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Savannah Red Rice: A Georgia Christmas Tradition

Savannah red rice, this and other recipes below
As a college professor I am busy doing end of the semester paper grading thus its hard to think about  the holiday season. However when I see or smell certain foods they trigger me to think about  Christmas. I recall the joy that came to the faces of senior citizens I interviewed when researching and writing my book Hog and Hominy http://cup.columbia.edu/book/978-0-231-14638-8/hog-and-hominy. I asked them and now you, what foods remind you of Christmas when you were a child? Ruth Thorpe was born in Harlem in 1932. Her mother migrated from Savannah, Georgia, to Harlem, where she worked as a professional cook. Ruth had vivid memories of her mother’s Christmas holiday cooking including or mother’s “[Savannah] red rice, okra, and tomatoes” dish. As in Cuba and low country South Carolina, low country Georgia folk viewed a huge rice dish like Savannah red rice as an absolute essential at any meal they served. Roy Miller, born in Harlem in 1924, said, “that’s interesting because that’s a crossover. Because my [West Indian] aunts used to do red rice and all of that. I can’t say that is a purely West Indian dish, it may be part of an assimilation . . . it emanated from the South, but my aunts used to do that beautifully also.” My research shows that indeed Savannah red rice is an adaptation of a similar dish made all over West Africa called Jollof rice. Here are some related recipes below.

Traditional Savannah red rice: http://www.grouprecipes.com/47133/mrs-wilkes-savannah-red-rice.html

Vegan Savannah red rice: http://www.recipezaar.com/Savannah-Red-Rice-218552

Here's a link to Christmas gifts for foodies: http://www.kcrw.com/etc/programs/gf/gf111126foodie_holiday_gifts

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