High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America

High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America

Jessica B. Harris

Language: English

Pages: 304

ISBN: 1596913959

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Acclaimed cookbook author Jessica B. Harris has spent much of her life researching the food and foodways of the African Diaspora. High on the Hog is the culmination of years of her work, and the result is a most engaging history of African American cuisine. Harris takes the reader on a harrowing journey from Africa across the Atlantic to America, tracking the trials that the people and the food have undergone along the way. From chitlins and ham hocks to fried chicken and vegan soul, Harris celebrates the delicious and restorative foods of the African American experience and details how each came to form such an important part of African American culture, history, and identity. Although the story of African cuisine in America begins with slavery, High on the Hog ultimately chronicles a thrilling history of triumph and survival. The work of a masterful storyteller and an acclaimed scholar, Jessica B. Harris's High on the Hog fills an important gap in our culinary history.
Praise for Jessica B. Harris:
"Jessica Harris masters the ability to both educate and inspire the reader in a fascinating new way." -Marcus Samuelsson, chef owner of Restaurant Aquavit

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was used to refit the ships’ holds once they arrived on the African coast to edible stores. Slave ships required more food than any of the other vessels trading on the Atlantic. In addition to the rations of the crews, which numbered about thirty individuals, they also had to provide for feeding three hundred or so enslaved Africans, who came from different cultures and had different food preferences. Slave-ship provision lists from Royal African Company records from 1682 to 1683 include such

George Washington, was displeased with the presidential fare there, and in 1790, when the capital moved to Philadelphia, Hercules moved there with Washington. He won accolades and was noted for his exacting efficiency and the flawless working of his kitchen at 190 High Street. Martha Washington’s grandson, George Washington Parke Custis, called him “as highly accomplished and [as] proficient in the culinary art as could be found in the United States.” Another observer was more eloquent: Iron

quarters—buildings where the urban enslaved lived and worked in close proximity to their masters. It was their labor that underpinned the grand lifestyle of those who dwelled in the front parlors. Like those of many Americans, my mental images of the physical landscape of slavery had been confined to rows of cabins on plantations that grew cotton or rice, tobacco or indigo. They did not include small bedrooms above hot kitchens in back of brick-fronted town houses in major urban areas. My

referred to as okuru. It is the French word for okra, gombo, that resonates with the emblematic dishes of southern Louisiana known as gumbo. Although creolized and mutated, the word gumbo harks back to the Bantu languages, in which the pod is known as ochingombo or guingombo. The word clearly has an African antecedent, as do the soupy stews that it describes, which are frequently made with okra. Watermelon has been so connected with African Americans that it is not surprising to learn that the

people-watching. A former opera singer, Smalls treated Café Beulah as his own personal salon, and the place attracted a crowd of black notables, from opera singer Kathleen Battle to writer Toni Morrison, giving the spot a frothy feel appropriate to the fin de siècle. Café Beulah closed before the century did, in 1998, but Smalls went on to open two other restaurants: Sweet Ophelia’s and the Shoebox Café, an eat-in/take-out place in Grand Central Station. However neither matched the excitement and

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