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Apr 14

Piggin’ Out On Traditions

As I sit here watching the Food Network, it dawned on me that culturally, we have not made the best food choices. I’m fully aware of some of the reasons why, I just wish we’d do better. We always joke about the things we had to eat while were growing up. However, some soul food, which some people now consider a delicacy, was prepared under the conditions of slavery and the need for survival. Mostly, the slaves were given foods that their masters did not want, leftovers, or scraps of animals and crops. I actually used to believe that it was a disgrace to eat these foods. (The same way I felt about celebrating Juneteenth, but that’s another story. I’m not originally from Texas, so this was a new occasion for me.)

The main source of my disgrace came with what the portly praised pig produced (say that 10 times fast):

· chitterlings, affectionately pronounced chittlins (these are intestines);
· pickled pig’s feet
· fat back (what is that anyway)
· Ham hocks, etc.

I do find it amazing how slaves were able to even survive off that stuff and maintain a certain level of health that many of us can’t even achieve now. I just cannot bring myself to eat from the list above. I’ve never had any of these foods, so I can’t tell you if the taste is desirable or not. I will never have these foods either, unless someone tricks me.

I always share my feelings about this and i had someone tell me that I disgrace our culture by speaking negative about this. How so? It’s the truth, I don’t want to eat it, and I don’t think it’s healthy. I personally don’t think you should eat it either or cook chittlins when I’m around (that *ish smells horrible).

 

Why do we tend to hold on to traditions that may not be healthy for us?

5 comments

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  1. TMS

    I’m with you on this one… i also wonder what on Earth fatback is. But as much as I would like to be sensitive towards some, we now know how unhealthy many food types are. With that, I often wonder when we can bury this tradition (??)… kinda like how we buried that word a few years back.

  2. Tonya B.

    TMS I’m going to ask my mom about the fatback. Some traditions are hard to bury, because that word has come back to life with fury.

  3. ThaQuiet1

    Funny. Well…being raised primarily in the south, I know all the food items you mentioned, well. My mother was raised in that era where eating and cooking with those things were commonplace so naturally she implemeted those techniques (using untraditional pieces of pork as seasonings etc.) into her way of cooking. I HAVE tasted/eaten chitterlings and it's not that bad, lol. The smell..of course it smells like steeping hot booty but….oh, my mother has a trick for that…she says when you cook them, if you place a few peeled potatoes in the pot, it masks/absorbs the smell. Again, I swear, it doesn't taste bad. Now, don't get me wrong, I never sit & think 'oooooooh we! I wanna eat me some CHITLINS!, but that once a year when my mother will cook them (New Year's Eve), if I am around, I will indulge slightly.
    You asked what is fat back? That I know of, it's just the skin off the pig. They are primarily fat so they're skin usually have fat attached to it. Sue me if I'm wrong but from my understanding, that's what it is.
    Like I said, I was raised in the south and have had a lifetime of the delicacies of 'soul food' cooking from greens to candied yams to neck bones and so on but one thing I CAN say…you will nevvvvvvvvvvver catch me with a damn pig's foot hanging out my damn mouth! I think when I was little, I saw one in a jar and it had a toenail on it or something. THAT ish scarred me for life!

    Let me add this nugget, about the chitterlings. I have never and will never eat them from ANYone else but my mother. For the longest, I didn't know what they were but even after I was told, I had been eating them, so now that I know what they are, she showed me and TAUGHT me (and made me) clean them so I will know. That said…I will nt fork them from ANY ONE but my mother.

    Carry on…. lol

  4. Tonya B.

    @ ThaQuiet 1 – Thanks for stopping by and commenting. “Steeping hot booty”??…that is too funny. I now know that I could have gone on without knowing what fatback is, yucky!

  5. Kimberly Tennile

    I don’t eat a lot of soul food either Tonya. I grew up in the south, my mom cooked it, but I am not a fan. I feel like our physical labor is not equal to our ancestors. That’s why it is killing us.

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