Fried bologna sandwiches were a staple of my childhood, and I’m sure for many it still is. I refer to it as a “hood classic” as every kid from the hood has a story and a recipe version for bologna sandwiches. Though a humble sandwich made with basic ingredients, it along with other humble dishes have played a significant role in Black History as a means of survival, show of resourcefulness, and example of innovation. My grandparents told me stories of The Negro Motorist Green Book which was essentially a guide for black road trippers to find safe havens in the form of restaurants, gas stations, and hotels given the hatred and related dangers they faced in Jim Crow South. Shoebox lunches were also the norm, and bologna sandwiches were prominent in these pack lunches which were brought along for those stretches on the road where you were not likely to find a restaurant that served “coloreds.” Enjoy the sandwich and learn a lil black history in this post.
Simple, versatile, and tangy is how I’d describe this collard greens slaw recipe. It’s one that was made up on the spot, but inspired by two true pioneers. At a time when everyone seems to have an opinion about whether Lebron James has surpassed Michael Jordan, I thought I’d cross you up and talk about the unsung, little known pioneers and greats of Hockey. Most don’t know of Willie O’ree who integrated the NHL in the 50s or of Grant Fuhr the greatest goalie in the history of the league who is also the first black player to win the Stanley Cup and enter the Hall of Fame. These were pioneers who inspired me to be comfortable going against the grain whenever. My collard greens purist will probably roll their eyes at the idea of adding feta cheese to greens; In the immortal words of Tupac, “I ain’t mad atcha!”
One of the things that impressed me most about the Civil Rights Movement and continues to be a source of inspiration for me is the fact that there were so many every day people who contributed. It wasn’t just about Dr. King, Julian Bond, and John Lewis, but also the unsung like Georgia Gilmore who went from cafeteria cook to unemployed as the result of the bus boycott to home-cook and entrepreneur who fed and financed the movement. I’m happy to tell her story in this month’s post as well as offer up in the immortal words of Outkast’s Big Boi – “some fish and grits and all that pimp shit!” Enjoy
With Black History Month getting a lot of attention here in the States, I continue to explore the African Diaspora and the culinary traditions of black people worldwide. This recipe for Haitian Soup Joumou took me a while to develop as far as getting it to the standards that truly honor the heritage, tradition, and spirit of the people of Haiti. I don’t know that I nailed it, but I definitely appreciate the history lesson and connection it fostered. I love the flavor and the focus on local ingredients in bringing this dish to life. Don’t be intimidated by the ingredient list, execution is simple and easy as long as you have time and patience, taking things step by step. Enjoy!
February kicks off Black History Month, and I’m excited to be participating in a Virtual Potlock with 27 other food bloggers. My contribution is this Nashville Hot Shrimp Sandwich which is a mashup of Japanese and Southern cultures. Look closely and you’ll notice an actual plump shrimp cutlet instead of fried chicken thigh. The fried shrimp is then dipped in a spicy chili oil for additional flavor. And oh yeah, there is a history lesson in this post. Did you know as early as the 1500s Japanese had an African Samurai?
Grilled wedges are one of my favorite and easiest ways to enjoy sweet potatoes. The best thing about this recipe though is the perfect sweet heat chili lime sauce pairing. Just a few a few ingredients that net a lot of flavor. They go fast so make enough!