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Black People : Slave Food Menu

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by Destee, Oct 5, 2002.

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  1. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    Hello Everyone,

    What were the "slave foods" that our folk were allowed to eat, that remain a part of our diet today?

    I know that chitterlings were and I'm imagining pig's feet would fit on this list too. I was surprised, shocked even, to learn that turnip and collard greens were "slave foods." I have heard in some countries today, they only feed greens to their animals because they are so bitter and tough (guess it takes a good cook to make those greens taste so good).

    As I think back, I remember those big, white buckets of lard. While I've not seen any in many years, I'd imagine they are still being bought and sold. Surely that's got to be a "slave food." What exactly was lard anyway?! A less refined cooking oil? I know that's how it was used ... but uuhhhh ... what was that stuff?

    I did mention pig feet above, and it seems we had access to all the undesirable parts of this animal. Even today, pork rinds (that's the skin of the pig, right?) are very popular snacks. I understand there is even a microwave version available today.

    Other than the above, I can't think of any other foods that were primarily given to slaves (and we still eat today).

    Do you know any?

    Also, what is the story on watermelon? Surely we weren't the only ones eating this sweet, juicy summer fruit. Why is it often used to refer to black folk in a negative way?

    There has been much debate regarding our general health and how it is linked to these foods and our choice to continue eating them. Your comments regarding this are welcome too.

    :heart:

    Destee
  2. Thandiwe

    Thandiwe Member MEMBER

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    sweet potatoes is the only other food i can think of right now.
  3. Thandiwe

    Thandiwe Member MEMBER

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    oh wait, what about cornbread...

    i remember some years ago a co-worker asked me why black people tend to eat alot of cornbread. my fellow black workers and i would talk about what we brought of had for lunch or dinner. red beans and rice also came up often.

    i didn't know the exact answer by i told her to all cultures probably had a easy, inexpensive bread they could eat, like hispanics and torillas.

    we all know that our grandparents could whip up some hot water cornbreak in minute, fried up in lard, of course.

    we do pass along many of the same foods and cooking techniques we used to survive in slavery days.

    as with red beans and rice. two foods with low cost and can feed an army.

    don't know about the association of watermelon. though i know a few black folx who won't eat it because of the negative images associated with our images. i do know that watermelon contains at least 95% of water and maybe some vitamin C. i can see how this food was very beneficial to us while working long hot days in the sun. could it be because it helped to keep us from dehydrating?
  4. UbZoRbShUn

    UbZoRbShUn Active Member MEMBER

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    interesting topic.... imma go see ifn' i can find something
  5. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    Hey Thandiwe and 'Zorbsh'n ... :wave:

    Thandiwe ... sweet potatoes ???!! ... really ??? ... wow ... now I know my grandfather used to have a baked sweet potatoe (or 2) with every meal ... yep ... shole did ... but why would they give this only to us ?? ... hmmmm ... probably because they were plentiful and cheap ... we all know how far a few potatoes can stretch a meal ...

    Speaking of potatoes, you know what else? Now I don't know how true this is ... but I've heard that slaves (and/or black folk living during jim crow) were not even allowed to say the word white. This is why our folk called white bread, light bread ... and white milk, sweet milk ... and white potatoes, ash potatoes. There may be other examples I'm not aware of and of course if you have any elderly folk in your family to ask ... you can let us know if this was true in their part of the country.

    LOL @ water cornbread ... :lol: ... we are surely some determined folk! Yep. I wouldn't have thought of cornbread but "water cornbread" certainly sounds like it belongs on the "slave food" menu.

    Thandiwe ... thanks for the explanation regarding the watermelon. It makes perfect sense! Based on your explanation, watermelons probably saved the lives of many slaves. Wow. Okay. That really makes sense. Perhaps others will add on as well.

    'Zorbsh'n ... I'll be looking forward to your input.

    Oh yeah ... one more thing just came to my mind! That hog head cheese stuff ... eeewwww ... but that's the pig and I guess I sorta already counted this.

    :heart:

    Destee
  6. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    Thandiwe ... agreeing with you on the "beans" item as well. Very filling and goes a long way.

    I'd like to add "neck bones" to our slave food menu ... shaking my head right now at how little meat this "meat" contains. Nothing but a big ol' hunk of bone. I know folk who use them today ... to season their greens and beans.

    :heart:

    Destee
  7. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    Okay Okay Okay ... here's a couple more ... salt pork and ham hocks! I see we are going to have to tear this pig down piece by piece!

    Salt pork was/is just a big ol' salty hunk of fat used for seasoning. Matter of fact, looks like that same hunk of white fat found in a can of "pork and beans" that nobody ever wants on their plate!

    Ham Hocks ... now what part of the pig does this come from? Talk about a hunk of fat ... whew! ... with a little bit of lean meat somewhere near the middle ... still used for seasoning foods (and eating whole I'm sure).

    :heart:

    Destee
  8. UbZoRbShUn

    UbZoRbShUn Active Member MEMBER

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    did a google search

    The food was generally adequate in bulk, but imbalanced and monotonous.

    *Typical food allowance was a peck of corn meal and three to four pounds of salt pork or bacon per week per person. This diet could be supplemented by vegetables from their gardens, by fish or wild game, and molasses (not usually).

    *The slaves prepared their own food and carried it out to the field in buckets.

    *Lack of variety and vitamins made the slaves susceptible to nutrition related diseases.

    cghs.dade.k12.fl.us/slavery/antebellum_slavery/ plantation_slave_life/health_mortality.htm

    In the traditional African diet, meat was used sparingly, although fish was abundant. It was a healthy way of eating, utilizing mostly fresh vegetables and grains. Meals were eaten as a community, thus giving rise to the tradition of story-telling and the recitation of oral history.


    Once forced from their homeland and sold into slavery, some of the same foods indigenous to Africa began growing in the southern parts of the United States. Some historians believe that the European traders brought these foods with them to grow; while others believe that the seeds were brought over by the African slaves themselves.


    During the cruel period of slavery, Africans did have to make do with the leftovers the white slave holders didn’t want. The tops of turnips and beets and dandelions replaced the leafy greens of home, and were cooked in lard to give them flavor. Each week, the slave owners gave out a few pounds of meat, molasses and corn meal, and the African women became very creative in making flavorful meals out of these paltry ingredients.

    www.suite101.com/article.cfm/appetizers/16133


    So yeah anything that was cheap they ate or anything massanem didn't want they ate .... so anyfood you can surmise as slave food right down to your ordinary run of the meal okra, tomato, taters and corn, because we did grow our own food. Gosh who'd a thunk it.
  9. Thandiwe

    Thandiwe Member MEMBER

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    Destee, i have heard the african brought the seeds for sweet pototoes with them.

    and LOL@ at the ham hocks and neck bones. now you know you can't resist sucking on a bone. it's amazing at the meat you can get off the bone. it was like a talent, a skill. and the "meat" from the pork and beans. :lol:

    my grandmother add a hamhock or neckbones to just about everything.

    good info ObZ, as we can tell from health stats and the numbers of black folx who suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes, and other diet related diseases, our way of eating hasn't changed much.
  10. $$RICH$$

    $$RICH$$ Administrator STAFF

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    eggs i think was one

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