These are actually beans even though they are called peas. They are of light-tan color with a black eye in the center. Black-eyed peas are related to cow peas or field peas that are native to Africa. Cows ate the stems and vines after the corn crops had been picked. Tradition has it that eating black-eyed peas on New Year's Day will bring good luck.
Chitterlings or chitlins are an African American culinary tradition. Chitterlings are the small intestines of a pig that must be cleaned very well before they are cooked.
Corn (maize) was ground into cornmeal for cornbread. There are variations like hoecakes and hush puppies. Cracklin' or crackling bread is a cornbread with bits of fried pork and fat. It was common to use a skillet to make cornbread crispier.
Some common greens in West Africa include okra and akatewa (a kind of spinach). Other greens are collard, mustard, turnip, and kale.
Okra is the main ingredient in Gumbo, a spicy stew or soup that is tradition in Louisiana. Other ingredients frequently used include vegetables mixed with chicken, pork, shrimp, or crawfish. The stew is thickened with okra or powder from sassafras leaves. Gumbo and other types of Creole cuisine have its origins from the colonial era. The cuisine is a blend of African, Native American, and European cuisine. The word "gumbo" comes from the African word for the vegetable okra, quingombo.
Slave families used molasses to sweeten food and beverages. Blackstrap molasses, a very dark molasses, was a tradition in African American cooking. It is made by slowly cooking the juice of sugar cane. Sorghum syrup, similar to molasses, is also made by cooking the juice of the sorghum plant. It is believed that the slaves brought sorghum seeds from Africa and grew it in the south.
The same as groundnuts in Africa. The Portuguese brought peanuts to Africa. Slaves used peanuts to make peanut pie and peanut soup.
Africans from West Africa, a rice growing region, were brought to the south to work in the rice plantations of South Carolina.
Yams are not really sweet potatoes. In the south, however, sweet potatoes are frequently referred to as Louisiana yams. West African yams are actually tubers that are more similar to potatoes than sweet potatoes.
Watermelon as we know it today was cultivated from the native African vine Citrullus lanatus. It may be eaten as a dessert or used in recipes to make pickled watermelon rind or preserves. The sweet juice of the watermelon may be boiled down to make a syrup. In the deserts where watermelons grow, the juice is used as a substitute for water during droughts.
Published 1866 by Malinda Russell
Believed to be first work by an African American author devoted solely to cookery.