February is Black Historical past Month — a time to study black historical past and African American customs.
Cultural traditions are sometimes centered round meals, and soul meals is not any exception. These culinary creations started through the enslavement period within the American South — the early 1800s. The “deep south” states of Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia are the house of soul meals.
Common dishes embody fried rooster, numerous greens, candy potatoes, cornbread, macaroni and cheese, and fried okra. Dessert classics are candy potato pie and peach cobbler. African American meals customs mix Southern American, Caribbean, Creole and West African delicacies.
Jenne Claiborne, writer of “Candy Potato Soul,” calls it “historical past, triumph, ardour, prayer, function and love. It’s Black heritage on a plate: feeding hungry our bodies, nurturing households, retaining traditions alive.”
Enslaved folks tried to protect their African meals traditions however needed to depend on what was obtainable on this aspect of the Atlantic, utilizing issues their enslavers discarded. Plantation homeowners gave low-quality meals to the folks they enslaved: poor cuts of meat and undesirable greens lower from root greens. They cooked beets and turnips for themselves however discarded the greens –which Black folks used for sustenance. Slaves have been capable of develop a number of greens for themselves.
(Supplied picture — Yvonna Quick)
African culinary traditions use a wide range of boiled greens. Enslaved Africans merely tailored the greens obtainable to them — turnip, beet, and collard — to recipes from their homeland. The greens have been cooked in pork fats and ham hocks, seasoned with no matter herbs and seasonings have been obtainable. The leftover liquid was sopped up with cornbread or biscuits. Many African dishes, like Nigerian fufu and Ethiopian injera, use the strategy of dipping starchy meals right into a meat and vegetable sauce.
Candy potatoes are native to Peru and are much like west African tropical yams. Within the American South, candy potatoes are simpler to develop than pumpkins. Cheap, starchy, and candy, candy potatoes have been typically roasted within the embers of a dying hearth of slave cabins. Within the plantation homes, African slaves have been tasked with baking desserts like candy potato pie.
Okra most likely originated in Ethiopia and made its method via commerce routes to West Africa. From there, slave ships introduced the slimy inexperienced stemmed vegetable to America. It’s well-liked in soups and stews and might be fried or baked. Gumbo, a savory seafood, rice and veggie stew made that usually consists of okra, comes from the Bantu phrase for okra, kingombo”.
Pork was a typical meat within the American south — and earlier than refrigeration, it was the enslaved individuals who got the job of salting and curing it in an effort to protect it. The slaves have been additionally allotted the discarded cuts of meat — like ribs, ft and organs — so that they developed methods to organize and season them.
Whereas macaroni is ubiquitous, cheeses have been costly and never available within the South, so this dish was solely ready by slaves working of their enslavers’ kitchens.
After emancipation, nevertheless, mac’ ‘n’ cheese casserole grew to become a celebratory dish, served on holidays and particular events like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Milk, eggs and a number of other kinds of cheese are made right into a scrumptious custard. Typically, meat and greens are stirred in for a fancier feast. The casserole is topped with buttered bread crumbs and baked.
So for Black Historical past Month, attempt some soul meals! This delicacies tends to make use of a great deal of sugar and fats — I’ve tried to create more healthy choices.
I discovered 28 concepts at a digital potluck to rejoice Black Historical past Month on Meals 52. You will discover them at https://food52.com/weblog/18968-a-28-recipe-virtual-potluck-to-celebrate-black-history-month.
Southern Greens Shakshuka
This recipe combines southern greens like collards and mustard with a Center-Japanese conventional recipe for Shakshuka. I discovered the recipe at saltysweetlife.com, however it was fairly sophisticated so I simplified. Right here is my model. I used a mix of collards and kale however you should utilize any greens – mustard, turnip, beet, Swiss chard, even spinach.
2 slices bacon OR 1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 or 2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound recent or frozen greens
1/4 teaspoon every black pepper, turmeric and cinnamon
1 small can (16 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 cup diced cooked ham, non-obligatory
Cook dinner bacon to render fats. Take away to paper towels; put aside.
Drain off all however 1 Tablespoon bacon drippings.
Peel and cube the onion; add. Sprinkle with salt, cowl, and cook dinner 5 to 10 minutes on low warmth. If you want you may as well add some mushrooms or sizzling peppers at this level. Peel and mince the garlic, and add.
Put together the greens whereas onion is cooking. In case you’re utilizing recent collards you have to strip the greens from the stems. No matter greens you’re utilizing, chop them coarsely and add to the skillet. Sprinkle with black pepper, turmeric and cinnamon. Cook dinner, stirring, a couple of minutes. till wilted.
Add tomatoes and their liquid, and cook dinner 5 to fifteen minutes till desired tenderness – it will rely on the greens you may have chosen and whether or not they’re recent or frozen. Stir within the ham, if utilizing.
Break the eggs into the skillet. Cowl, and poach 3 to five minutes, or till eggs are cooked to your liking. Serve with reserved bacon, if utilizing, and potatoes or recent bread. Serves 2 for breakfast, lunch or a lightweight supper.
Georgia Peach Cobbler
Georgia is legendary for its peaches, and I discovered a recipe for Aunt Georgia’s Peach Cobbler at dashofjazz.com. Right here is my model.
For the filling:
2 to three cups sliced peaches, drained or one 15.5 ozcan (use recent, peeled, sliced peaches in season)
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 Tablespoon flour
Juice of 1 lemon
For the crust:
4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1/2 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 levels F.
Butter or oil 9” x 9″ baking dish (or a spherical casserole).
In small bowl, combine collectively sugar, spices and flour.
Drain peaches. Organize in baking dish. Sprinkle with spices after which drizzle with lemon juice.
Soften butter in a small saucepan. Add milk.
In bowl, combine collectively flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add milk and butter to type a delicate dough.
Spoon the dough over the fruit.
Bake about one-half hour at 350, or till dough is golden brown.
Serves 6 – 8.
Creator of the award-winning cookbook “Backyard Gourmand: Contemporary & Fabulous Meals out of your Backyard, CSA or Farmers’ Market,” Yvona Quick lives in Lake Clear and has two passions: cooking and writing. She might be discovered at www.yvonafast.com and reached at email@example.com or on Fb at Phrases Are My World.