05 March 2009

Hog And Hominy

Hog and Hominy: Soul Food from Africa to America by Frederick Douglass Opie is not a traditional cookbook, but a culinary history. Opie looks at African foodways from the fifteenth century to modern day. While most historians believe African cooking was “unmodified” by the European influence, Opie believes the food of the Africans then and now, has been a continuous evolution from exposures to outside sources. From the beginnings of global trading with West Africa, to the interaction with the Indians and white slaveholders there has been a continual reinventing of soul food.

For years I lived in Washington, D.C. Not a day went by when I drove through the last blocks of N.W. that I didn’t pass by a smartly clad member of the Nation of Islam selling their newspaper and bean pies. All those years, I never thought about where those pies came from. Then I read Fred Opie’s book and there was the recipe.

Opie adapted this recipe from the Nation of Islam’s web site: www.muhammadspeaks.com/Pie.html

Bean Pie Recipe

2 cups navy beans
1 stick butter
1 14 –oz. can evaporated milk
4 eggs
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. flour
2 cups sugar
2 tbsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In electric blender, blend together beans, butter,milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon, and flour for around two minutes on medium speed. Put mixture in a large mixing bowl. Mix in sugar and vanilla. Stir well. Pour into pie shells. Bake for around an hour until golden brown. Yields two to three pies.

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