“Of Meat and Men: Why the American Barbecue is About Friendship Not Food”

Ed Kashi recently photographed the 2022 Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest while on assignment with Jon Fasman for The Economist

“Barbecue offers the same sort of meditative pleasure as golf or sailing: long stretches of relaxed observation interspersed with crucial moments of action.

“Barbecuing can be competitive but doesn’t have to be. Remarkably, it has so far avoided being dragged to one side or the other of the American political divide. White Southerners comprised a disproportionate share of the field in Memphis, yet not a single Trump or Confederate flag flew. Nor did I take part in or overhear a single conversation about politics. That might dismay those who believe that Joe Biden or Donald Trump must be condemned every waking moment, but the truth is America is not going to suddenly purge itself of your political opponents, nor are the scales suddenly going to fall from their eyes. Every friendly interaction between strangers who do not look, talk or vote like each other is a small victory for sanity and civility.”
— Jon Fasman for The Economist