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Food and Religion in the Antebellum South

Nutritious southern collard greens, recipe below
Enslaved Africans did not develop their traditions within a vacuum. In some instances whites, particularly white children had intimate relations with blacks. Through close interaction, whites integrated many African religious, and language elements “Southern whites,” argues Historian John W. Blassingame, “not only adapted their language and religion to that of the slaves but also adapted agricultural practices, sexual attitudes, rhythm of life, architecture, food and social relations to African practices.” As masters adopted African foodways, and slaves adopted special occasions material culture from owners, black and white cultures in the South became more homogenous. Take for example a side dish like collard greens. Any native born southerner, white or black, is a green eating corn bread pot-liquor sopping person. If you are a northerner without southern roots, that last sentenced as you puzzled. Here’s a nutritious collard green recipe to round out this southern foodways story.

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Lenten Season Series with Related Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Lenten+Season

Lenten Season Collard Green Recipe:


2-3 bunches of collards (try mixing in some kale and or turnip greens)
½ cup chopped onions
1 large diced garlic clove
2 tsp smoked paprika
3 cubes of vegetable bullion
2 tablespoons dried bay leaf
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1/3 cup vinegar
1/3 cup honey
1tablespoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup olive oil

Wash the collards good in plenty of slightly salted water. Start out with 3 bunches which will serve 6 people, they are big but they cook down like spinach. I parboil/steam mine for 10 minutes until the fibrous leaves are easy to eat. Steaming preserves the water soluble vitamins that are killed when you just boil the greens down like most of my ancestors have done for years. Remove the collards from the pressure cooker and save the water to make the pot-licker. Season the water with 3 cubes of vegetable bullion, dried bay leaf, dried red pepper flakes, little vinegar, and some honey. Had some smoked paprika or a little liquid smoke which most grocery stores sell if you like that smoked meat flavor (the traditional recipe calls for a smoked ham hock or a hunk of smoked fat back). The pot-licker is full of vitamins and great seasoning for the greens. Sauté the steamed greens with chopped onions and garlic in olive oil with your preferred seasonings like pepper, salt, etc. Add sautéed greens to the pot-liquor and let them marinade for 30 or more before serving.

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