Hello all! Okay so here is my take, mainly based on the African-American foodways of that time.
In honor of the the Fourth of July I wanted to share recipes I like – using a staple of African-American food experience, black-eye peas, greens and other ingredients. In fact, according to Herbert C. Covey who wrote a book called “What Slaves Ate: recollections of African American Foods and Foodways from Slave Narratives” slave even ate black-eyed peas on the slave ships from Africa to the Americas, along with peanuts, yams among others.
Not surprising the Fourth of July has historically been a somewhat controversial holiday for African-Americans. Many thought “Should we celebrate the freedom of America, when we do not have our own.” In fact in 1830 when many states in the South were not ending slavery African-Americans in New York and other Northern states began celebrating July 5th, as a protest to the continued bondage of African-Americans in this country.
But the early history of African-Americans though linked to slavery, is not exclusive to this fact not even at the time of revolution. Crispus Attucks, is considered to be the first casualty of the American Revolution, killed in the “Boston Massacre,” March 5, 1770.
Given that slavery in the Americas extended down to the Caribbean and South America, I wanted to pick a recipe that offered the flavor of the entire Americas. So enjoy and celebrate the freedom of America and the eventual freedom of the Black men and women who did so much to build this country.
Is as American as Apple Pie! I think it even came before Apple Pie. The Native Americans had been harvesting corn for literally thousands of years before the Europeans arrived. And on arrival if the reports are to be believed (and I believe them) they were eating corn bread as served up by the Native Americans.
Slaves were often given a portion of food for the week, such as cornmeal, pork and vegetables. They created dishes with these “new” ingredients and with foods they were already familiar such as peanuts, yams, okra, and black-eyed peas. With cornmeal they created dishes like hush puppies as well as corn bread.
I cannot think of a time of the year were cornbread is not welcome. However in my mind Thanksgiving and Fourth of July would not be official until I have had some corn bread.
1 stick of butter
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
2 medium eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon of pepper
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Use a iron skillet or a 9″ pan and put the butter in the pan, place the pan in the oven. Put the pan into the oven at 400° – the butter will melt and heat the pan.
In a large bowl combine the buttermilk, eggs, salt, pepper and salt. Stir very well to combine all the ingredients. Pour in the melted butter but leave a portion of the butter in the pan. Stir again, well. Finally add the cornmeal, flour and baking soda. Whisk it to add the dry ingredients and make sure the batter is well mixed. Pour the batter into the hot skillet or pan. Bake the cornbread at 400° for about 25 minutes. It will be golden brown and the edges will pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove the pan from the oven – let cool a minute (if you can wait) should make 6-10 slices.