African Food Essay

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Foods from Africa, which have impacted North American cuisine are numerous, and common in the everyday eating habits of Americans. In the 21st century, Americans take for granted the history of the food they eat, and the origins of the foods that are eaten today. In the early part of the history of the United States, people of European descent brought recipes from home and adapted their recipes to the ingredients which were available. The slave trade was directly responsible for what many Americans think of as American food, and those foods are traceable to Africa. Because slaves incorporated their own foods into the everyday lives of their masters, some of the unique foods from Africa and their history are not well known today. American…show more content…
Africans did not willingly come to the United States, but in the slave ships which brought them, they brought food not indigenous to America, grew it, and assimilated it into everyday foods of the people that owned them. Today most Americans take this food for granted, without knowing its origin. The transatlantic slave trade brought rice, okra, black-eyed peas, and kidney and lima beans to the shores of America very early in its history. Also sorghum, millet, watermelon, yams and sesame; found their way into America and became part of the ingredients found in the early cook books written by Americans in the Deep South. To better understand the foods which arrived from Africa, knowing the slaves and slave traders that brought them is important. “It is believed that the first African slaves were imported to the New World at the beginning of the 17th century and that the first slaves came from Senegambia and the Windward Coast. Senegambia was a loosely defined region of West Africa that comprises the present-day nations of Senegal and The Gambia. Windward Coast is roughly the current country of Ivory…show more content…
This type of cooking brought slave traditions of adaptation of foods to the forefront and exposed many people that were not familiar with these foods knowledge of them. The use of less expensive proteins, greens, one pot meals. During and after slavery, living conditions of the African people in the United States were extremely poor. Because of this, the Africans were able to adapt and use what was available to them, just as they had done during the lean times in Africa. As soul food restaurants became more common in larger cities, so did the foods among not only the black communities, but all people. “Though soul food originated in the South, soul food restaurants — from fried chicken and fish "shacks" to upscale dining establishments-are in every African-American community in the nation, especially in cities with large black populations, such as Chicago, New York, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Washington,

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