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Legendary Food Writer Ruth Reichl’s Documentary Will Play at South by Southwest

‘Food and Country’ explores how food systems and independent farmers were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic

A woman outside wearing a floral print top.
Ruth Reichl in Food and Country
Foothill Productions
Erin Russell is associate editor of Eater Austin, a native Austinite, and a big fan of carbs.

This year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) film festival features the Texas premiere of a documentary with famed food writer and critic Ruth Reichl that explores the broken food systems in America.

Food and Country will have four showings at SXSW. The first is on Monday, March 13 at 11 a.m. at the Rollins Theatre at the Long Center Reichl, where director Laura Gabbert will be present for a Q&A following that first screening.

Food and Country, which began filming during the COVID-19 pandemic, follows Reichl as she interviews ranchers, farmers, chefs, and a fisherman across the U.S. to see how they are dealing with the pandemic and other systemic challenges. The documentary also explores a bit of Reichl’s past, and her views have evolved since her idealistic days as a restaurant worker in Berkeley, California in the 1970s.

Reichl, a six-time James Beard Award winner and best-selling author, was the food critic for the Los Angeles Times and New York Times before becoming the editor of Gourmet magazine for the decade before it folded in 2009.

Food and Country premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last month to almost universally positive reviews. Gabbert is no stranger to exploring the culture of food: she also directed and produced 2015’s City of Gold, which followed the influence of Los Angeles food critic Jonathan Gold, and 2020’s Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versailles.

Also playing at SXSW is a biopic film about the supposed creator of the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

A rancher overlooking a herd of pigs.
A rancher overlooking pigs from Food and Country.
Foothill Productions