Fine Wine and Dr. King

Three men from different backgrounds and strongly differing beliefs met totally by chance on a rainy evening in Atlanta. While sipping fine wine the wide divide in their beliefs did not disappear, but for a time, Jim Sander’s hospitality and a mutual enjoyment of the wine bound them together in pleasant conversation, and a little known but historic meeting passed into history.

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Preserving the Tradition of African American New Year Eats

blackeyed peas over rice

Black-eyed peas over saffron Rice.  Photo by Crystal Johnson

African American New Year’s Eats face a stigma.  Much of the younger African Americans, the yuppies and hipsters realize the food isn’t healthy and there seems to be a resentment about the traditional foods being the leftover grub for Black folks during the slavery days in the United States.  As an African American who grew up in New York as a 70’s child to parents from the south, I have an appreciation for the traditional foods of our history.

Food is correlated to history.  For the first time in years my dad prepared for me what I would call a Soul Food dinner.  The flavors were altered a bit with his age being in the 70’s.   There is a consciousness about blood pressure and salt.  Traditionally, the traditional pig feet and collard greens are  foods laddened with salt.

Pig feet

Pig Feet prepared by Carl Johnson.  Photo by Crystal Johnson

Pig feet are normally drenched in vinegar yet my dad’s gourmet take steered away from the vinegar.  I say pour it on.  It helps cut back the fat anyway.  He put before me Pig feet, chitterlings and black peas over rice.    Let’s talk about the chittlin’s .  A whiff nearly knocked out and brought me back to age 10.  The aroma is the substance of history and tradition.  Chitterlings as they are properly called are the pig’s intestines.  The undesirable parts of the pig were left to the slaves.  Thus, it is understandable that many blacks today take offense maintaining a tradition of eating something we don’t have to eat.

My father also included in the menu, cornbread.  However, he got fancy by putting it in the shape of a rose.  Now I can tell you my dad proudly presented these dishes with love and appreciation of our history.  He prepared these dishes in a way that you may find it in a fine restaurant.   He also prepared the most delicious pressure cooked collard greens lightly seasoned with white pepper.  There was no pot liquor to be found.  Pot liquor is the leftover liquid from collard greens.  Mom used to talk about that when I was a child.  You couldn’t find much historical record of pot liquor when I was a child.  I almost thought it was an old wise tale but today with the internet more of the history of African Americans moving form oral to written history.  Today, we also know the nutrients of collard greens and kale was a healthful blessing to our diet.

chitterlings

Chitterlings aka “Chittlin’s” Photo by Crystal Johnson

I guess what I want people to walk away is there is room to embrace our historic food traditions.  It may involve leaving some of the menu items off or merely changing the preparation.   But in a culture that has tried to stay alive, let’s preserve some of our culinary traditions.   Many cultures around the world maintain food traditions which symbolize oppression as a remembrance.  Maybe preparation of these foods can be a way of recalling Black history in America as we build our way toward a brighter tomorrow.

History of the Hoppin John Bowl

Hoppin-john-bowl.JPG

“Hoppin-john-bowl” by Srjenkins – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

The origins of the name are uncertain; one possibility is that the name is a corruption of the Haitian Creole term for black-eyed peas: pois pigeons(pronounced: [pwapiˈʒɔ̃]).

The Oxford English Dictionary’s first reference to the dish is from Frederick Law Olmsted‘s 19th century travelogue, A Journey in the Seaboard Slave States(1861).[7] However, a recipe for “Hopping John” in The Carolina Housewife by Sarah Rutledge,[8] which was published in 1847, is also cited as the earliest reference.[9] An even earlier source is Recollections of a Southern Matron,[10]which mentions “Hopping John” (defined, in a note, as “bacon and rice”) as early as 1838.[11]

Hoppin’ John was originally a Low Country food before spreading to the entire population of the South. Hoppin’ John may have evolved from rice and bean mixtures that were the subsistence of enslaved West Africans en route to the Americas.[12] Hoppin’ John has been further traced to similar foods in West Africa,[9] in particular the Senegalese dish,thiebou niebe.[13]

One tradition common in the U.S. is that each person at the meal should leave three peas on their plate to ensure that the New Year will be filled with luck, fortune and romance. Another tradition holds that counting the number of peas in a serving predicts the amount of luck (or wealth) that the diner will have in the coming year. On Sapelo Island in the community of Hog Hammock, Geechee red peas are used instead of black-eyed peas. Sea Island red peas are similar.[14]

Film and Foodie Review: War Room

War Room Poster

The Film: If you are Christian this a film that may renew your faith and if you agnostic you might find real hope.  War Room is a faith based film by the successful producer, the Kendrick brothers.  This dynamic duo have created small budget films with the hope of providing a bigger picture for people.  War Room is the next in a series films including Fireproof, Facing the Giants or Courageous by the Kendrick brothers.

War Room on a basic level is about a couple with marital problems but when they both dig deeper they find that they are more than war with each other.  Prayer is the the much needed weapon to save their lives.  This is a very touching film.  I witnessed people pull out tissue and wipe their eyes.  It is a great family film.  The movie features as the lead actress, Priscilla Shirer Christian Inspirational teacher/speaker.  How does she fair in the acting departing?  She does pretty well for her first crack at this.  Having seen the movie twice, I can recognize the lack of range in expression at times.  Nevertheless, the movie doesn’t suffer for it.- Review by Crystal A. Johnson

Click for Peanut Butter Hot Fudge Sundae

The Food:  Well, this film provides us with two great options.  When in theaters, make sure you go to a coffee house or an ice cream shop because you may find yourself with plenty to talk about.

Beyonce to Launch a Vegan Delivery Meal Service

In 2013 Beyoncé and her husband, Jay Z, decided to try a vegan challenge. The diet stuck and now Beyoncé is turning her 'Beyonce: Life Is But A Dream' New York Premierevegan passion into a business.

The singer has teamed up with her trainer Marco Borges to launch a new vegan meal delivery service called  22 Days Nutrition. The name was inspired by the belief that it takes 21 days to break a bad habit. Bey has added a day.

“The program’s philosophy is based on the concept that it takes 21 days to make or break a habit and on the 22nd day you are well on your way to forming new habits,” says a statement. The meal plan is targeted to those who want to lose weight, cook less or simply “experience a whole new way of eating.”

– See more at: http://madamenoire.com/508351/tasty-delights-beyonce-launch-vegan-meal-delivery-service/#sthash.agZIEYiy.dpuf

Baltimore: Black Owned Restaurants & Eateries

Why would anyone want to know what is a Black owned business?  Unfortunately, Blacks in America still fight stereotypes about being lazy people on welfare waiting to collect a check and food stamps. Moreover, even many Black youth don’t identify with existence of successful Black owners right in their community.  Their perspective still may be limited to having to be a superstar or athlete in order to own a business.

In case you did not know Baltimore is one of the mostly highly Black populated cities in America.  The current mayor is an African American woman.   Not only are restaurants listed below Black owned but they are doing it with excellence, style and of course good taste.

Restaurant/Eateries 

The Neely’s Creamed Collard Greens

Creamed collard greens

A few years I got the opportunity to interview Patrick and Gina Neely of the Food Network and we talked about a variety of things.  Among the recipes mentioned, was creamed collard greens.  I tried this recipe and it has been a winner for me. It puts a spin on the classic African American preparation of collards and gives a robust earthy taste to what would be the typical creamed spinach.

Ingredients

4 bunches collard greens, tough stems and ribs removed
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 large shallots, minced
2 cups heavy cream
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Click for Directions

See MCCN Editor’s Interview with the Neely’s. 

The Multi-Cultural Nicole Richie

Nicole

Moment from “The Simple Life” Paris (R) Nicole (L)

She grabbed the attention of millions along with buddy Paris Hilton on the reality show entitled, “The Simple Life.”     She is the adopted daughter of  legendary African American pop singer Lionel Richie and Paris Hilton the descendant of the famous Hilton Family hotel industry owners.   When Nicole and Paris shared a glimpse of their lives as socialites trying to do manual labor it was an overnight sensation especially because reality TV was in its infancy.    Recently, Richie has returned to public life onscreen with her Aol Huffington Post series, “Candidly Nicole” which has moved to television

Her Ethnic Background

According to several sources including Aceshowbiz.com,   Nicole is said to be of  Black,Caucasian  and Mexican ethnicity, Nicole was born on September 21, 1981 in Berkeley, California. Given the name Nicole Camilla Escovedo, she is the biological daughter of a Latin musician named Peter Michael Escovedo III (related to Sheila E.) and an anonymous backstage female assistant of Lionel Richie during his world tour in 1980. Raised alone by Escovedo who was also a member of Richie’s band, little Nicole spent most of her time on the backstage and studio since her father often took her along by his side.
As Richie gradually grew a deep affection toward Nicole, the three-years-old girl was taken to live with this famous musician and his first wife, Brenda Harvey, under Escovedo’s approval. She was legally adopted at the age of nine by the couple for …(READ MORE)

Read more: http://www.aceshowbiz.com/celebrity/nicole_richie/biography.html#ixzz38PLd4wKq

Juneteenth Menu Guide and Recipes

 

Juneteenth

Long overdue but MCCN is providing a menu guide and recipe in hopes that you will recognize juneteenth.  What is Juneteenth? Though Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, with an effective date of January 1, 1863, it had minimal immediate effect on most slaves’ day-to-day lives, particularly in Texas, which was almost entirely under Confederate control. Texas was resistant to the Emancipation Proclamation, and though slavery was very prevalent in East Texas, it was not as common in the Western areas of Texas, particularly the Hill Country, where most German-Americans were opposed to the practice. Juneteenth commemorates June 18 and 19, 1865. (READ MORE)

 

Influence for cuisine are primarily soul food meets the southern style cuisine of Texas.  We also opted to add some health conscience choices.* Look for the asterick.  Click on menu choices for the recipe.

Appetizers/Sides

Veggies

Meat/Poultry/Seafood

Frogmore stew

 

Meats

sweet_potato_pie

Desserts

iced_tea

Drinks

Top Ten Black Comic Book Heroes Of All Time

greenlantern

There are at least 5 heroes who go by the name Green Lantern. The third is John Stewart, the African-american Green Lantern.

In the past decade the has been an influx of Black Super Heroes on the screen.  Some are African American and other are Afro Latino but all are out of this world.  Comics have become more savvy.   X-men, the trailblazing comic book, has added several African and African-American characters over the last decade, for example.

Falcon

Falconomic books have become more saavy than ever. X-men, the trailblazing comic book, has added several African and African-American characters over the last decade, for example. These aren’t just black people with superpowers, these are educated luminaries with powerful gifts to change the world or destroy it. They aren’t just juiced-up mega humans; they are in a sense, demi-gods. Intelligent, well-written, off-the-cuff and ultra-powerful.

Read and See More of Comic Book Heroes