Recently, my White sista-friend asked me why we never dine at Black restaurants and eat “Black Food”? For years, we have lunch’ed together enjoying the finest of regional cuisines while discussing business, romance and current events. Yet, I was not prepared to let her into my world of Black food. In many regards, Black food represented Black struggle. I could easily take her to eat oxtails at Donna’s, roti at Joy’s, doubles at Lallo’s, and steamed fish at Carl’s Seafood, but Black food… That was something totally different.
Having grown up in a food dessert in a single parent home on government assistance in Central Broward County, memories of Black food are bittersweet. I remember canned cheese, breakfast for dinner and chicken legs on more nights than I care to recall. Yet, Black food was also walking to the store with the neighborhood kids to get a Jungle Juice, a hot sausage, a pickled egg and a pack of Now and Laters from Ivory’s on 19th Street. I mean, how could I explain my love and reverence for Black food without detailing the experiences sur-rounding it, to my white friend?
Over the weekend, I toured ‘Black’ culinary destinations in Central Broward with Chef Kiara, CEO of Kitchen Killa Culinary Solutions. Chef Kiara specializes in premium catering and gourmet cuisine for sophisticated palates but had a taste for Black food, and I was ready for some nostalgia.
Accordingly, we stopped near Broward and 27th Avenue to get some pork souse. The spot was in a parking lot with folks lined up to get their fill of familiar eats. The smell of slow cooked pork and barbeque saturated the air as the Florida sun beamed on our chocolate bodies. As we chatted about our day to day and caught up on hood news, the server stirred an over-sized stock pot full of pig ears, pig feet, and pig tails.
“What was once slave food is now soul food that celebrates the African American spirit,” according to The Pittsburgh Post Gazette. It was a reminder of our capability to survive against all odds. It was Tupac’s mom’s ability to work “with the scraps she was giving to make miracles every Thanks-giving.” Our food is the strength in our magic. It’s the part of the revolution that will likely never be televised. It was our comfort as we toured The Manors, The Greens, The Gov, and Sistrunk together that day allowing us to discuss shared culinary experiences.
We saw pain in those streets and struggle in those gentrified alleys. We remembered houses lost in tax debt, neighborhoods crippled to crime and drugs and generations of fatherless homes. Simultaneously, we re-called many historic firsts with-in our communities like Doctors James Sistunk and Von Mizell. It was the food that bonded Chef Kiara and I, brought us back the mecca of our history reliving both good and bad.
And maybe, just maybe, I am overthinking or going too deep, but I think this is as close as I will get to sharing Black Food with my white friend.
Crystal Chanel, Press Release Marketing, LLC – Event Hosting – Marketing – Public Relations- www.justpressrelease.com @PressReleaseLLC on Instagram