Juneteenth is a significant US holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the country. It is celebrated every year on June 19th and is a poignant reminder of the struggles and triumphs of African Americans. This holiday provides an opportunity for reflection, education, and community building, as people come together to honor the legacy of those who fought for freedom and equality.
The cuisine of the enslaved varied by location and culture but often included food from the land and harvested items. Check out these food items that influenced American cuisine today.
At times, enslaved people had to make lemonade with less than lemons. Enslaved people took hominy and Indian corn and made grits. Grits, a dish made from ground corn, is similar to eba, a dish prepared in Africa. Today, grits are enjoyed in diverse ways, such as in breakfast dishes or as a side dish with seafood.
Cowpeas, or black-eyed peas, evolved as a well-known dish in southern parts of the United States. The peas traveled with enslaved people from their nation on the ship. George Washington documented in a letter in 1791 that food was rarely grown in Virginia. He then purchases 40 bushels of seeds for farming on his plantation. Black-eyed peas became a popular crop consumed in the South and are said to be good luck if consumed during the New Year.
In the African language, Jambalya, called Bantu tshimbolebole, is a tender, cooked corn dish. An African-influenced dish that is relatively similar to gumbo. The dish is still prepared in many parts of New Orleans. It was brought to Louisiana by Africans from the Kongo.
the enslaved were the innovative force behind the art of barbequing and America’s obsession with smoke and sauce. On plantations, enslaved people cooked most of the meat for planters’ tables.
Collard greens were one of the vegetables enslaved African-Аmericans were allowed to grow for themselves and their families. After enslaved people were emancipated in the late 1800s, cooked greens were a comfort in the African-American culture.
By the mid-18th century, rice planters provided monthly potions of rice, which relieved the enslaved people despairing food search. After their day was completed, Africans stretched these rations of rice by growing subsistence crops in their private garden area.
Archaeologists have recovered detailed information on living conditions during the period of slavery. Findings include information on housing, use of space, foodways, household equipment, personal possessions, and sometimes health care and hygiene information. Some records kept by planters on food, clothing, and other allotments augment the archaeological discoveries.
African cooks who prepared the “Main House” feasts presented their native foods to the planters, eventually influencing the African culinary taste of the Main House. African cooks introduced deep fat frying, a cooking technique from Africa. Today, people appreciate the taste and traditions of different foods considered slave foods.