Podcast 22, February 23, 2016
Africa, Africans, African ingredients and seasonings, African American chefs, cooks, and gardeners—these are the basis for much of north American cuisine. Southern food, which influences Kentucky food, particularly owes a debt to Africa that will never be repaid. We talked about this with rising African American chef John Granville of Smithtown Seafood in Lexington.
Note: We glitched something in the recording of this show, so the final 10 minutes have gone missing. To fill part of the gap, we'll reprint the quote we used to close the show. It's from Jessica B. Harris's The Welcome Kitchen: African-American Heritage Cooking:
. . . [O]ur way with food endures. It endures because it is a microcosm of our history. It combines the improvisational impulses that gave the world jazz with the culinary techniques of the African continent. It combines the African taste for the piquant with the American leftovers of sorrow's kitchens. It combines the bite of hot sauces with the mellow savor of barbecue, and a sweet tooth with a special touch for baking that has enhanced generations of church tea tables, captured more than one husband, and changed untold sylphlike silhouettes into more matronly contours.
This constantly evolving transformation from tchingombo (the Umbundu word for okra) to gumbo brings with it all the recollections of a heritage where survival depended on the ability to make the best of a bad lot, where a desire to live higher on the hog kept more than one person going, one where generations of African-American cooks both female and male helped us all to survive with their ability to quite literally transform a sow's ear into something wonderful. (pages 18-19)