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July 4th Series: Part I Ox and Rural Food Traditions

Braised oxtail stew, recipe and additional recipes below

July 4th is this weekend thus it seemed appropriate to do a series of post on how folks celebrated the holiday in times past based on research I did for my book Hog and Hominy http://cup.columbia.edu/book/978-0-231-14638-8/hog-and-hominy/excerpt. Circa 1830, Naturalist John James Audubon described in detail how folks celebrated Independence day in antebellum Bear Grass Creek near Louisville, Kentucky. He provides insights into race, class, and food in small rural slave society. “No personal invitation was required,” writes Audubon, neighbors welcomed everyone “from the governor to the guider of the plough,” all gathered in a field for a smorgasbord of delicious ox, ham, venison, “turkeys, and other fowls.” People in farming communities slaughtered and cooked any ox who could not work serve as a work animal. Common folk rarely ate meat thus ox represented a rare treat reserved for special occasions like Independence Day celebrations. People eat ox meat all over the world and it was regularly eaten rural America. Ox meat is available in some supermarkets and you can always ask a local butcher to order some. Here are links to several global ox recipes:

Chinese braised oxtail stew recipe: http://sundaynitedinner.com/chinese-braised-oxtail-stew/

Southern ox tail stew recipe: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/oxtail_stew/

Caribbean oxtail in a rich gravy recipe: http://caribbeanpot.com/savory-oxtail-in-a-rich-and-thick-gravy/

Ox burger recipe: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/3539/ox-burger

July 4th Series: Part 3 Eating Local