He who wants to plant corn must make peace with the crows. - African Proverb

With love from The African Gourmet

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Africa had a major influence on Southern USA cooking

Africa had a major influence on Southern cooking

Africa had a major influence on Southern cooking


Grilling bananas in Ghana
Grilling in Ghana


African and US Southern cooking are forever intertwined.



Okra Stew
Okra Stew

The US South is known for its ironic food tradition. Cooking methods such as stewing may stem from African cooking traditions. Stewing involves making food that requires long simmering periods of vegetables and sometimes meat. African cooking just like Southern cooking was born from the economics of survival one-pot cooking, stews, gumbos, thickening with okra or grounded nuts.


Africans prepared and preserved vegetables by laying thick slices of salty meat on top. Just as it is in Southern cooking, cooking in African culture is an oral tradition and traditional recipes are handed down by word of mouth rather than writing a recipe. One myth about African cooking is frying is not indigenous to African cooking, Native Americans taught frying techniques to the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804-1806.


Southern favorites such as collard greens and 100 different versions of okra soup were eaten throughout West Africa. Slaves combined food from Africa with local ingredients. Bringing to light the uncredited ways slaves and their descendants has shaped how Southern Americans eat is a tangible connection to the ties of African and US Southern food heritage. The shared food heritage dish that black-eyed peas are most famous for is Hoppin’ John.


Hoppin' John Rice and Peas Recipe


Ingredients
1 cup dry black-eyed peas
1 cup white rice
2 large ham hocks
1 large white onion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups water


Directions

In a large lidded pot add water, peas, ham hocks, onion, salt and pepper, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low simmer 2 hours. Then add rice, cover and simmer until rice is cooked to your liking about 20 minutes. Serve on New Year’s Day as black-eyed peas are thought to bring good luck if you eat them on January 1st.

Hoppin' John Rice and Peas Recipe
Hoppin' John Rice and Peas Recipe


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