How Sweet Potato Pie Became An African American Dessert

How sweet potato pie became African Americans’ Thanksgiving dessert

Patti LaBelle’s Sweet Potato Pie is a recipe for a pie that has gone viral since it was first published. (Photo courtesy of Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post) I would have daydreamed about sweet potato pie this week even if Patti LaBelle and James Wright hadn’t lit social media ablaze with a flurry of discussion (and singing) about a particular dish earlier this week. Aside from the fact that we love sweet potatoes so much that we won’t settle for just one side dish of candied sweet potatoes (which we call “yams,” but that’s another story) or sweet potato casserole on Thanksgiving Day, sweet potatoes are synonymous with the holiday for millions of African Americans like me.

Yes, we enjoy this soul food staple all year long, but this is the week when the sweet potato pie is at its best.

Unless this is the case, the spread is instantly questioned, at least in African American homes.

When it comes to choosing between pumpkin pie and sweet potato pie on Thanksgiving Day, our nation’s pie split is the most pronounced.

It began hundreds of years ago, and it did not proceed in the manner that you may have expected it to.

(Photo courtesy of Deb Lindsey for the Washington Post) Taking stock of what was inherited from West Africa, our original country, is the most important step in tracing the history of African American culinary traditions.

The first documented shipment of sweet potatoes from the Americas across the Atlantic Ocean was made by Spanish traders in the 16th century.

A typical West African meal of some sort of starch served with a savory sauce, soup, or stew, typically made with fish and vegetables, was first experimented with by West African cooks in order to see if sweet potatoes could be used as a substitute for the other root crops that they used to make the meal (cassava, plantain, and yams).

  1. For those who have prepared sweet potato pie, it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to turn a savory mash into a dessert by adding eggs, milk, sugar, and spices.
  2. First and foremost, the sweet potato was a total and utter failure on the West African palette.
  3. Second, even if they like sweet potatoes, West Africans would hardly conceive of preparing them as “dessert” out of the blue.
  4. Unfortunately, the notion of sweet potato pie’s origins in West Africa comes up short.
  5. Aphrodisiac status was swiftly established, and it was even referenced in Shakespeare’s comedy “The Merry Wives of Windsor” (“Let the sky shower potatoes”) before making its way into the royal tables of England and other countries.
  6. If someone depicted the King of England eating a sweet potato pastry with an euphoric smile on his face, that would be quite something.
  7. May Evans’ sweet potato pie, which she sold at the RFK Farmers Market, is seen above.
  8. The main difference was that Western Europe had a strong dessert history, and roots and other vegetables were just as common as fruit to appear in both savory and sweet pie recipes in that region.
  9. After its publication in 1747, Hannah Glasse’s “The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy” became enormously popular among housewives across Britain and her colonies.
  10. Besides sweet potatoes, other foods were subjected to the same treatment: The recipes called for the use of Irish potatoes, parsnips, pumpkins, and squashes, all of which were interchangeable.

You will find strikingly similar recipes for pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, and squash pie in the dessert sections of the iconic southern cookbooks used in those elite kitchens – “The Virginia Housewife,” “The Kentucky Housewife,” and “The Carolina Housewife” – if you flip through the pages of those elite kitchen cookbooks.

  • Using the same reasoning, Northern cooks liked to use gourds for their pies since they were easier to grow.
  • In Olive Hill, North Carolina, in 1939, the 13-year-old daughter of an African American sharecropper grows sweet potatoes (Dorothea Lange/Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division/FSA/OWI Collection LC-DIG-fsa-8b33991), a tradition that continues today.
  • Dessert was not a regular element of the antebellum South’s meal pattern, which consisted mostly of boiled vegetables, corn bread, and buttermilk.
  • Desserts throughout the week might consist of a slice of corn bread with molasses poured on top, or fresh fruit, depending on the time of year.
  • It was a whole sweet potato that was grilled in the embers of a dying fire that served as the first sweet potato dessert in the slave cabin.
  • African American chefs were only able to make the shift from roasting sweet potatoes to baking cakes, cobblers, and pies with the invention of more economical and reliable stoves, as well as expanded access to processed components such as white flour and sugar.
  • When slavery was abolished, the ethnic and geographical divisions that existed between pumpkin and sweet potato pies were exposed in both national and regional media.
  • Sweet potato pies, on the other hand, were the pride of the South, as well as a favorite of African Americans.
  • While I recognize that sweet potato pie has a distinguished history, I also recognize that some of you will hold on to the belief that pumpkin pie is superior.

Ultimately, it just means that I’ll be eating more sweet potato pie. In order for us to receive money from connecting to and related sites, we have joined the Amazon Services LLC Associates Network, which is an affiliate advertising program.

For many African-Americans, sweet potato pie isn’t just a dessert, it’s about family

Music and the fragrance of nutmeg were among my first memories, as was the sound of laughing. By closing my eyes, I can take myself back in time to that particular moment: Thanksgiving, an unfathomable number of years ago, when all the matriarchs in my family would assemble at my family’s house in preparation for the largest meal of the year. It was a delight to just sit and observe these women. Everyone was hustling and bustling around the kitchen in perfect unison. The turkey, stuffing, and ham were normally prepared by my mother, who sat peacefully snapping peas as my great-grandmother snapped peas.

You see, in my family — as in countless other African-American households across this country — there are only a few people (maybe two) who are trusted to cook the sweet potato pie on Thanksgiving Day.

Served at funerals, baptisms, weddings, picnics, and holiday gatherings, the sweet potato pie is a dessert that may be found at practically any family gathering or event where sweet potatoes are served.

The origins of a family favorite

The sound of laughing and the fragrance of nutmeg are among my first recollections. By closing my eyes, I can take myself back in time to that very moment: Thanksgiving, an unfathomable number of years ago, when all the matriarchs in my family would assemble at my family’s house in preparation for the largest meal of the year. It was a delight to be with these women. Working together in the kitchen, everyone was occupied with their duties. The turkey, stuffing, and ham were often prepared by my mother, who sat peacefully snapping peas as my great-grandmother snapped peas.

It’s true that in my family — as in many other African-American households throughout the country, there are truly just a few people (maybe two) who are trusted to cook the sweet potato pie.

Served at funerals, baptisms, weddings, picnics, and holiday gatherings, the sweet potato pie is a dessert that can be found at practically any family gathering or event, no matter how formal or informal.

A taste of home

  • Soul food historians have written extensively about the influence that the Great Migration had on the diets of African-Americans over the twentieth century. Before emigrating from the South, African-Americans had been mostly involved in agricultural and agriculture-related businesses. The convenience of larger cities, the realities of fewer living areas, and the difficulty of access to plots of land on which to cultivate food have resulted in the abandonment of many foods and ways of life. The sweet potato — and the pie made from it — survived the loss of much of its culinary heritage. Baking a sweet potato pie may be a time-consuming operation that involves peeling, slicing, boiling, and removing the nasty sweet potato strings from the sweet potatoes. Sweet potato pie, in contrast to pumpkin pie, which can be created quickly and easily with the aid of canned pumpkin puree, requires more effort. One of the reasons African-Americans have opted to remain with the popular sweet potato pie is because it is easy to make. As Miller put it, “it’s just one of those dishes that brings back a lot of deep, deep memories of either familial settings or community events.” “It gives you a flavor of home.” It’s a little taste of what church is like. It has the flavor of family get-togethers. The places where you can get away from everything else that is going on in the world, you know the ones I’m talking about. Your relationship is strong, and you’re feeling the love.” Yes, it is correct. It is vital to understand the history of how African-American families adopted (and developed) the sweet potato pie, but the dessert’s lasting impact is much more about how it makes us feel when we eat it. Whenever you go through the door of a house where a sweet potato pie has been prepared, you will feel a strong feeling of belonging and affection. “Cooking is, at its most fundamental level, an act of love,” as Miller points out. Someone has stated that they are concerned about your survival. “I believe that sweet potato pie represents that to a large number of individuals.”

The surprising history of sweet potato pie that will make you think twice about pumpkin.

Many soul food historians have written extensively about the influence that the Great Migration had on African-Americans’ dietary habits. Agrarian and farming were major sources of income for African-Americans before they left the South. The convenience of larger cities, the reality of fewer living areas, and the difficulty of access to plots of land on which to cultivate food resulted in the abandonment of many traditional foods and methods of living. The sweet potato — and its pie — survived, along with much of its culinary heritage.

  1. Sweet potato pie requires more effort than pumpkin pie, which can be made quickly and easily using canned pumpkin puree.
  2. As Miller put it, “it’s simply one of those things that brings back a lot of deep, deep memories of family settings or community events.” The taste of home is in the air.” The experience is similar to going to church.
  3. The places where you can get away from everything else that is going on in the world, you know the ones I’m referring to.
  4. Even while we should learn about the history of how African-American families adopted (and mastered) the sweet potato pie, its legacy is much more about how the dessert makes us feel.

“Cooking is, at its most fundamental level, an act of love,” says Miller. There is a claim that someone is concerned for your well being. Many people, I believe, associate sweet potato pie with this sentiment.”

McGee is not alone. Some people might try to tell you differently, but sweet potato pie isnotjust pie.

It’s important to remember that behind every delectable piece of sweet potato pie there’s a history of tradition and delight, as well as hardship and love, especially in the black community. In truth, the history of sweet potato pie is as enthralling and delicious as the sweet potato pie itself:

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In the 18th and most of the 19th century, pretty much anything that made it to America, was picked, built, created or made better by a slave.

It’s important to remember that behind every delectable piece of sweet potato pie there’s a history of tradition and delight, as well as struggle and love, especially for the black community. In fact, the history of sweet potato pie is as enthralling and delicious as the sweet potato pie itself.

Even though slaves were working with sweet potatoes in the big house, most slave quarters didn’t have the rightequipment or heat sourcesat the ready to efficiently and adequately bake a pie.

Cooking sweet potatoes was a common practice among slaves in the Caribbean, and this practice resulted in the creation of “candied yams,” which are now famous across the world. It should be noted that sweet potatoes and yams are two distinct plants. This is something I cannot emphasize enough.)

Only after slavery ended and black people had access to better equipment and key ingredients did sweet potato pies begin to find a place in black kitchens.

Indeed, sweet potatoes were still a common crop in the South, and when properly kept, they could be enjoyed throughout the whole year. Furthermore, unlike apples or cherries, a single medium-sized sweet potato may be used to produce an entire pie. Nonetheless, they were kept for exceptional occasions because to the high cost of sugar, eggs, and other ingredients like as cinnamon or nutmeg, as well as the difficulty in obtaining them. In the 1940s, a black tenant kept sweet potatoes in his tobacco barn, according to legend.

But it would be a scientist, not a chef, who would forever cement sweet potatoes into black culinary history.

George Washington Carver, a black scientist and inventor who lived in the early twentieth century, discovered more than 100 uses for sweet potatoes, including postage stamp adhesive and synthetic rubber, among other things. In addition, he developed his own recipe for sweet potato pie, which used cut rounds rather than the traditional mashed potatoes. His study and outreach to black farmers helped to popularize the vegetable, and recipes began to circulate in books and journals across the country as a result of his efforts.

Today, it’s still common to see sweet potato pies in black and Southern households to celebrate family reunions, special occasions, and holidays, particularly Thanksgiving.

Creamy and thick, with a supple and flaky crust, this dish is the pinnacle of comfort food. Some people add bourbon, rum, or candied nuts to make it more interesting. However, even in its most basic form, sweet potato pie has the ability to speak to the soul. It’s the ideal way to convey your affection and thanks. According to McGee, “There’s a lot of excitement I see amongst the volunteers that come and prepare the pies, and they want to do something.” “We have to keep going forward and bringing hope to as many people as we can.” You can do whatever you want – whether it’s baking cookies or preparing a pot of soup or producing chocolates.

“It just so happens to be a sweet potato pie for me today.” Whether you’re offering a slice at a party, to strangers in need of assistance, or to your own family over the holidays, each slice represents a sliver of kindness and generosity. And there’s always room for more of anything like that.

Ready to take your dessert spread to the next level? Add sweet potato pie to your next celebration.

This dish comes from Abby Fisher, a former slave who went on to become a successful businesswoman and cookbook author. What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Southern Cooking was published in 1881, an extraordinary achievement for a black woman at the time, especially given Fisher did not know how to read or write at the time. Her recipe for sweet potato pie is still as good as it was 135 years ago. Sweet Potato Pie from Abby Fisher’s Kitchen: Two pies may be made out of two pounds of potatoes. Preheat oven to 350°F.

Add one tablespoon of butter and mash along with the potatoes.

In the potatoes, put a half teaspoon of salt in them.

Bake as soon as possible.

Little Known Black History Fact: Sweet Potato Pie

According to Abby Fisher, a former slave who became a company owner and cookbook author, this meal is a must-try! “What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Southern Cooking” was published in 1881, an extraordinary accomplishment for a black woman at the time, especially given Fisher did not know how to read or write at the time. Her sweet potato pie recipe is still as good as ever, 135 years after she first shared it. Sweet Potato Pie by Abby Fisher: Two pies may be made from two pounds of potato. Preheat oven to 350°F.

Five eggs, separated into yolks and whites, are beaten together with one gill (one half cup) of milk, sugared to taste, and the juice and half of an orange are sliced into the liquid mixture (five eggs, separated).

One crust, placed at the bottom of the dish, is all you should have.

The pie should be baked for 45 minutes at 400 degrees according to food writer and author Laura Schenone.

Sweet potato pie is pumpkin’s Southern cousin

When it comes to Thanksgiving, according to Gregory Cole, a teacher with the Butler County Culinary Arts program, “Thanksgiving isn’t Thanksgiving until there’s sweet potato pie.” The Wichita Eagle is a newspaper in Wichita, Kansas. He was a grown man the first time Gregory Cole had a piece of pumpkin pie in his mouth. This Thanksgiving, he was serving in the army and stationed in a foreign country distant from home. When he noticed an orange-colored pie, his thanksgiving quotient skyrocketed to the sky.

  1. “I said, ‘Wait a minute,’ and he did.
  2. In his childhood, Cole, who is now a pastry chef and instructor at the Butler County Culinary Arts program, would only eat sweet potato pie.
  3. Sweet potato pie is a Thanksgiving and Christmas tradition in African-American and Southern households.
  4. “Traditionally, people think of Thanksgiving as being centered around the turkey.
  5. Because it is cooked using sweet potatoes and yams, a plant native to Africa, rather than pumpkin, it has become an African food tradition that slaves carried over to the United States and popularized there.
  6. Sweet potato pie, for those who are unfamiliar with the recipe, is similar to pumpkin pie.
  7. Sweet potato pies and pumpkin pies have comparable flavors, but where pumpkin pie is rich and creamy, most sweet potato pies have more texture and the filling is lighter and more airy than pumpkin pie.

It takes one giant sweet potato to create two pies, so prepare ahead of time.

The reason why you shouldn’t bake a single sweet potato pie is that you’ll have to share it with someone else, he explained.

Cole prepares everything for his family’s Thanksgiving dinner, with the absence of one dish.

In any given year, she creates at least 12, with four of them earmarked for a certain brother-in-law, who demands all four for himself.

A few added ingredients, such as a splash of whiskey or a little orange juice in place of part of the liquid and a sprinkling of orange zest, are popular among drinkers.

“Sweet potato pie symbolizes love,” says the author.

Sweet potato pie, on the other hand, makes you happy.” Sweet Potato Pie, created by Gregory Cole This recipe makes two pies.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and bake for an hour, or until the potatoes are tender.

Combine it with the rest of the ingredients in a stand mixer.

Small chunks of chunk should be present in the mixture, but no huge chunks should be included.

Put foil over the sides of the crust and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the pie is set.

Cut the cake into eight pieces and top with whipped cream, if you so like.

1 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon sodium chloride Refrigerated butter (eight tablespoons) Ice-cold water (about 3 teaspoons) Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Work in some cold water into the dough, just until the dough begins to hold together.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes after forming the dough into a flat disc and wrapping it in plastic wrap.

Pie made with sweet potatoes and bourbon, topped with gingered whipped cream and toasted pecans There are 102 to 3 huge sweet potatoes (1 1/2 to 2 pounds) each serving.

ground cinnamon a quarter teaspoon of kosher salt a quarter teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated dried ginger Using a pinch of ground cloves handmade or store-bought graham cracker pie crust (about 10 inches in diameter) To make the topping, combine the following ingredients: 1 cup heavy cream (optional) granulated sugar (about 2 teaspoons) a half teaspoon of finely grated dried ginger To garnish, use toasted pecans.

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Cook for about 1 hour, or until you can see juices bubbling where you pricked the sweet potatoes, on a baking sheet, until the potatoes are soft and tender.
  • Peal and roughly chop the sweet potatoes after they have cooled to room temperature.
  • Process for 2 minutes, or until the mixture is completely smooth.
  • The mixture should begin to appear light and fluffy at this point.
  • Process the final ingredients one more time to ensure that they are completely combined and incorporated.
  • Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
  • Allow for cooling to reach room temperature.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cream, sugar, and ginger until well combined.

Whip the mixture with a whisk or an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Put an even layer of whipped cream on top of the pie and top with toasted pecans to finish it off. According to the Associated Press The original version of this story was published on November 11, 2014 at 6:10 p.m.

You Sweet Potato, I Sweet Po-tah-to: The Origins of Sweet Potato Pie

Is there anyone who doesn’t enjoy (or at the very least knows someone who enjoys) the taste of sweet potato pie? Few foods are more important to families throughout the country at this time of year than the creamy mashed potatoes and the luscious crust. Yes, the enormous bird is usually the center of attention. In contrast to this, sweet potato pie is another dish that has endured the test of time as an American staple that crosses geographical boundaries, political divides, and generations. With a long and illustrious history that stretches from the woods of Peru to the kitchens of the antebellum era, this traditional delicacy is particularly popular in Black and Southern families.

  1. So, how did we come to this point?
  2. It turns out that slavery was at the heart of the introduction of the sweet potato into our country’s culinary history, just as it was with the introduction of many other items.
  3. The sweet potato flourished in the Southern United States after it was introduced to North America and Europe during the transatlantic slave trade.
  4. According to culinary historian Adrian Miller, Spanish traders embarked on their journey to Peru, where they successfully introduced the vegetable to the rest of the globe.
  5. Cookbooks such as The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, which is written by a British author, are a good source of information.
  6. After a while, rich Americans, notably Southern landowners with plantations, learned about the new gastronomic craze spreading over the Atlantic and wanted in on the action.
  7. The pumpkin, on the other hand, gained popularity in the Northern states and, as a result of its lucrative harvest in the autumn, became extensively connected with Thanksgiving by the late nineteenth century.
  8. Although their owners expected intricate baking rituals and concoctions, enslaved African Americans developed their own crustless sweet potato pie using molasses and spices, which they served to their masters as dessert.
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According to Miller, “eating sweet potato pie on Thanksgiving is a homage to a more modern culinary custom.” As more African-American chefs gained regular access to stovetops, a real sweet potato pie began to appear more often on dessert tables.” As previously stated, Spanish traders transported sweet potatoes all over the world throughout the 1600s, including to West Africa.

According to Michael Twitty, author of TheCooking Gene, “‘Yam’ is clearly a phrase from Western Africa, where in numerous West Atlantic languages it translates to the verb ‘nyam,’ which means ‘to eat.’” He goes on to clarify that “‘sweet potato’ is definitely a name from the United States.” “In Wolof, sweet cassava, which looks more like sweet potatoes than true yams, is referred to as ‘nyam-bi,’ which translates as ‘the item that you eat.’ The phrases “yam” and “sweet potato” became synonymous over time among enslaved Black Americans, who were referring to the sweet potato since it was the closest thing they could find to a yam while so far away from home.

Following the Great Migration, many African-Americans who escaped the South came from agricultural backgrounds and carried on their culinary traditions in the northern and midwestern United States after the Civil War.

Desserts such as sweet potato pie are one custom that has survived for decades and is now being passed down from generation to generation.

Sweet potato pie brings back memories of a beloved chef, family get-togethers, and community activities.” If you see a sweet potato pie on your Christmas table this year, praise the chef for preserving a piece of history — and eat it!

Sweet potato pie – Wikipedia

Sweet potato pie

A slice of sweet potato pie
Type Pie
Course Dessert
Place of origin United States
Region or state Southern United States
Main ingredients Pie shell,sweet potatoes,milk,sugar,eggs

Sweet potato pie (although commonly confused with sweet potato casserole, the two dishes are in fact distinct) is a classic dessert that originated in the Southern United States among the African American population and is now popular across the world. It is frequently offered during the holiday season in the United States, particularly at Thanksgiving and Christmas, in place of pumpkin pie, which is more customary in other parts of the country. A top crust is not used because it is baked in an open pie shell.

Other potential additives include vanilla and lemon extracts, among others.


Despite the fact that creamy vegetable pie recipes date back to Medieval Europe, sweet potato pie has been a staple in the southern United States since the early colonial days. The usage of sweet potatoes in Southern and African-American cuisine may be traced back to influences from West Africa. The sweet potato, which is indigenous to the Americas, was most likely utilized by African slaves as a substitute for the foods they were accustomed to eating in their country. Sweet potato pie is a variation on the traditional European pie recipe that uses sweet potatoes as the primary ingredient.

The sweet potato pie had been more generally classed as a dessert by the nineteenth century.

See also

  • Fried sweet potato
  • Purple sweet potato haupia pie
  • Purple sweet potato pie
  • Custard desserts are listed below. Pie is a popular dish in American cuisine. Pies, tarts, and flans are listed below. Regional cuisine from around the United States are included here. Soup made with sweet potatoes
  • A doorway for food


MAITANE ROMAGOSA created this image for THRILLIST. Growing up in a tiny rural community just outside of Augusta, Georgia, Southern cuisine has always been a significant part of my family’s traditions. As I reflected on the innumerable times I’d stood by and watched my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother whiz around in their kitchens cooking meals for the day, I realized that some of my fondest recollections were of days when dessert was the major event. My grandmother worked as a baker for several years before she retired, so I’ve always believed the ability to create delicious pastries to be a genetic trait.

  • However, every year over the holidays, her kitchen is where the magic happens, and although family gatherings this year look very different from previous years, I find that food continues to bring us together despite our geographical distance.
  • Sweet potato pie incorporates all three of these characteristics since it is a dessert that is there throughout times of joy and even loss as a comforting culinary option.
  • Due to the delicate nature of the dish, only a few people in my family are trusted to prepare it, and those who are competent of doing so don’t mind sharing it with those they hold dear, such as numerous grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and even great-great-grandmothers.
  • In contrast to sweet potato pie, which was typically the star of the dinner table on Sunday meals, during holidays, and on other special occasions, the pumpkin pie was a dessert that was rarely (if ever) served.
  • “I just think there’s a widespread affinity for sweet potatoes in the South,” says the author.
  • In general, I believe that sweet potatoes are popular in the southern United States.
  • In so many different elements of cooking, both savory and sweet,” Adams explained.

I’m aware that this is the case in other parts of the world.

It’s simply that I wasn’t brought up with it.

It’s ingrained in our DNA.

Observing her carefully as she boiled and peeled the potatoes, blended them until they were smooth and velvety, then placed them into pie crusts with the rest of the ingredients before baking them, I was fascinated.

The most crucial element of creating a sweet potato pie, she told me, was selecting the appropriate sweet potatoes.

To understand why the pie is so distinctively Southern, we must first consider the origins of the starchy root vegetable substrate on which it is built.

Researchers believe they originated in tropical South America and began migrating west to reach Europe and the southern region of what we now know as the United States in the early 16th century.

Due to the fact that they grow better in warmer temperatures, they have become increasingly popular in southern areas such as Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, Alabama, and Mississippi.

Miles is presently employed as the executive pastry chef at Highlands Bar and Grill, Bottega, and Chez Fonfon in Birmingham, and she associates sweet potato pie with childhood memories of cooking with her mother and grandmother.

“It brings back memories of how she actually didn’t make her pie crust, she used to purchase it from the grocery store,” Miles recalled of her mother, who has now passed away.

“It simply brings her back to me, and I had a lot of thoughts about her throughout Thanksgiving, despite the fact that I didn’t bake a sweet potato pie.” Photograph by Elena Veselova/Shutterstock As a result of her pies appearing in the trunks and freezers of various relatives and friends throughout the year, my Big Ma’s pies were frequently found in the same places as Miles’ aunt’s pies.

  1. The sweet potato pie would be on the table at any of my friends’ houses if you went to their house.
  2. The only time my Big Ma would describe her baking method to me was when she didn’t have a pen or paper in her hand.
  3. After listening to Adams explain her grandmother’s approach to cooking, I realized that this habit of doing everything from memory and sight seemed to be common, at least among Southern grandmothers.
  4. Adams explained that her grandmother never followed a recipe when making her pie, instead tasting everything as it was being prepared until the flavors and textures were exactly what she desired.
  5. It was not uncommon for mom to simply chuck a stick of butter in there.
  6. ‘Everything was extremely instinctive, and she’d simply start whisking it about with the whisk until she got it to the consistency, smoothness, and flavor she desired,’ says the author.
  7. This collection of recipes is a large part of how we got through the difficult times and managed to survive.
  8. They also represent some difficult times, but they are a means for us to navigate through those difficult times,” Adams added.

Kristen Adaway is a Thrillist staff writer that specializes in entertainment news. Follow her on Twitter at @kristenadaway.

The sweet potato holds a special place in African American culture

To my non-Hispanic white readers: Pumpkin pie is not a favorite of black people. A pumpkin pie and a sweet potato pie can seem surprisingly similar when placed side by side. In general, these two fall favorites attract to people from quite varied cultural backgrounds. The History Makers sent out an email today on the history of the sweet potato pie, which you can read here. If you know of someone who can offer a comparable background on the pumpkin pie, please do not bother sending me an email.

  • The holiday season has officially begun, with the traditional Thanksgiving supper to be served the following week.
  • A few of them even compete to see who can produce the best one.
  • Throughout Western Europe, the sweet potato received a rapturous response.
  • Cooks who were enslaved African Americans.
  • Sweet potatoes were traditionally consumed raw or roasted over an open fire by enslaved African Americans in the antebellum period.
  • Ingram (1942 – 2020), who was the first African American female judge in Georgia and the first African American female probate judge in the United States, they were prepared in the following manner: “We used to bake sweet potatoes.
  • you’d divide the ashes and throw the sweet potatoes in there, cover them, and let them to simmer for an hour or two.” Sue Strother Wilson (1934 – 2012), a quilter, recounted the same experience: “I prefer them raw or cooked, but growing up, we would wash them off and eat them raw.
  • Alternatively, she would bake them in the oven of the wood stove.” “A wonderful crop,” according to agricultural expert Walter A.
  • just like Carverdid.
  • it can be substituted for wheat flour.
  • In addition, preparation is straightforward.

A total of more than 100 sweet potato-based goods were produced by Carver over the course of his life, including sugar (molasses), tapioca (rice), coffee (yeast), vinegar (vinegar), paints (dyes), medicine (rubber compound), and synthetic cotton (and silk) Sweet potatoes became a mainstay on many farms as a result of their nutritional value.

  1. we used to have a large field of sweet potatoes.” My father, on the other hand, would plow the sweet potatoes once they had completely blossomed.
  2. And we would continue to eat from that mound throughout the winter.” Nancy Bowlin, an educator and nurse, also recalled a childhood reminiscence: “My earliest childhood memory.
  3. I planted was sweet potatoes,” I recall thinking.
  4. Barbara Boyd, a television reporter who grew up in the Chicago area, described her family’s normal Sunday meal as follows: “Dinner.
  5. someone would steal sweet potatoes from the Italian grocer, and we’d.
  6. Sweet potatoes were provided by me.
  7. had to come over to see what these strange things were all about.

My mother also had simple old-fashioned cornbread, and we traded meals from time to time across the fence,” says the author.

Congressman and Civil Rights pioneer John Lewis was asked about his favorite cuisine, and he said without hesitation, “my favorite food is sweet potato pie.” According to his sister-in-law, his mentor, the Reverend Dr.

Naomi King: I’m going to be honest with you, I don’t know what to say.

‘Martin, is there anything I can do to help you?’ I inquired.

Then he responded, “Making a sweet potato pie for me.” Check on the status of Corrie’s trip up here and whether you can whip up some sweet potato pie for me,’ says the narrator.

found out when she was going to be leaving, baked the sweet potato pie, placed it in a plastic container, and sent it to her location for her to deliver it to.

When I spoke with him, I asked him, ‘Did you get your pie?’ ‘Yeah, Nene,’ he responded.

‘It’s really fantastic, as always.’ And I answered, ‘Well, I’m pleased you’re happy, Martin.’” Producer of musical compositions When H.

Barnum recalled working with a musician whom he compensated with pies, he said, “When I decided that I was going to perform music.

I was going through Billboard magazine when I made the decision to phone three people.

and he responded with, ‘Well, why should I assist you?’ Because I’m interested in learning something, and you’re the greatest at what you do.’ I explained.

‘I don’t have any money,’ I explain.

‘Can you tell me what you want?’ I inquired.

‘Yeah,’ I responded.

As well, I learnt how to.

Orlando Bagwell, a documentary director, stated his Thanksgiving feast as follows: “Turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese, greens, string beans, sauerkraut, pies.

Batts(1947 – 2020), a former federal district court judge, shared some of her favorite recipes: “My mother would occasionally make sweet potato pudding.sweet potato pie, which she learned to make because my father loved sweet potato pies.

she also made fruitcakes.” They were probably good, but.

“The sweet potato pies.

During a holiday custom in his community in Longview, Texas, Charles R.

during the Christmas holiday is the day before.,” Jordan said.

they would cut the sweet potato pie, and they’d have one that they would cut on Christmas Eve.

and you could go around the entire neighborhood.

What you remember most about the place is that it was a loving and sharing environment; more than the meal, you remember the fact that you could go next door and acquire a slice of potato pie on Christmas Eve.” Turnbull, who founded and directed the Boys Choir of Harlem from 1944 to 2007, remembers his grandmother as “a fantastic chef.

And when grandmother brought it out of the oven, I begged for a slice of it.

‘However, my mother never allows it to cool,’ I explained (laughter).

They were still steadfast in the centre of the group.

It was certainly decadent (laughs), to say the least.” Carrie Camillo Tankard, former vice president of the NAACP on Martha’s Vineyard, praised sweet potato pie as having “the finest scent on the planet.” Sweet potato pies were a favorite of my mother’s, and so whenever I prepare them, I am reminded of her.” Many a cook, on the other hand, has gone to their graves with their secret ingredients in tow.

Judge Deborah A.

My mother had stated that she would no longer be making them, and I expressed my displeasure by saying, ‘We cannot allow this to happen.’ ‘You have to teach us how to make it,’ says the narrator.

‘Well, you take a little bit of this and a little bit of that.’ And I’m asking, ‘Are you referring to your pinch or my pinch.’ Please, could you just provide me with some universally recognized measurements?’ And, of course, she was unable to accomplish this.

monitor our every move and tell us what to do.

I was trying to follow the directions when my mother became frustrated and said, “Move (laughter).” So, at ten o’clock at night, I was still trying to follow the directions.

That is why to this day, I have never made a sweet potato pie, and time is running out for me to do so.

Sewell, a lawyer and political official, added, “All of the things that my grandmother used to do, my mother now does.” And I hope that it will not be extinguished in my generation.

it’s on my “bucket list.” As the sweet potato has a special place in African American culture, we hope that as you prepare your holiday meals, you will create sweet memories of your own and ensure that your delicious family recipes are passed down through the generations.

When the Honorable Edith Ingram speaks on session 1, tape 2, story 2, she describes her family’s traditional foodways.

Serena Williams discusses her maternal grandparents and her childhood on a farm in Session 1, tape 2, tale 5.

Hill (The HistoryMakers A2012.248), interviewed by Larry Crowe, December 15, 2012, The HistoryMakers Digital Archive.

Hill discusses his research with sweet potatoes in Session 1, tape 5, tale 6, in which he discusses the second half of his research.

Bobbie Steele recalls the things she ate as a child in Session 1, tape 1, narrative 11 of the Bobbie Steele oral history project.

The sights, sounds, and scents of growing up in Indianola, Mississippi, are described in detail by Ovie Carter in Session 1, tape 2, tale 2.

Nancy Bowlin recalls her first childhood recollection in Session 1, tape 1, narrative 10 of the Nancy Bowlin interview.

Richardson conducted an interview with Barbara Boyd (The HistoryMakers A2000.006) on July 11, 2000, which is available in the HistoryMakers Digital Archive.

In an interview with Larry Crowe on September 21, 2003, Camay Calloway Murphy (The HistoryMakers A2003.225) can be found in the HistoryMakers Digital Archive.

1 of the New York, New York series.

Alexander Jefferson explains his area in Detroit, Michigan, in Session 1, Tape 1, Story 10, Alexander Jefferson.

Richardson conducted an interview with John Lewis (The HistoryMakers A2001.039), which was published on April 25, 2001, in The HistoryMakers Digital Archive.

In an interview conducted by Denise Gines on July 14, 2010, Naomi King (The HistoryMakers A2010.071) was included in the HistoryMakers Digital Archive.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

On September 16, 2008, Larry Crowe conducted an interview with H.

Barnum (The HistoryMakers A2008.110), which may be found in the HistoryMakers Digital Archive.


Adrienne Jones conducted an interview with Orlando Bagwell (The HistoryMakers A2007.339) on December 17, 2007, which is available in the HistoryMakers Digital Archive.

Interview with the Honorable Deborah A.

Story number three in session one, tape number two, and so on.

Interview with Loretta Henry conducted on April 5, 2004 by Julia Reed Hare (The HistoryMakers A2004.040), available in the HistoryMakers Digital Archive.

She remembers the sights, sounds, and scents that surrounded her.

Jordan (The HistoryMakers A2004.167) on September 20, 2004, which is available in the HistoryMakers Digital Archive.

Jordan tells the narrative of his childhood holidays and celebrations in Longview, Texas, during session 1, tape 1, story number 8.

Turnbull (The HistoryMakers A2005.175), and preserved in The HistoryMakers Digital Archive.

Turnbull tells his father’s family history, which he learned from his father.

In Session 1, tape 1, narrative 7, Mary “Betty” Brown relates the sights, sounds, and scents of her early upbringing in the United Kingdom.

Carrie Camillo Tankard discusses the sights, sounds, and scents of her upbringing in Session 1, Tape 2, Story 3, of the third tape.

Batts (The HistoryMakers A2007.239), conducted by Adrienne Jones for the HistoryMakers Digital Archive.

The Right Honorable In an interview with Denise Gines conducted on May 5, 2017 at the The HistoryMakers A2017.096, Terri A.

Sewell (The HistoryMakers A2017.096) is featured in the The HistoryMakers Digital Archive. The Honorable Terri A. Sewell discusses the sights and sounds of her youth in the first session of tape number one, narrative number twelve.

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