Malcolm X A Culinary Biography Part 3
Today we share the third story in our series on the culinary life of Malcolm X.
In contrast, his mother—who was from the Caribbean—for some unknown reason did not grow up eating pork or rabbits and didn’t want to cook or serve her family either one. His parents’ culinary differences led to arguments when his father insisted that his wife butcher, prepare, and cook rabbit or pork as part of a family meal. As Malcolm put it, “She had strong ideas about what she wouldn’t eat and didn’t want us to eat, including pork and rabbit, both of which my father loved dearly.” He adds, “We all loved chicken [and t]hat was one dish there was no argument with my father about. The consumption of rabbits and pork led to disagreements, however, both parents supported cultivation of a large family subsistence garden and raising chickens.” Malcolm’s parents raised him with an appreciation for what people call today eating “farm-to-table” so much that he sought their permission to start his own vegetable garden. Malcolm loved his garden and took meticulous care of it:
“I would pull out the grass in my garden by hand when the first little blades came up. I would patrol the rows on my hands and knees for any worms and bugs . . . and when I had everything straight and clean for my things to grow, I would lie down on my back between two rows, and I would gaze up in the blue sky at the clouds moving and think all kinds of things. “
He enjoyed growing peas in his garden and took particular pride when his mother served them as part of a family meal in a dish such as Hopping John, which called for peas.