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Sizzling

Published by The Economist on Fri, 23 Sep 2016


HERE is how to cook cow peas: 'Remove all the peas that look weird and wash and soak in cold water. Cook in some kind of boiled meat until done.' That was how her Aunt Rose cooked them'Rose Ritter Polite, fine as she could be, who used to cry when she got her hair cut, who saved her baby niece from being thrown into the fireplace (her mother had a touch of 'childbirth fever'), and who also made the best red rice: 'Fry smoke bacon in a skillet and then add your fresh tomatoes. Cook for a hot minute and then add cold cooked rice and cook for another 20 minutes.' The recipes in Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor's first book, 'Vibration Cooking: or, The Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl', include no lists of ingredients or numbered steps and few precise measurements. Instead, she talks to the reader. Her book is an extended disquisition on art, family, race and food; she had been everywhere, met everyone and had strong opinions about everything.Her recipes came wrapped in stories. 'Neal fried chicken' was for her friend Larry Neal, a scholar of African-American theatre; its three-hour soak in milk because 'we hadn't...Continue reading
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