Stephanie Klein-Davis/The Roanoke Times via AP

Rodney Getchell, owner of the quaint Little Rock, Arkansas grocer Hestands in the Heights, cocked his head when I asked what chow chow was. “You never had chow chow?” he said, and with a quick wave he led me, like a vet leading a malnourished calf toward recovery, to an aisle crammed with condiments.

Spared the fate of compost, more complex than an okra pickle, the cabbage-based relish that sounds like a dog is the fruit of agrarian resourcefulness. As the popular Dixieland brand’s…