Black People : What's Cook'n?

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by sundiata, Jun 10, 2003.

  1. sundiata

    sundiata Member MEMBER

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    favorite foods? how is this made? what's in that? how to prepare? the origin and market of? are you a gourmet? or a gourmand? fine dining? so you want to be a gourmet? mamma cooked? new afrikan world cusine? pasport to healthy eating!

    O.K. Beloved, here's a little sump'm sump'm i've been playing around with. a short story.

    JOOP
    A somewhat fictious tale of taste buds from up on high.


    Mama was an exceedingly great chef. We were quite poor in the rural West Virginia autumn of 1937, but my stomach knew nothing of it. It is this sweet, savory, and loving memory, of mama’s spirit, grace, and beauty, and of her overwhelming talent in the kitchen, that was curried in my adult life into the knowledge that she had actually pro-offered to trade her knowledge with her neighbors, relatives, and friends, for a frequently disregarded, often quietly whispered bottom pot indiscretion. These were the common ‘drippings from the pan’, and she taught us that this is where the entire flavor resides, from meals sometimes improperly prepared. Invariably, she would take the results of the lack of skill of the many people she mentored about food and cooking, only to transform it into a notoriously delicious, and eagerly anticipated, new meal for her family. It became a baked rice dish, with savory kale, quietly minced caramelized lilies, and usually beans, served infrequently with a variety of meats and gravy, sautéed vegetables with hearty sweet breads, or delicate yeast rolls. It was a holiday of love, and we called it Joop.

    Many a potential chef came to mentor at my mother’s door. During her lifetime, she must have worked as a cook, for a dozen rural rich White families, and papa kept up every harvest, to cloth and educate his huge tight-knit family of six boys, and five girls. My father’s voracity and skill as a sharecropper, meant an abundance of food cleverly passed beyond the knowledge of a venal, condescending and often rather deceitful landlord. Under many an early August moon, we would return a piece of the harvest to the earth, and papa had us four boys diligently at work, behind the house at night, in mamas bountiful garden, often out there, two and four in the morning, pulling up the earth, and digging graves, some huge enough to carry a casket. Here, we would bury some of his diligent labor. Momma would wrap bundles of the harvest in heavy burlap, and together, under the witness of a quiet southern summer sky, papa would nurture his sons to the ways of the world, and we would pave a healthy nutritious winter for our family. His energy and determination to feed cloth, and educate his family, only grew immensely stronger on the morning that they found the charred body of Samuel Nell, a father of four, dangling from a tree, in hopeless surrender, but two miles outside the county line. His body, morbidly absent of numerous treasured limbs, which now hung like trinkets in the homes of many. We received a postcard that very same morning, full of White faces, men women and children, laughing, their faces electrically charged as if in a bizarre sexual glee, it read: “We had a picnic last night, wish you were here!” Papa secured our home. After dinner, mama sat all eleven of us, from four to eighteen years of age, down around her feet, and she told us that this life would surely be a bit hard for us, because although this virus remained unchecked, all White people were really not like this. She implored us to be diligent and to be prudent in our lives.

    We were sharecroppers, and we definitely were poor, but I’ve never known of a family that ate better than we did. During late summer, mama would organize her factory of six women together, and they would fill her pantry with canned fruits and vegetables, chutneys, and mouth-watering preserves. We would have baskets of bread in the center of the dinner table, topped with a dollop of freshly made sweet potato butter. During those very times when the family as a unit, seemed to grow together discouraged, we would have Joop. Her most enthusiastic apprentice, I would watch her, as she gave life to some thick and syrupy marsh of food sediment, carefully scraped from the bottom of someone else’s pan. She would carefully remove any charred sediment, and put these small chips back into the stock. A slowly caramelizing mirepoix, three parts onion, and one part each of carrot and celery, topped with braised bones of meat, and a bouquet garni of cracked peppercorns, fresh parsley, bay leaf, and thyme. Over this, ice-cold water would come to a slow rolling boil, and then cooled down to a quiet reflective simmer. Often for hours, she would use this same ‘fume’, sometimes distinctly flavored with tomato, mushroom, or maybe roasted garlic, as a poaching liquid, for other parts of the feast; sentencing it thereafter, two parts to the whole, strained over the rice, in a clay earthen dish. Sometimes she would immediately put the bounty of meats and fresh vegetables and tomatoes, directly into the rice in a 400-degree oven, until it devoured all of its liquid, at other times, she would just toss them all together at the end.. After turning off the oven, mama would take her long fork and fluff the rice before covering it for seven minutes again. No matter what her audience, it was often at this time, as she hovered over her stove, that mama would quietly draw a long breath of air into her nose, and hurrying those aromas along with the wave of her hand, mama would look inquisitively into the rice pot, and no matter how often we heard it, as if in possession of a secret beholden to all, momma would quietly tell us, that she was going to go back, and get some of our Ancestors, and bring them into the house.
     
  2. sundiata

    sundiata Member MEMBER

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    NCROBRA RECEPTION

    O.K. Beloved, let’s get to the food. i just had a wonderful day pre-shopping for a reception to be held this friday. we are doing the food and the buffet.
    red, black, and green nachos with guacamole and humus
    tobuli,
    Cous cous (garlic and tomato)
    Spicy chicken sausage jambalaya (somebody spell that one for me)
    Rice salad
    International bean salad
    Black bean egg rolls with peppered homemade mango chutney
    Sliced melon and pineapple
    Whole fruit
    My journey took me of course, to the south decalb farmers market first, notoriously supreme here in Atlanta, and then to the 1st Oriental Market on ponce de leon right up the street from it. whole foods will be tommorrow. i've passed the oriental market for years and only today did i venture inside. i was gone! my initial purpose was spring roll wrappers and nothing more. i found a good selection, of bamboo sushi rollers for two dollars. had to have it. my bamboo steamers where they’re as well, plus anything i could imagine to play out my love for oriental preparations and flavors.
    this was a trip about legumes, beans of different shapes colors and textures. you see, i am making the black bean egg rolls, a bean salad, and a bean and rice dish. so what do you think the theme of this reception will be? let me first now alay the untoward rumor about beans. you must first clean them properly, and then, you must soak the hell out of them (24 hours),and then you mus cook the hell out of them. i found beans from all over the world. i found a brown chana bean. its either from afrika or china. a round afrikan yellow bean, a yellow peeled split mung bean from thiland, there is an oriental green wasabi bean, black eye peas and a black turtle bean. i have a tiny whole black urid bean from india that i shall use for the black bean egg rolls. my challenge is to keep them ‘al dente’ (‘to the bite’--or crisp), and see if i can come up with a filling that can incorporate a cabbage as well. i will be trying to catch up to the real inside texture of a spring roll. i don't want simply a bean mash inside of these. five gallons of a peppered clove simple chicken stock simmers as we speak. tomorrow i will pour cold stock over each individual species of bean, and let them soak over night. i like cumin, coriander, smoked turkey, and lots of garlic to flavor my beans. the bean salad will be made out of red, black, and green beans.
    now, my question to all of you. are any of you familiar with any of these beans? how well do you think they can all work together? any suggestions on the black bean rolls? i will pour through recipes tomorrow.




    -----------------
    'STAY BLACK!'
     
  3. NNQueen

    NNQueen going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    sundiata, the question you pose is interesting and what you describe sounds tasty, but unfortunately, I'm not a connisseur (sp) of beans (legumes). Oh, I like some, but I'm afraid that my tastebuds have not been awakened by many varieties such that I would call myself a lover of them.

    Black beans, red, lentil and navy are about as far as I've gotten in my life with beans that I like. I probably cook all the nutrients out of them because I like to let them slow simmer until they are very soft. Poured over either rice flavored with a bit of saffron or cooked with tomatoes, onions and green peppers, and that's about as far as I go.

    If you come up with interesting recipes, I look forward to reading more about legumes.

    :)
     
  4. sundiata

    sundiata Member MEMBER

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    legumes

    sista, there is quite a variety around the world. my journey doing this reception, became a journey around the world. i will post my discoveries a little latter. peace.
     
  5. sundiata

    sundiata Member MEMBER

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    Preparing the Food

    Beloved, after shopping for 50, my journey began on Wednesday morning at four a.m. I found a perfect space in-between the stove and refrigerator on the counter behind me, and there I placed a piece of African fabric, a candle, and various chopped fresh herbs and spices. Sandalwood oil for prosperity would fill the air. My culinary philosophy is Pan Afrikanism, which is Afrikan World Unionism. It is called New Afrikan World Cuisine, or simply Cuisine Noir.

    This was a story about legumes (beans and nuts), and I had found quite an interesting variety from around the world. I brought: Chana, a four-sided bean shaped like a nugget. It is somewhat brown and red, like the clay of Georgia. A beautiful yellow and green Oriental Wasabi Bean. A Yellow Chinese Peeled Spilt Mung Bean, that resembles egg barley when cooked, that I would eventually mistake for my Chana Dal Bean from India and put it instead into my guacamole, --opps sorry! There was a round fat African Yellow Bean that ended up having a great nutty bite to it, and I can already see a soup for it. There was another huge round Oriental Mung Bean that I would eventually discard. Elegant Garbanzo Beans from Whole Foods, are perfect for fresh hummus from scratch. Adzuki, Red and Black Beans look like a small pellets and are a perfect substitute for rice and beans. Whole Black Urid beans look like peppercorns and are great for salads. Black Turtle Beans for the spring rolls, Red Kidney Beans, and Black Eye Peas rounded out the list. In short there were thirteen beans as the basis of this menu, and they would be laid out across the counter in bowls. Each would be washed twice and then soaked for 26 hours in several re-wettings of cold water. Some with a higher fat content, like Black Turtle, Kidney, Chana Dal, and the African Yellow Bean, would have a last re-wetting of stock. It was important for me to see where this would all eventually go. I had done my research and shopped wisely, and now I was on a journey of discovery.

    Most beans carry a degree of gas, depending on their progeny and the type of soil in which they are grown. It was important for me to keep my eyes and ears open, especially during these first few hours, as this is the time at which these gases are usually released, unless of course they have been improperly prepared. Then it would be up to whomever consumes them, to release these gases themselves. This was primetime for me to discover more of the characteristics of each particular species of bean, in order for me to tailor my flavorings towards them. As they sat, I begin my ritual of washing, peeling, cutting up, soaking, caramelizing, and or roasting, all of the vegetables, sun dried tomatoes and mango, onions, and garlic. First the vegetable stock would go on, and this would be used mostly as a poaching liquid, and for the last wetting of a few of the beans. Before I could finish the first item, Pear Mango Chutney, I gave myself a nasty cut on my right ring finger, and the scary reality hit me, that I would be forced to complete the rest of this menu, within the next 56 hours, basically with one left hand, as I am right-handed.

    For me, there is something in the sound of mellow jazz music that simply makes it conducive to the solitude of cooking, especially in the wee hours of the morning. And, by the time that I would emerge from my kitchen two days later, a little tired and somewhat frazzled, I would discover a little more about myself, and about the world of food. The Wasabi bean that I was so curious about due to its sheer beauty, turned out to be the same Wasabi that I use when making sushi. It comes as a powder and is often erroneously called Japanese horseradish because of its smell. Without warning, it gave off a harsh horseradish odor, and I inadvertently poured off its liquid, only to immediately discover my mistake, in the process of discovering for myself how fresh Wasabi is prepared. The Oriental Yellow Bean cast off thick slimy syrup, and due to my lack of time, it too was gingerly cast aside. I now suspect that it is used in confections. Yet, here was indeed more success than failure. I created a Pear Mango Chutney that was to die for, exuding such an awesome fresh mango flavor. I developed my own signature Black Bean Egg Roll, lightly scented with sun- dried tomato and garlic, dried onions, adding an extra special crunch. My love for hummus has only blossomed in the face of those wonderfully fresh Garbanzo Beans sold at Whole Foods market. My own particular version is heavy on roasted garlic and lemon, and contains poppy seeds. I found a theme for a small buffet, and in the process of further expanding my culinary repertoire; I expanded my knowledge of legumes from around the world. I was always taught that the first rule about cooking beans is that you must first soak the hell out of them, and then cook the hell out of them. Yet, only in a couple of instances, did I find it necessary to cook them for an extended length of time. Most legumes, I preferred ‘al dente’ (crisp-‘to the bite!’) just as I do most vegetables. The secret is really in the soaking process. Making sure that you are constantly pouring off and changing the ice-cold water or stock, as this will carry the gases away with it. In all, I prepared fritters, rice, salad, salsa, and dip, all made from beans, for a small intimate gathering of fifty people, and nobody had to fan an ill wind.
     
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