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Nutrition Month: Food Rebel Elijah Muhammad

Frederick Douglass Opie, Babson College
Bean Pie, recipe 
Born Elijah Robert Poole, Elijah Muhammad (1897-1975) built and led the Nation of Islam in the United States from 1934 until the end of his life in 1975. A native of Georgia, Mr. Muhammad like allot of southerners migrated to Detroit during the Great Depression. In the motor city, he met his religious mentor Master Fard Muhammad. After the departure of Fard Muhammad, Elijah Muhammad would go on to build a Black Muslim empire based in Chicago that reached across the United States. What is often forgotten is that Mr. Muhammad was also a foodie. He spoke and wrote extensively about what he considered the proper foods to eat to maximize one’s mind, body and spirit and live a healthy and productive life. I talk about this in my book Hog and Hominy http://www.amazon.com/Hog-Hominy-Traditions-Perspectives-Culinary/dp/0231146388. For many non-Muslims, the introduction to the teachings of the Nation on eating came from Elijah Muhammad’s two books, How to Eat to Live, volumes I and II, published in 1967 and 1972. Despite the popularity of soul food in the 1960s and 1970s, food rebels like Elijah Muhammad had an impact in black communities. As did Gregory said in an interview I did with him, “there were a whole lot of Baptists that would never be Muslim. . . but they stopped eating pork” because of Elijah Muhammad. The Nation sold and still sells delicious and nutritious navy bean pies on street corners and in businesses operated by its members. Here is a recipe that I have used and it love the results!

Bean Pie Recipe: 
2 cups navy beans (cooked)
1 stick butter (or butter substitute)
1 14-oz. can evaporated milk (vanilla Vitasoy)
4 eggs (or eggs substitute)
1tsp. nutmeg
1tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. flour
2 cups sugar
2 tbsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In electric blender, blend together beans, butter milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon, and flour for around two minutes on medium speed. Put mixture in a large mixing bowl. Mix in sugar and vanilla. Stir well. Pour into pie shells. Bake for around an hour until golden brown. Yields two or three pies.

Nation of Islam Stories with Related Recipes http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=nation+of+islam

Karl Evanzz, The Messenger: The Rise and Fall of Elijah Mohammed: http://www.kcrw.com/etc/programs/pc/pc000208karl_evanzz

Nutrition Month Series with Related Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=nutrition+month

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