What Makes New Food History Show Hungry For Answers Unique

Over the past couple of decades — since the 2002 debut of the late Anthony Bourdain's first show, "A Cook's Tour," the number of food travel shows has proliferated. There have been PBS series, including the Mario Batali and Gwyneth Paltrow vehicle "Spain... on the Road Again," Travel Channel series including Andrew Zimmern's "Bizarre Foods," and, more recently, CNN's "Searching for Italy," starring actor and bon vivant Stanley Tucci. These shows' plots typically see their hosts visiting different regions either in the United States or abroad and sampling local cuisines — whether everyday fare or something out of the ordinary — and have covered a variety of tastes and cultures. But award-winning actress, writer, and producer Viola Davis is looking to add more diversity and harder-hitting topics in the food travel show genre.

In a press release, the streaming service Discovery+ recently announced a June 8th debut for the Davis-produced "Hungry for Answers," a four-episode travel show which seeks to illuminate the "fascinating, essential, and often untold Black stories behind some of America's classic and emblematic food and spirits," according to the release (via Variety). The series is hosted by the scholar and cookbook author Caroline Randall Williams, who in 2016 netted an NAACP Image Award for her cookbook "Soul Food Love" (via Tennessean). And, unlike most other food shows on the scene, "Hungry for Answers" promises to tackle some tough topics alongside its explorations of tasty but fraught subjects such as fried chicken and whiskey.

The new show doesn't shy away from difficult conversations

According to a press release, the new Viola Davis-produced "Hungry for Answers" will explore the complex origins of traditionally Black foods such as Nashville hot chicken, whose evolution was often marked by hardship and prejudice. "[Host Caroline Randall] Williams is out to uncover the origin stories of these quintessential American offerings, as well as surface the truth when it comes to the equity, or in most cases inequity, regarding the recognition and reward, and lack thereof, for the true founding contributors throughout history," the release reads in part (via Variety).

In four parts, the series will take on nuanced topics such as "Who gets to cook Black food?" as well as trace the history of sugar and the stories of Black farmers in America (via Variety). Davis, who has won awards for movies such as 2011's "The Help" and 2016's "Fences" (via IMDB), told Variety that chef, writer, and activist Williams actually pitched Davis the idea for the show back in 2010, when the two met on the set of "The Help."

"All of the greatest moments of vulnerability, conversations, and discourse about social, political, lifestyle issues have taken place in our kitchen," Davis told the outlet. "The joy of food is like home. When many people are sharing together it is the most powerful tool for connection."