Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Black Panthers Through the Lens of Food

Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale on the far right enjoying a cake in celebration of his birthday.
I did research at Stanford University using the Hughey P. Newton Papers.  A Louisiana native, Newton first organized the the Black Panther Party for Self Defense (BPP) with the help of Texas Native Bobby Seale. The collection includes documents BPP's food related business ideas, grocery bag food giveaways as part of a voter registration drive, and a bar and grill it operated. I learned from searches on the topic that sources on the Panthers for grades 4 to 8 are non-existent. I'm now working on filling that gap through the lens of food on different platforms. For example, Seale learned barbecue pit mastering craft from his uncle back in Texas. He used those skills to raise money for the Panthers. Seale has published a barbecue cookbook. See the link for the book and additional stories on the BBP below. 

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Black Panther Party Stories and Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Black+Panthers

Feeding the Revolution Series:   http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Feeding+the+Revolution


Barbeque’n with Bobby Seale: http://www.bobbyqueseale.com/

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Basil Paterson and New York Food and Politics Part 2

Sylvia's, a legendary soul-food restaurant in Harlem, New York (courtesy of the Library of Congress)
In doing research for my forthcoming book Upsetting the Apple Cart: Black-Latino Coalitions in New York City from Protest to Public Office (Columbia University Press, October 2014), I interviewed Harlem native, former NAACP Harlem branch president, CORE member, politician, and 1199 attorney Basil Paterson. He died on April 16, 2014. During the interview I asked him the question why the opposition movement in the city choice David Dinkins as their candidate to run against the once popular incumbent mayor Ed Koch in the democratic primary?  Paterson told me that labor leaders met at a New York restaurant after Jackson won New York City’s (NYC) Democratic primary for President but lost New York State in 1988. Labor viewed Jackson’s NYC victory as a democratic opening and wanted Paterson run against Koch. “I no longer had the interest and I also thought what I believed, the guy you need to induce to run is David Dinkins,” said Paterson, “David did not offend anybody. I know I had” as the former president of the Harlem NAACP and member of CORE in during the civil rights movement.

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David Dinkins Stories & Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=David+Dinkins+


Harlem Stories With Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Harlem


NAACP Stories & Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=NAACP

CORE Stories & Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/2013/08/oral-histories-food-and-1963-march-on.html

Basil Paterson New York Times Obituary: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/18/nyregion/basil-a-paterson-harlem-leader-and-father-of-a-governor-dies-at-87.html?_r=0

Basil Paterson New York Daily News Obituary: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/basil-paterson-father-gov-david-paterson-dead-87-article-1.1759472

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Basil Paterson and New York Food and Politics Part 1

Left to right: Media Mogul Percy Sutton, Manhattan Borough President David Dinkins and his wife, Basil Paterson, and State Senator Leon Bogues at a 1199 political fund raising dinner (Photo Courtesy of 1199). 
Harlem native, former NAACP Harlem branch president, CORE member, politician, and 1199 attorney Basil Paterson died on April 16, 2014. Between 2008 and 2012 I interviewed him along with more than fifty others for my forthcoming book Upsetting the Apple Cart: Black-Latino Coalitions in New York City from Protest to Public Office (Columbia University Press, October 2014). Paterson opened arranged interviews for me with former New York City Mayor Dinkins and his campaign manager and later chef of staff Bill Lynch. In part the book reveals the influence of Jessie Jackson’s presidential campaigns on city elections and offers a different interpretation of the story of the labor and civil rights movements than has been traditionally told. It highlights largely unknown agents of historic change in the city and the noted political insiders like Paterson, Dinkins, and Lynch. The book also discusses the role that food plays in organizing and raising support for elected officials such as Dinkins in 1989. Until Bill De Blasio’s win in fall of 2013, Dinkins had been the last Democratic elected mayor of the Big Apple. Like Chicago, registered democratic voters in New York City out number republican voters almost 6 to 1. Part 2 tomorrow.

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David Dinkins Stories & Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=David+Dinkins+

Bill De Blasio Stories & Recipes:  http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Bill+De+Blasio+

Harlem Stories & Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Harlem

Basil Paterson New York Times Obituary: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/18/nyregion/basil-a-paterson-harlem-leader-and-father-of-a-governor-dies-at-87.html?_r=0

Basil Paterson New York Daily News Obituary: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/basil-paterson-father-gov-david-paterson-dead-87-article-1.1759472

Monday, April 21, 2014

Planting and Eating From Your Garden Part 4

Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew, recipe below
During the Civil War Samuel H. Sprott served in the Fortieth Alabama Regiment of the confederate army. He had this to say about food supplies lines during the war: “There is no reason why there should not have been an abundance of meal, sweet potatoes, dried fruit, fresh pork, fat cattle” and other food items delivered to soldiers in camp, “brought in either by water or rail,” he says. “But the Commissary Department, one of the most important branches of the government, was badly managed throughout the entire war.” As result as the war continued confederate soldiers survived on foraged foods like sweet potatoes to supplement their rations. 

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Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew recipe: http://www.thedailygreen.com/healthy-eating/recipes/5074

Gourds and Tubers Series: http://frederickdouglassopie.blogspot.com/search?q=Gourds+and+Tubers+Series

Eating From Your Garden Series with Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Eating+From+Your+Garden+This+Fall

Garden Tips from Ohio: [Listen Now 53 min 58 sec]  http://beta.wosu.org/allsides/harvesting-the-summer-garden-and-other-tips-for-gardening/

Saturday, April 19, 2014

This Week’s Best Foodways and Food History

Professor of History and Foodways Frederick Douglass Opie of Babson College shares his favorite mp3 downloads and documentaries on Passover and Easter.
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Eat Feed Easter Specials:


Sophisticated, Easy Easter: Listen Now [25 min 50 sec] http://www.eatfeed.com/wp-content/uploads/podcasts/Easter.mp3



Good Food’s Easter and Pastor Over Special: Listen Now [57 min 35 sec] http://www.kcrw.com/etc/programs/gf/gf130323butter_carving_the_l

A Chief’s Table Easter Specials:




Friday, April 18, 2014

Food Experts Talk About The Easter Table

Butchering meat in Florida. Great Depression Era Photo (Courtesy of the Library of Congress)
Food Experts Bryant Terry and Fred Opie Discuss Food and The Easter Table [Listen Now 10 min 4 sec] http://n.pr/1ncnufD

A Fresh Take on Easter: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/16/dining/a-fresh-take-on-easter.html?smid=tw-nytdining&_r=1

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Easter Stories and Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=easter

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Planting and Eating From Your Garden Part 2


Tomato Pie, recipe below  
While on family trip to Vermont we stopped at a small village cafe that served a tomato dish I had never had before, tomato pie. It may sound strange to some, but it was awesome! The pie reminded me of the ingenuity that people employed in the kitchen to survive using garden vegetables during the Great Depression. In 1933 the Federal National Relief Agency (NRA) distributed food to families which many used to supplement their diets during the Depression. Singer and song writer Nina Simone’s father worked as a NRA truck-driver in North Carolina delivering food. Drivers received extra food to take home and built a network in which they could trade NRA food and what they raised in abundance in their subsistence gardens at home including “collard greens, string beans, tomatoes” with drivers who had “more sugar or flour than they needed” recalls Simone. 

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Lenten Season Series with Related Recipes: 
http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Lenten+Season

Easter Stories and Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=easter

Tomato Pie Recipe: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/tomato_pie/

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Planting and Eating From Your Garden Part 1

Between the 17th and 19th centuries some 50,000 enslaved Africans disembarked on the island of Cuba. Born in Cuba 1860, Esteban Montejo experienced slavery first-hand and observed the many strategies enslaved people used to survive including cultivating community gardens. Cutting the rations allocated to slaves, especially in the sugar producing regions of Louisiana, Brazil, and the Caribbean represented a common strategy masters/employers took to reduce their expenses. Esteban says it was the small gardens "that saved many slaves" from starvation "providing them real nourishment" thus most had a garden plot that they maintained when they had the space to do so.  They raised food for their tables and sold what they raised on Sunday market days when they did not have to work for their masters. I thought about this food strategy and something I heard community garden activist John Spencer said during round table discussion on the local food movement held at Babson College. Spencer said that when he started the community garden movement in Wellesley, Mass, some 10 years ago he couldn't give away garden plots to residents. But, he said today there is a 20 year wait to get a plot! I've read of protest that enslaved people organized against their masters to demand time and space for subsistence gardens. Now it's time to plant tomatoes (corn and beans) in many places.  Tomatoes sold in the majority of supermarkets are flavorless unless you are willing to pay high prices for them. Why not plant your own, save money, eat more nutritious pesticide free produce that taste better?

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Growing Tomatoes: [Listen] http://www.kcrw.com/etc/programs/gf/gf110319secretary_of_agricul

Gardening Series with Related Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Gardening

Tomato Series with Related Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=tomato+series

Lenten Season Series with Related Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Lenten+Season

Easter Stories and Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=easter

Monday, April 14, 2014

Civil Rights, 1964, and Mississippi Foodways


Mississippi Delta tamale
Freedom Summer in Mississippi began in 1964, just one year after the assassination of Medgar Evers. It became one of the most important initiatives of the Civil rights movement. Robert (Bob) Moses orchestrated the movement. But in contrast to the movie The Help, which shows black women as pawns, African American women like Fannie Lou Hammer played important leadership roles at the local level in McComb, Mississippi where Freedom Summer began. The goal of Freedom Summer was to combat African American disenfranchisement and the barring of blacks from participating in the state Democratic Party and to defeat the white racist members of the regular Democratic Party. Those who attempted to register to vote often lost their jobs and experienced physical violence and or police harassment. Black and white college students from northern institutions served as volunteers during Freedom Summer. One little known tradition in the Mississippi Delta has been African American entrepreneurs who have sold tamales for a living. 

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Hear Fannie Lou at 1964 National Democratic Party Convention [Listen Now 8 min 11 sec]  http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/sayitplain/flhamer.html

Mississippi Delta Tamale Recipe: http://www.tamaletrail.com/recipe_howto.shtml


Mississippi Tamale Documentary Film: [Watch Now 5 min] http://southernfoodways.org/documentary/film/e_scott.html



Lenten Season Series with Related Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Lenten+Season

Easter Stories and Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=easter