Black History Month

The Winter Olympics interfered with my ability to watch a bunch of videos I wanted to watch for this month.  But I finally got them done, and it was fascinating.  I mostly focused on the history of food and drink as this is particularly fascinating to me.  So here is what I watch and listened to in order (in case someone else is interested).

This video represents an enslaved cook named Caesar at Stratford Hall Plantation

This was a fascinating presentation on the history of the Black Women in the Kitchen by Dr. Sephira Bailey Shuttlesworth, PhD.  She describes black women cooking for white people for the whole history of this country. I had always assumed that I never had slave owners in my family as we are immigrants since the Civil War and/or from the North.  I even have a great-great grandfather that fought for the North and ultimately died of his war wounds. But this statement got me wondering since I do have direct ancestors from before the Revolutionary War when slavery was legal in all of the colonies.  So maybe I have slaveholders in my ancestry.  I know as a white person I have benefited from the wealth created off of the practice of slavery but to be a direct ancestor would be freaky for me. Maybe the slaves’ ancestors carry the same name.  Maybe we share some genetics.  It certainly got me thinking, and I have some research to do.


Next was a depiction of a Pepper Pot Woman in Philadelphia.  I made an oxtail paper pot but didn’t like it.  I probably did it wrong.

This next video started slowly due to technical issues, but it was a powerful discussion about “Stories Lived and Told Through African-American Food”.  At around 50 minutes  there is an amazing discussion of food inequalities.

The next video is a hearth cooking demonstration recorded in Crailo State Historic Site’s cellar kitchen and presented by culinary historian, hearth cook, and Interpreter of African American History, Lavada Nahon about the foods found by Peter Kalm’s in his early travels in America


Next was a discussion while cooking a gumbo soup about the history of African American cooking and eating.


Next was a video about the history of James Deming and his tremendous contributions to American food including macaroni and cheese and ice cream.  Amazing story!


The next video was about the book “Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019”.  The stories provide were interesting, and I would like to get this book to read more of them.

Next was an incredible lecture by Toni Tipton-Martin about her book, “Inside the Jemima Code: The Joy of African American Cooking.”  She looked at the demeaning stereotypes of black kitchen servants and found into inspirational and powerful models of culinary wisdom and cultural authority.


Next was video with cocktail making and a review of the black involvement in alcohol production and marketing.  I intend to get the ingredients and rewatch this to make the cocktails.  They sound really good.  Plus I want to support the black owned distilleries that she mentions, rather than the multinational corporations.


Next is the black history of BBQ in the USA.  I think I may have watched this before.


This is a history of black women in Creole cooking.


Next is a podcast about some history of America’s black bartenders with some really sad stories.

But one was a happier tale in the tale of Tom Bullock who wrote The Ideal Bartender which is readily available to read.

Next is a video of the Bob Dylan song, ” The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll”, one of the sad stories.

Finally I made West African Groundnut Stew for dinner.  It is based on the Jubilee cookbook which is the follow up book to the  Jemima Code.  It was really good.

So that was my brief delve into black history, I learned a lot, but there is so much more.  I did focus on the profound impact black Americans have had on the foods and drinks of this country.  It is an incredible history that needs to be remembered as well as the rest of black history.

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6 Responses to Black History Month

  1. What a lovely research project Donna! I will bookmark this and savor your offerings!

  2. Michelle says:

    How interesting! I listened to the audio version of “Frederick Douglass,” the Pulitzer Prize winning history, in February.

  3. Jeanne says:

    That’s interesting! Was there a special reason you sent two copies?
    I really admire our black people.

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