Sunday, August 29, 2010
At Virginia State (Virginia State University Today (VSU)) students ate what they called “wonder meat” because “we wondered what it was,” says Lamenta Diane Watkins Crouch, a 1970 Virginia state graduate. Her older sister Francis Ann Watkins Neely graduated from Virginia Union in 1967. “I really did not like the lamb chops,” that they served in the cafeteria. “My husband went to Howard University and he told me that the meat that they served in the student cafeteria there he believed [were poor quality cuts that] came from the Federal government.” In general “we southerners just did not like the lunch and dinner menus in the college cafeteria,” says Watkins Neely. The food at Virginia State, according to her younger sister Lamenta Watkins Crouch, “was not seasoned the same as home,” and there was a lot of “starchy foods including potatoes served with just about every meal and lots of pasta.” “My mother was a really good cook and that what I grew up on” says Watkins Neelly. “We southern students were always receiving care packages from home filled with good food. So we always knew somebody on campus who had just received a care packages so we would go and eat that instead of the cafeteria food.” In contrast she said that the northern students who had fewer options seemed to say very little about the cafeteria food at Union than the southerners. Here are some interesting links to how students are eating at VSU today:
Today’s VSU menu:
Soup – Beef Noodle
Breaded Fish Filet
Shoe String French Fries
Honey Hoisin Pork Chop
Balanced Choice – Pasta with Meat Sauce
California Blend Vegetables
Link to VSU “Love From Home Baskets”: http://www.vsu.edu/pages/4196.asp
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
The following is a prerecorded book event I did at the Atlanta History Center as part of a book tour in 2008
Fredrick Douglas Opie discusses his book, Hog and Hominy: Soul Food from Africa to America. Opie’s culinary history is a portrait of the social and religious relationship between African Americans and their cuisine. It begins with the Atlantic slave trade and concludes with the Black Power movement of the 1960s and 1970s.
Listen now: http://forum-network.org/lecture/hog-and-hominy-soul-food-africa-america
Saturday, August 21, 2010
|Cakes at Pasteleria Ideal in Mexico City. Listen to the special edition of A Chief’s Table on cakes below in which I talked about the history of the cake walk.|
Friday, August 20, 2010
Frederick Douglass Opie Radio Interview Philadelphia National Public Radio’s A Chief’s Table Hosted by Jim Coleman
I am getting resettled in Boston thus will be away from blogging until next week. The following is a prerecorded interview I did on Philadelphia National Public Radio’s A Chief’s Table Hosted by Jim Coleman.
Listen now: [click the link then scroll down to the June 13 show] http://www.whyy.org/91FM/chef/200906.html
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Not long ago, the Yellow Bowl Restaurant was the place for down home soul food in Baltimore. The term soul music and soul food became popular with activist Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture), H. Rap Brown, Amiri Baraka and others during the black power and black arts movements of the late 1960s. Previous to then people called them simply rock and roll and southern food. After 1968, the year Eva and Youman Fullard purchased the Yellow Bowl Restaurant, black folks started to commonly use the names food and soul music. Thus, starting with the 1960s, urban dwellers in cities like Baltimore gradually made the transition from talking about rock music (rhythm and blues) and southern food to calling it soul music and soul food. As inner city Baltimore turned increasing African American and poor, the Fullards like any good entrepreneur adjusted their business to their community and clientele. In my book Hog and Hominy http://cup.columbia.edu/book/978-0-231-14638-8/hog-and-hominy/tableOfContents I argue that soul food dishes like fried chicken gizzards, collard greens, and hoppin John are inexpensive foods that are in the words of one cook I interviewed, “seasoned so good that it fascinates you.” These are dishes with ingredients Africans ate in abundance in West and Central Africa before the Atlantic slave trade. Here’s a, easy recipe for collard green and hoppin john below:
Collard Green Recipe:
Wash the collards good in plenty of slightly salted water
Start out with 3 bunches which will serve 6 people, they are big bug the cook down like spinach. I steam mine in a pressure cooker for 10 minutes until the fibrous leaves are easy to eat. Steaming preserves the water soluble vitamins that are killed when you just boil the greens down like most of my ancestors have done for years.
Remove the collards from the pressure cooker and save the water to make the pot-licker
Season the water with 3 cubes of vegetable bullion, dried bay leaf, dried red pepper flakes, little vinegar, and some honey. Had some smoked paprika or a little liquid smoke which most grocery stores sell if you like that smoked meat flavor (the traditional recipe calls for a smoked ham hock or a hunk of smoked fat back).
The pot-licker is full of vitamins and great seasoning for the greens
Sauté the steamed greens with chopped onions and garlic in olive oil with your preferred seasonings like pepper, salt, etc.
Add sautéed greens to the pot-licker and let them marinade for 30 or more before serving
Hoppin John history and recipe: http://blog.syracuse.com/entertainment/2009/12/hoppin_john_a_traditional_dish.html
Monday, August 16, 2010
When the East Baltimore's Johnston Square community experienced both capital and white flight in the 1970s, the Fullards transformed the menu at the Yellow Bowl Restaurant they purchased in 1968. Like other black entrepreneurs at the same time, they unabashedly marketed restaurant as a soul food eatery. Soul and soul food, according to one scholar, developed out of a larger black power project that called for creating black cultural expressions different from white society. During the 1960s and 1970s CORE and the Black Panthers launched organizing efforts in Baltimore that led to an increased black consciousness. Like wearing African attire or sporting an Afro, eating soul food in the 1960s and 1970s represented a political statement that one knew and loved their roots. Thus, starting in the 1960s, African-American urban dwellers, first in the Southeast gradually made the transition from talking about rock music (rhythm and blues) and southern food to calling it soul music and soul food. In the face of increasing ethnic diversity of urban centers, soul became associated with African-American culture and ethnicity. People with soul had a down-home style that migrants from the rural South like the Fullards could unite around. In terms of food that meant southern dishes like scrapple sandwiches, grits, candied yams, corn bread, fried and stewed chicken, collard greens, biscuits and gravy and peach cobbler.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
According to the my cousin Charlie, the Yellow Bowl in the historic Johnston Square community was perhaps one of the most well known soul food restaurants in Baltimore. It’s going on the auction block this week on August 18, 2010. The restaurant as it roots in the Yellow Cab Company started in 1909 and it has not always been a soul food restaurant. In 1921, the Yellow Bowl started in a small addition added to the east end of the Yellow Cab Company building located on the 500 block of Greenmount Avenue near Preston Street. Perhaps that’s how it got its name the Yellow Bowl and it most likely sold typical American coffee shop food. Sam Greenburg bought the restaurant and reopened it in a larger location in the first floor of a two story row house in the 1200 block of Greenmount Ave the former of home of Shreck’s Restaurant. At the time the Yellow Bowl catered to the white cab drivers and the white working class residents employed in clothing and shoe factories in Johnson Square at East Baltimore neighborhood. The original menu included eggs, bacon, and toast for breakfast and sandwiches, Salisbury steak, meatloaf, and spaghetti and meatballs. There was also plenty of hot coffee. There are two interpretation of how the restaurant became a long running soul food joint: In the 1960s Youman Fullard and his wife Eva operated a bodega next to the Yellow and when the Greek owners decided to sell the Fullers bought them out in 1968; Youman Fuller drove a hack for the Yellow Cab Company and he regularly ate in the Yellow Bowl and thus got to know the owners. When they decided to sell in 1968 the Fullard bought it. What do know is that Youman Fullard was born in South Carolina. Before coming to Baltimore he worked at a brewery in South Carolina around the end of the Great Depression. It’s unclear when he migrated to Baltimore. More on the transformation of the Yellow Bowls menu after 1968.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
North Carolina A & T students who started the student sit-in movement in 1960
Yesterday I mentioned that it took a multiethnic student sit in movement in March of 1959 to desegregate Arundel Company’s ice cream parlors in metro Baltimore. What’s interesting is the fact that his happened almost a year before students North Carolina A & T started the student sit-in movement at Woolworth’s and S. H. Kress store lunch counters in Greensboro, North Carolina on February 1, 1960 (see my earlier post on this story http://frederickdouglassopie.blogspot.com/2010/02/before-1960-student-sit-in-movement-i.html) I wondered if the students in Baltimore influenced the students in North Carolina, after all the Baltimore Afro American covered the event. From 1959 to the late 1960s the country went from a civil rights movement to a Black power movement. One of the often overlooked aspects of the movement was the call for economic power for black folks; more on this and its effects on the Arundel Company.