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Family Thanksgiving Recipes and Oral History

Corn bread, this and many other Thanksgiving recipes below
Just  before students in my courses leave for Thanksgiving break I often ask them the question: what food do you most look forward to eating over the holiday?  I also ask them to do some oral history asking older folks to explain which Thanksgiving day dish most indicates and reveals their family ethnicity, nationality, and history. In my courses and public lectures I maintain that what we eat on special occasions tells a great deal about our family history including where we migrated from and how our income and education has changed over generations. For example Nineteenth century travel accounts tell us that in the U. S. South whites of Scots-Irish,  German, and and French origins who lived and worked in close proximity to Native Americans and slaves of West and Central African origins typically ate the same inexpensive delicious dishes that they developed in response to their economic status and access to food. Travelers throughout the U. S. South during the antebellum period noted that regardless of class most homes had corn (an American grain) in one shape or another on their table such as corn bread. Moreover they commented that the majority of poor whites enjoyed wild game such as turkey, greens, sweet potato (American tuber) pie, candied sweet potatoes or yams (an African tuber), black eyed peas (an American legume) and rice (an African grain) called hoppin John. Today no Thanksgiving Day table of people with southern roots would be complete without many of these dishes especially corn bread. Here are recipes for many of the dishes mentioned in the post for your Thanksgiving table. Please do some oral history around the table and share what you find in the comment section of the blog below.

Ingredients
2 cups cornmeal
½ teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in a tablespoon of hot water
2 large eggs
¾ cup corn, canola or vegetable oil

Method
Mix eggs and milk together

Sift in 2 cups of corn meal with a teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of baking powder or use self-rising cornmeal (I add just a little high source of fiber, just a little!)
Mix ingredients and if you’re northerner like me add a ¼ cup of sugar
Spray hot cast Iron skillet with nonstick cooking spray
Preheat oven at 425 then turn down to 375 and bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown
Brush with melted butter when done and enjoy!

Northern Sweet Cornbread

Ingredients
3/4 self-rising cornmeal
1 cup Spelt flour (it’s better tasting and healthier than white or wheat flour)
1/2 cup cane sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup vanilla soymilk, (a fortified soy milk is a very good tasting healthy choice, I suggest the Vitasoy brand for new comers)
1 egg or egg substitute (beaten)
2 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp butter (Try I Can’t Believe It’s not Butter available at most supermarkets and Costco)

Method
Preheat oven to 400; Combine dry ingredients. Add milk, egg and oil. Mix well. Spray a large cast iron skillet like the one in the photo or a 9 inch pie pan with Pam. Bake until tooth pick inserted in center comes out clean (about 25 minutes). Melt butter and brush over the top of the bread when it comes fresh out the oven; serves 8.

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