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Blacks, Bahia, and Brazilian Foodways

Brazilian vatapa, this and other recipes below
In the course of researching my book Hog and Hominy: Soul Food from Africa to America, I came across allot of rich sources on Brazilian foodways. The African retentions in Brazil are much stronger there than in other parts of the Americas because the important of enslaved Africans first started there in the Americas and the abolition of the slave trade and slavery ended there last in 1888. Consider for example the fact that slavery ended almost twenty years early in the United States in 1865. In addition the largest percentage of enslaved Africans disembarked in Brazil, above 30% as compared to 10% that arrived in what became the United States. Historically Bahia had the greatest concentration of enslaved Africans imported into Brazil before the abolition of slavery. The demographics of this black belt like region insured that the regions cuisine had a strong African imprint, this is the case with one looks at a sea food gumbo like vatapa. 

Vatapa Recipe

2 tbsp. peanut butter
1 lb. cooked shrimp
8 oz. loaf of French or Italian bread
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups of coconut milk
1/2 cup palm oil (or olive oil as a substitute)
Season with dry onion powder, parsley, and ginger

Combine all ingredients (except shrimp) into a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth. Pour into a sauce pan and simmer until the mixture begins to thicken. Add the shrimp and cook an additional ten minutes. Serve with brown basmati rice.

Brazilian Foodways with Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Brazilian+Foodways

Brazil: A Racial Paradise? (PBS Full Length Episode): http://www.pbs.org/wnet/black-in-latin-america/featured/black-in-latin-america-full-episode-brazil-a-racial-paradise/224/

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