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Food and Religion, 19th Century West and Central Africa

Let’s start out talking about food and religion in sixteenth through nineteenth century West and Central Africa. The Guinea hen was perhaps the most important foreign animal introduced to Africa during the Columbian exchange and the Atlantic slave trade. The lean and dry meat of this game bird was considered superior to chicken and pheasant. Arab traders introduced it principally to cattle-raising societies like the Fulani of northern Nigeria. The Fulani mastered the art of raising large flocks of Guinea hens in the grasslands where they flourished. West Africans also incorporated the Guinea hens into many of their religious celebrations. We know for example that among the Igbo, Hausa, and Mande, poultry was eaten on special occasions as part of religious ceremonies. Most important here is the fact that Africans were familiar with frying, baking, and making soups and stews with poultry before they arrived in colonial America because they traditional made such dishes as part of religious holidays and ceremonies. 

Georgia Fried Chicken

1 young chicken, weighing from 1 ½ to 2 pounds
Vegetable shortening
1 ½ to 2 cups flour
Salt and Pepper

“Take a small chicken (In modern terms, use a cut-up frying chicken). Have a deep-fry pan ready with grease at least 2 inches deep (Lard was often used, or in later years vegetable shortening.)”
Sift enough flour in which to roll the chicken pieces. Add salt and pepper to the flour and roll each piece in flour. Place in hot grease. Put the largest pieces in first and on the hottest part of the pan. Cover for 5 min. Remove cover and turn when underside is well browned. Replace cover for another 5 min., and then cook in open pan until bottom side is brown. About 30 minutes if chicken is not too large. Do not turn but once; too much turning and too long cooking will destroy the fine flavor.
Chicago Daily Defender, February 12, 1968

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

Butter milk Based Fried Chicken [Watch Now] Recipe:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxEhH6MPH28

Vegan fried chicken recipe: http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=7534.0

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