Slave Cuisine

I am looking for inspiration in the form of a meal that the slaves would have had. I have done the fatback and ho cakes, I have made turnip greens over the fire. I need something fresh, something inventive, something that does not include the innards of a pig!

We have various recipes that we use today that had to come from somewhere, and soul food is often thought to be the cuisine of the enslaved, so as I am interpreting, why can’t I jazz things up a bit. Perhaps the slave cook would have tested a recipe out for her own family before serving it to those who owned her, after all, her access to different foods would have been greater than those who were in the fields. I think it’s time that we’ve expanded our thoughts of the slave diet and made it into something more.

For the garden that I am starting, I have patty pan squash. I will admit I did not know what patty pan squash (also known as scallop squash) was until it became a crop on FarmVille. Now that this is something that I will potentially harvest (potentially because I am praying I don’t kill it first), I need to know how to cook it, what to do with it and figure out what the slaves would have done with it. Sure I can handle cabbage and greens, but patty pan? Looks like I will be doing a lot of experimenting at home this summer. Various trips to the farmers market just to insure that I know what I’m doing as well as the incorporation of some Saturday/Sunday activities that the slaves would have participated in seem to be my work. I am excited about this aspect of the job as I have somewhat mastered cooking simple dishes over a fire but now it’s time to step it up. I would love to hear back with any suggestions of readings and ideas. Post away!

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1 Response

  1. Bundle Brent says:

    Hey, you know, there's a woman who currently lives in Scotland, Peggy Brunache, who specializes in African American foodways. She's a historical archaeologst and she also has a blog (Adventures in Negroshire, located at I'm sorry I don't have better contact info; I know she hasn't updated her blog in a while, but she might be a good contact?

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