Friday, February 5, 2010

Tumultous Thursday: Is NBC Racist For Cooking "Soul Food"???

I think it is safe to say that this might have been the tweet heard around the world!

Yesterday, drummer of the Roots Questlove snapped a tweetpic of the "wonderful" lunch menu the cafeteria over at NBC was serving in honor of Black History Month. The menu consisted of fried chicken, collared greens and jalapeno cornbread.  As soon as Questlove posted the picture on his twitter page, it spread like wild fire over the internet! Many people were outraged, even threatening to boycott the station(check out the Facebook group they made against NBC.SMH) 

To save themselves from yet another scandal, NBC apologized to those who were offended by the menu. However, in a recent interview, NBC Chef Leslie Calhoun, who is black, did not understand the uproar about the menu. She even picked the menu out herself! See below for her interview.

All day, yesterday, I have been tweeted, texted and BBMed (that's Blackberry Messenger for the folks who don't know)about how I felt about the menu. I even got asked if I would "put NBC on blast for being soo ignent (not ignorant, ignent)." To be quite honest with you, I don't know.

Coming from a strong Jamaican family, my parents always insisted that my brothers and I learn about our culture and appreciate it. Hell, when I look at my mother sometimes and call her the Jamaican Angela Davis. So, I have read many books, articles, and speeches about the history of the African Americans, slavery, and also soul food.

So, let me school you young bloods on the history of Soul food....

*clears throat*

 Back when slavery was about, slaves had to create their own dishes from the leftovers that their masters did not eat.  They had to learn how to prepare simple, one-pot meals such as fufu, which consisted of vegetables and pounded yams. African's native foods were yams, vegetables, rice, and groundnuts so Africans were skillful in growing small gardens (collard greens) and fruits (watermelons).  Africans were also very skilled in frying, roasting, grilling, boiling, and steaming their foods. However, cooking was mostly done on open pits or fireplaces, which would be equivalent to how we barbecue today.  

They also used large amount of fat, sugar, and salt to season their foods because it was cheap and  available. Salt was also used as a preservative since there were no refrigeration or other methods to keep food cool during that time. Also, many people didn't know that slaves use to mix crushed watermelon, sugar and water to make a drink which is somewhat similar to when we mix Kool-Aid today.

So, in a way, soul food symbolizes how our people were brilliant enough to make a divine, healthy meal out of what people would consider nothing but scraps. 

However, I can understand why some people would find the menu "racist."  NBC having this menu is somewhat offensive and sort of "stereotypical". I mean it is like me saying let's make fried rice for Chinese New Year or let's fist pump during the Columbus Day Parade. Cultures should never be stereotyped at all by one thing. If NBC wanted to celebrate Black History Month through food, why couldn't they have the soul food but put a modern twist on it? Hell, they did it on Top Chef! YOU GUYS OWN TOP CHEF! YOU KNOW BETTER!!!! 

What do you crazy folks think? Do you find this offense? 

NBC definitely does not need this extra drama. SMH, I bet Jeff Zucker has a huge bottle of Grey Goose in his office because the amount of BS he is going through this early in the year, it is ridonkulous! SMH



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