Gullah Islands Cooking Culture
"Ie hab disshuh dreem dat one day dis America gwi’ come up ‘n be tru’ mout’ ob de law wah call de Creed: “We hol’ dees trut’ fuh be sef-ebbuhdent, dat all man duh mek equal.”
~ Martin Luther King's "I have a Dream" Translated by Alphonso Brown in the Gullah Language
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While growing up, one of my favorite meals as a kid was a chicken, sausage and rice dish called Chicken Bog. It just so happened that one of my father's best friends hailed from the state of South Carolina, which he'd shared a recent popular rural dish that supposedly came from South Carolina origins. To me, it resembled a dish that would come from the Gullah Islands culture.
Gullah refers to a group of African Americans who are descendants of West African slaves, and live on the outer-lying islands and inner coastal areas of southern North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and northern Florida.
My Father's Recipe: Chicken Bog
2 Pkgs Uncle Ben’s Original Wild Grain Rice
1 Whole Chicken (Boiled & Deboned – Reserve ½ cup broth)
2 Pkgs of Hillshire Farm Smoked Sausage
1/4 Stick of Butter
Boil 3 cups of water, ½ cup broth & ¼ stick of butter in skillet. Add deboned chicken and sliced sausage and let boil for a few minutes. Then add Uncle Ben’s seasoning packets and stir into mix. Add in wild rice and stir before setting to simmer, and cover with lid. Rice should take about thirty minutes to fully cook and consistency is a bit wet. Just sit aside and remove lid to air dry before serving.
Gullah also refers to a migrating culture with origins from Africa. During the eighteenth century, African slaves were brought into South Carolina, bartered and sold for manual labor on large operating plantations.
After the end of the slavery system, emancipated slaves in the Gullah Islands territories lived in a state of isolation, and much of their African tradition and culture remained intact such as their knowledge of rice cultivation and shrimp fishing, and traditional one pot dishes which might have most likely consisted of rice and seafood, main staples, as well as various vegetables such as corn, sweet potatoes, collards, turnips, okra, peas, and tomatoes. Aside from seafood, other meats such as sausage and wild game were also used in these one pot dishes, which in the present day are known as casseroles.
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