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Delta Food: Part 4 SNCC and Black Farmers

Group of Sharecroppers in U. S. South circa 1930s
Young tender squash on the vine, related recipe below 

I have been down in the Mississippi Delta doing field work, writing, and attending the annual Southern Foodways Alliance symposium at Old Miss entitled the Cultivated South. The former U. S. Department of Agriculture administrator Shirley Sherrod a native of Georgia spoke yesterday about her families history and struggle of black farmers in the South. She also talked about the circumstances around why the Departments of Agriculture Secretary forced her to resign. But I found her discussion about the little know history of SNCC's work with black farmers in the 1960s most interesting. Sherrod and her husband as SNCC organizers helped poor farmers develop and market food products that they could sell and thus become financially and politically independent. With financial independence gave the farmers the option to engage in civil rights activism. Her words reminded me of the oppressive system of tenant farming, the crop lien system, and sharecropping in the post civil war south that kept so many black farmers from owning their land outright.  

Crock pot squash recipe

Ingredients
2 pounds yellow summer squash or zucchini, thinly sliced (about 6 cups)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup peeled shredded carrot
1 can (10 1/4 ounces) condensed cream of celery or cream of mushroom soup
1 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup flour
1 package (6 to 8 ounces) corn bread stuffing crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
Season with Old bay and fresh herbs of your choice to taste

Method
In large bowl, combine squash, onion, carrot and soup. Mix vegetable broth and flour; stir into vegetables. Toss stuffing crumbs with butter and place half in slow cooker. Add vegetable mixture and top with remaining stuffing crumbs. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.


Southern Foodways Alliance: http://southernfoodways.org/

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