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Food and Religion in the Depression Era South

A slice of sweet potato pie, this and other recipes below

As part of our food and religion series let's turn to North Carolina and the interview done artist and educator Dr. David Driskell. Driskell was born in 1931 and grew up in the Foote Hill, Blue Ridge region of the Appalachian Mountains in Rutherford County, North Carolina. He says that in Rutherford County blacks and whites lived “side by side, our property was continues with [whites]. . . it was something you don’t hear written about or talked about. But everybody had to be depended on each other.” Did black and white churches eat differently at their events? “I don’t think we were eating differently, I think we were eating the same thing [from our gardens] . . . sweet potatoes, sweet potato pie, greens, white potatoes, potato salad all those kind of things. . . . I suspect we had some dishes that they didn’t have without our aid. Very seldom did I know of them making sweet potato pie and things like that, they would get someone to come in and do it for them. . . My mother would often go up and cook things for [our white neighbors] the Elliots . . .  as a way of making money [preparing] a pie, cake, or fried chicken.” 

Sweet Potato Pie Recipe
(Makes 9 inch pie)

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup mashed sweet potatoes
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
3 tablespoons orange juice
3/4 teaspoon grated orange rind
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled

Mix sugar, salt, and spices. Add to sweet potatoes. Add beaten eggs, milk, orange juice, grated orange rind, and butter. Pour into unbaked pastry shell bake in hot oven for 10 min. Reduce heat to moderate and finish baking at between 350° to 435.°
New Journal and Guide, December 18, 1937

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Food and Religion Series with Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Food+and+Religion+

Pie Stories and Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=%22Pie%22

Cakes Stories with Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=cake

Fried Chicken Stories and Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Fried+Chicken

More Interviews with David Driskell with Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=David+Driskell

About David Driskell: http://www.visionaryproject.com/driskelldavid/

Food and Religion in 17th Brazil

Race, Class, and Food in 1940s Lowcountry South Carolina