I grew up with my aunts, uncles, and cousins all living next door to one another in the small town of Locust Grove, Georgia—the Gillespie "compound," we called it. All of our parents worked, so Granny took on the task of cooking for the entire family, about 20 of us in all. There was one dish in particular I loved, a pinto bean soup seasoned with a serious helping of fatback. It was a simple dish, sure, one Granny had learned to make while growing up poor in the South Carolina mountains. And we ate it frequently because it fed a lot of people. But it was more than that: A rule for an agrarian community like the one my family hails from is that hard work must come with the reward of a hearty, satisfying meal. So Granny always made sure every spoonful of her soup was as delicious as could be.