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Feb 9, 2008 11:00 AM

Foods to celebrate "Black History" Month?


As you are probably aware FEBRUARY is designated as " Black History" Month. What special foods can be used to honour and celebrate during this month ?

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  1. I am a schoolteacher in an area that has a large Black population and each year we hold a Black History month luncheon. I always make a dish that is a big hit with all called "Chicken and Ground Nut Stew".

    You can find recipes for this on the net, but it is basically a mixture of cooked chicken, peanut butter, tomatoes, sweet and regular potatoes, and peppers.

    Other dishes that show up regularly are Red Velvet cake, fried chicken, collard greens with smoked turkey, rice and beans and ribs.

    4 Replies
    1. re: seal

      Hey seal,
      It's dinner time here in Toronto and although I've got beef ribs slow baking in the oven your dishes sound pretty exotic and welcoming. Where on the continent are you celebrating "Black History" Month, if you don't mind me asking?

      1. re: fruglescot

        New Brunswick, NJ.

        The school I teach at is actually fairly close to Rutgers U.

        And I am bout to head out for dinner myself, but I just made my kids another BHM favorite for their dinner, Mac n cheese :o)

        1. re: seal

          How about some peanut butter? Invented, I believe, by Dr. George Washington Carver.

          And, perhaps, something Russian, in memory of Russia's greatest poet, Alexander Pushkin, who was Black.

          1. re: ekammin

            Thanks ekammin for jogging our memories about this productive black agronomist.
            Aside from being another "George W",... Carver was responsible for the research which led to the identification of over 100 byproducts of the humble peanut. One particularly interesting product, "peanut milk", was introduced to African mothers who were unable to nurse
            and the tsetse fly made it impossible to raise domestic animals as a source of milk .Apparently this peanut milk recipe is credited with saving the lives of countless African children.
            Carver is also often incorrectly credited with the invention of the original oily type of peanut butter. In 1890, even before Carver was in college, George A. Bayle Jr. of St. Louis marketed a crude form of peanut butter as a food easily eaten by people with poor teeth.

            Another food item that Carver is less known for research into was the SWEET POTATOE. Carver advocated that poor black farmers should grow peanuts and sweet potatoes when the land used to grow cotton became devastated with the infestation of the boll weevil.

    2. There's a good cookbook called the Black Family Reunion Cookbook, published by the National Council of Negro Women. The Amazon link is here:

      I've made some really good dishes from that book. Though I wonder if Crisco sponsored it because almost all the recipes include Crisco!

      1. Get a copy of a Gullah Cookbook. I particularly like The Ultimate Gullah Cookbook by Jesse Edwards Gantt, Jr. and Veronica Davis Gerald.

        You'll find things like fried chicken, chicken bog (or perlow), shrimp and grits, collards, lots of rice dishes.

        Here is a link:

        1. Fried chicken, barbecue, collards with ham hocks, sweet potatoes, cornbread or hoe cake, macaroni and cheese, potato salad.......

          5 Replies
          1. re: steakman55


            HOE CAKE?........................ Just what is that all about, steakman?
            Can you elaborate? Thanks

            1. re: fruglescot

              I looked it up:

              "Hoecake is a type of cornbread/bread made of cornmeal or unleavened flour, salt and water, which is very thin in texture, and fried in cooking oil in a skillet. It became known as "hoecake" because field hands often cooked it on a shovel or hoe held to an open flame. [1]Hoes designed for cotton fields were large and flat with a hole for the long handle to slide through. The blade would be removed and placed over a fire much like a griddle."


              1. re: MMRuth

                , Interesting and educational!
                Thanks MMruth, for this historical 'factum'

                1. re: MMRuth

                  Hoecakes (along with boiled cabbage) appear in an old, traditional southern Appalchian song [I posted a refrain earlier; but it was deleted]. The song referenced what was once but is no longer a well known food.

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    Yes, that's a hoe cake. I'm almost 42years old but there were still cotton fields in Alabama that had sharecroppers picking the cotton. I was a child but the children worked too. I can remember my grandmother making the hoe cakes out in the fields but usually she would stay close to the cotton gin house and make them there. She would have them ready for us when we brought our sacks of cotton to the gin house. I learned how to make them on a hoe but now I make them in a cast iron skillet. Either way, you've got to have plenty of cane syrup to go with them!