardi Gras, and more. Tune in to this episode to experience an enlightening journey through the food, history, and people that make Mobile, Alabama an extraordinary city.

Local restaurants mentioned in this episode:
Bay Gourmet
Noble South
Wintzell's Oyster House
Dew Drop Inn
Felix's Fish Camp
Reney's Honey Butter
Grace on Dauphin

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