Malcolm X A Culinary Biography Part 5
Today we share the fifth part in our latest series on the culinary life of Malcolm X.
To put food on the table, all members of the family contributed what they could, including forging for dandelion greens. Forging and eating wild greens like dandelion has a long tradition. Africans had learned how to forge for and cook edible green plants long before the start of the African slave trade. Once Africans arrived in the Americas, Native Americans taught them about local edible plants. (Rural folks also made wine out of dandelion greens.) Forging for local greens existed throughout different parts of the United States. People forged for pepper grass, yellow dock, and dandelion greens that Southerners prepared and served them collectively as poke salad. Cooks prepared them similar to collard, kale, or turnip greens. A food writer in a March 10, 1945 edition of the Atlanta Daily World told readers, “Keep an eye open for the wild greens known to be good eating in springtime: dandelion, lamb quarters, plantain, poke, purslane, wild chicory, and dock.” The article also recommends to “use green vegetables fresh—the fresher,” as they have more vitamin C and A.
2 cups sifted cornmeal
1 cup milk
2 eggs well-beaten
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Combine ingredients and pour into well-greased baking dish and/or cast-iron skillet. Bake for 30 minutes at 400° F.
(Crosby Gaige, New York World's Fair Cook Book: The American Kitchen, 1939) Gaige, 51.