You may have heard of Anoop Desai. He's a UNC Chapel Hill graduate student who's star is rising fast thanks to a series of appearances on TV's American Idol.
Before he hit the big-time, however, the Chapel Hill native was an honor's student as an undergraduate within UNC-CH's American Studies department. For an honor's thesis, he chose a topic near and dear to the hearts of North Carolinians: Barbecue.
The 60-page thesis, which you can read in its entirety by clicking on the attachment below — courtesy of Anoopdog.com, a fan site — is an analysis of the various types of southern barbecue and its influence on the culture of southerners.
One section examines Allen and Son, the legendary BBQ joint on N.C. 86 in Chapel Hill. He introduces restaurant owner Keith Allen like this:
"Keith Allen embodies the white working-class south. His silver hair speaks to the thirty nine years he's spent tending the pits at his Chapel Hill restaurant. Allen wakes each morning before 3 a.m. to chop oak logs behind Allen and Son along N.C. 86 between Chapel Hill and Hillsborough.
His first words the morning of our interview were 'you do what you have to do and I'll do what I have to do.' The single-minded dedication that Allen shows to his work is deeply reminiscent of the hard work of black and white field hands throughout southern history."