WHY I HADN’T MADE BBQ BEFORE THIS I DON’T KNOW
Like I mentioned in the beginning of February, I have been wanting to celebrate Black History month in a special way here on the blog with food for thought. I had the great opportunity to purchase Bryant Terry’s cookbook Afro Vegan and cook a few things with it by my side. I’m happy to say certain experiences and thoughts this month helped me settle on a few ideas about myself and my food history. Earlier this month I was asked by my journalism professor to interview my 80 year-old aunt out in Cleveland MS. about what it was like eating as a child in the south. From that conversation, I was conflicted by the ability to change my diet, by the luxury of choice I had been given by being born close to the 21st century, and the major implications those unconsidered food changes might have on the future food of my culture and my connection to my ancestors. Cooking alongside Terry’s book, helped me realize so many connections I bring with me into my kitchen without even realizing it. Many spices, and flavors are similar to my own, and that already was very reassuring. I was given a new perspective on my authenticity as a vegetarian cook; when once I questioned if changing many of the ingredients meant changing the heart of the dish, I started to think otherwise after cooking with this book. Without even realizing how much I have been influenced by my southern roots, I’m proud to say, its presence shows itself in the things I cook everyday.
After speaking with my Aunt, who stood in for my grandma for this interview –my Big Ma passed away 7 years ago–I learned that it’s important to celebrate the past, but also it’s important to celebrate the present and understand that each of our voices are unique, and it’s only with time that we’ll learn what we’re really meant to do with them. In the meantime, learn about your history, because as you learn, you’ll only grow more confident in who you are.
Current Reading List:
Unpublished Black History-New York TImes