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Nina Simone Through the Lens of Food

Roasted Potato and Green Bean Salad, recipes below
Singer and song writer Nina Simone (1933-2003) was born and raised in Tyron, North Carolina. During the Great Depression, the federal government put one of its Federal National Relief Agency (NRA) food distribution depots in Tyron. In my book Hog and Hominyhttp://cup.columbia.edu/book/978-0-231-14638-8/hog-and-hominy/webFeatures I talk about how many survived the Depression with the help of the NRA. Simone’s father and others in Tyron received NRA truck-driving jobs. “Not only did the men at the depot get given a little extra food to take home, but the drivers built up a network of people who would trade food among themselves,” Simone recalls. Families would trade what they raised in excess from their gardens that they canned for the winter months and the surplus food they received on the job. Most of what she remembers from the very earliest part of her life “is tied up with food and music.” Her mother would stretch the family budget with “rice pudding, brown betty . . [a]nd beans. Tons of beans” says Simon. “We were poor for a long time but I can’t remember ever going hungry, not once.” Here are some green bean recipes.

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Vegetarian Green Bean Recipes: http://whatscookingamerica.net/Vegetarian/VegetarianGreenBeans.htm

Vegan Green Bean Recipes: http://vegweb.com/index.php?board=453.0

Nina Simone Stories with Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=+Nina+Simone++

Olu Dara's Single Okra on Album From Natchez to New York

Food, Music, and the Vargas Regime in Brazil