Writers! Leave Yourself Open To Stories!

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time you know that I am a proponent of keeping yourself open to life, stories, and snippets of tales.

shrimp-and-gritsI recently heard this question asked of a West African chef, “How did you feel when you heard a fat, rich, white woman (cooking show) claim that her recipe had been handed down from  generation to generation in her family? When actually the dish (Shrimp and grits) has been cooked on the west coast of Africa for hundreds of years?”
The answer?
The chef/host who was giving an intimate dinner party in his home in Dakar, Senegal, West Africa (each syllable drips with mystery, fish.senegaldoesn’t it?) smiled and said, “Gratitude that our cuisine lives on and is enjoyed in the United States.”

And Gumbo is another example. Louisiana claims it originated there. A poor man’s dish. Ingredients: Fish/seafood from the river out back, tomatoes and other veggies from the garden, a roux from pork drippings,(from the pig pen out back) butter  and flour.  Again, Africa via France and brought to the south with the Cajuns.

When I heard this conversation (above) what this writer’s ears heard was:  “MamaBelle, cook up some of your shrimp and grits as a side dish for my guests!”  The fine lady, from the senegal.Mamabellmansion on the hill, had walked down to the kitchen house to talk about the menu for her dinner party.  MamaBelle had been the head cook on the plantation for decades but still had knife-sharp memories of arriving in Georgia, bound in shackles, barely surviving the trip on the slave ship from West Africa. Put on the block for auction, teeth examined, hips examined (for breeding) stripped naked. Being marched miles and miles to the plantation. Working the fields until it was discovered that she was of better use in the kitchen. Living through the horror of her children being sold off when the Masta’ needed ready cash. Continue reading “Writers! Leave Yourself Open To Stories!”