What we know as "soul food" is the descendant of slave cooking.
It is the brilliant masterpiece that derived from want. Slave cooking is
distinct in its use of greens, beans, and the parts of the pig rejected
at the plantation house: pig's knuckles, ears, tripe, hog maws. These were
added to the corn rations which were sometimes the only food allotted to
the slaves. The meager pantry was further supplemented by wild game and
fish pulled from the streams. Squirrel and possum figure among the meats
used, catfish, trout, and shrimp among the fish. Much soul food requires
the use of only one pot, as time for cooking and money for its tools were
both hard to come by.
- In the past, African American foods were prepared in many ways.
Since there were no refrigerators or freezers years ago, meat was smoked
in a smokehouse to make sure it wouldn't spoil. Meats were barbecued, roasted,
boiled, or made into stews. Feathered wildlife was prepared by frying,
baking, roasting, making broths, or simmering to form gravies. In the rivers
and streams, there were lots of fish and other water life that could be
eaten. Vegetables were boiled or fried. Drinks were made from the juices
- Meals were cooked in open fires using black kettles or were barbecued
in open pits. The people who cooked just knew how to do it. They didn't
need to follow a recipe.
- Back in the days of slavery, slaves were often forced to eat the
scraps that their slave masters did not want. They turned these scraps
into delicious dishes. Some of these foods are black-eyes peas, cornbread,
bread pudding, greens, sweet potato pie, and chitlins.
- From this tradition came many delicious African American foods.
You might like to cook some of the following African American foods or
share one of your favorite recipes with others who visit Stamp on Black
your favorite recipes to us.
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