Why It’s Vital To Learn About Gullah Cooking, According To Kardea Brown – Exclusive

When talking about the future of Gullah cooking, Brown sees the cuisine playing a bigger role in the culinary world, which she has begun to tackle through her own work. “I think it deserves that bigger stage, I think it’s worth the conversation,” she says. “And I think it deserves [that attention] even past my time.” In her cookbook, Brown highlights many of the foods that originally came to the U.S. via the slave trade and are synonymous with Southern cooking today, including okra, yams, peas, hot peppers, benne seeds, and watermelon. She also notes that rice was cultivated so successfully in the South because of the enslaved people originally from rice-growing regions in West Africa.

Brown grew up in a cooking family and credits her mother and grandmother for instructing and inspiring much of her cooking journey. “In the kitchen is where I got to see and hear about all the special ways our families and our way of life went into the way we made pound cake, the way we prepared Hoppin’ John,” writes Brown in her cookbook, with emphasis on “we”. When asked how to keep those kinds of traditions alive, Brown says showing the younger generations how to cook and take pride in the meals they create for themselves will help inspire them to keep family traditions going. “Not only can I enjoy this meal…but it’s even better when you get to make it yourself.”