I had not originally included African-American food in my list of cuisines to try, though I had planned to cook "soul food" when I arrived at "s." I wasn't particularly sure that there was such a thing as African American food - as distinct from soul food - either, but as I found several books of African-American recipes at the library, I decided to investigate the matter further. What I found was that African-American food is, at its core, soul food, but has now grown to include the recipes of new immigrants, both from Africa and the Caribbean.
African-American food has long roots that start in Africa. The slaves brought to America, brought with them their recipes and cooking methods. They adapted these to American ingredients, some of which had already made their way to Africa. As cooks, they influenced and even created Southern cuisine. Their food was hearty, so as to provide fuel for a whole day labor in the fields, and comforting, to help them face the daily challenges. Their food is also, very, very good.
I decided to make African-American food for Memorial Day, and thus the logical thing was to make barbecue. I thought was too cliche - plus we have several great bbq joints that we visit frequently - but once I'd suggested it, Mike wouldn't be swayed from my cooking it. I did, but it was probably a mistake. Nothing I could have made, could even approach what we can get at E&J's or Old South BBQ, I knew that, but I wasn't particularly lucky in choosing good recipes either. The deviled eggs tasted too much of mustard, I made a mistake when cooking the ribs, the bbq sauce was even worse than Kraft's, and the corn bread was OK but not spectacular. The only thing that was a hit was the potato salad - and this was extremely simple to make. Still, I'm glad I tried it.
The following is the menu I made. I had planned to make peach cobbler for dessert, but finally skipped it as I was cooking for only two people and this was already too much food.
Deviled Eggs Barbecue Spareribs
Potato Salad and Yellow Cornbread
African-American Food Links
- Bibliography - cookbooks I used