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High On The Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America

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Black food is American food. Chef and writer Stephen Satterfield traces the delicious, moving throughlines from Africa to Texas in this docuseries.

Food, community, culture, resiliency. Based on Jessica B. Harris’ award-winning book, High On The Hog traces the moving story of a people's survival and triumph via the food that has knit generations together and helped define the American kitchen. From Gumbo to fried chicken, our culinary journey stretches from Africa to enslavement, to the Harlem Renaissance, up to our present-day; we celebrate the courage, artistry, and resourcefulness of the African American people. This is not just an African American story; it’s an American story. A feast for all the senses.

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Available on Netflix 5/26/21

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S1.E1: Our Roots

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The hunt for African American food's roots goes to Benin, where okra and yam rule the market and pre-enslavement fish and corn plates reign at a table.

 

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I wasn't familiar with Stephen Satterfield before this show, but I like that he really gives his guests and experts the opportunity to shine. It drives me crazy when hosts bring in other people but reduce them to sound bites or barely let them talk. It was really nice to see him give the spotlight to the people he brought on the show.

I always hear the yam vs. sweet potato debate at Thanksgiving so I'm glad that we cleared that up!

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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S1.E2: The Rice Kingdom

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In the Carolinas, Stephen looks at the human cost of rice and goes whole hog with Gullah chef BJ Dennis and those preserving Black culinary traditions.

 

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This was a really interesting episode. The stuff about the history of rice was informative. I like how the show combines food and culture without shying away from how terrible a lot of the history behind it is.

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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S1.E3: Our Founding Chefs

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From mac and cheese to Virginia ham: Jefferson's and Washington's renowned enslaved chefs James Hemings and Hercules left the nation hungry for more.

 

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So far, episode 3 has been my favorite. I learned so much about both history and food. And next time I make pasta, I am definitely going to try using half milk/half water.

I did not know that Washington kept bringing enslaved people from his house in Philadelphia back to Virginia to circumvent the law that would have granted their freedom after six months. What a guy!

When they later said that Jefferson agreed to free his cook James Hemings only if he trained a replacement, I thought he was just trying to trick him into going back to Monticello so that his six month clock would be reset as well. According to wikipedia, a few years after James was freed, Jefferson offered to hire him at the White House but James declined.

ETA: More info about the Hemings & Hercules dinners at Hatchet Hall is available here.

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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S1.E4: Freedom

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Barbecued brisket meets Senegalese lamb and a Juneteenth feast as Stephen heads to Texas to ride with Black cowboys and take in Jerrelle Guy's cakes.

 

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I just saw this recommended to me by Netflix and was glad to see this forum. I will download on iPad and watch at the gym. 

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12 hours ago, Spunkygal said:

I just saw this recommended to me by Netflix and was glad to see this forum. I will download on iPad and watch at the gym. 

More power to you if you can watch this while at the gym.  I found that it took my complete attention.  This is pretty thorough and it made me both think and feel especially the first episode.  I started watching this last week when it first dropped and could only watch one episode at a time.  

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On 5/30/2021 at 12:44 PM, ElectricBoogaloo said:

So far, episode 3 has been my favorite. I learned so much about both history and food. And next time I make pasta, I am definitely going to try using half milk/half water.

I did not know that Washington kept bringing enslaved people from his house in Philadelphia back to Virginia to circumvent the law that would have granted their freedom after six months. What a guy!

When they later said that Jefferson agreed to free his cook James Hemings only if he trained a replacement, I thought he was just trying to trick him into going back to Monticello so that his six month clock would be reset as well. According to wikipedia, a few years after James was freed, Jefferson offered to hire him at the White House but James declined.

ETA: More info about the Hemings & Hercules dinners at Hatchet Hall is available here.

I'll also try the half milk/ half water as well! I found that fascinating.

The info about Washington was just appalling to learn, like many other things in the special. For some reason, that one just made me so angry & sad. Such a great guy, ugh. 

Loved the whole special, well done and informative and touching and engaging. 

 

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I just watched Concrete Cowboys last month, so the fourth episode of this show was really interesting (different parts of the country, but still really cool to see more about Black cowboys).

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Just watched the first episode - so fascinating and powerful and moving. I think it's going to take me awhile to work through this series - there is a lot of thoughtfulness and detail, and it's emotionally moving as well.

Benin looked like a fascinating place - I loved the visit to the water village where Voodoo is said to have originated. The cuisine looked delicious everywhere they went. It's nice that younger chefs are wanting to both preserve traditions and innovate to spread their food to a wider global audience.

I have not heard of the host, Stephen Satterfield before, but I am really enjoying his narration and the way he interacts with people on camera. Looking forward to the next episodes.

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I really enjoyed this series. I thought the second and third episodes were just amazing. I just put Black Girl Baking by Jerrelle Guy on hold after watching that episode. I'd love to see a second season of this.

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Food writer Stephen Satterfield traces the origins of African-American cuisine, tracing its through lines from Africa to Texas.

 

On Netflix

 

I am watching this with my Mom (four part series) and we are enjoying it very much. 

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On episode 2, when they were discussing the culture of the Carolinas, I thought “sickle cell trait protected us from malaria in the marshes of the Carolinas”. Low and behold they brought that up!(I have sickle cell trait as does my Mom). 
 

The cultivation of rice in North America was such an important part of the wealth building of what would be the USA. Did anyone else watch “Gullah Gullah Island” on Nickelodeon as a kid?  
 

I am finding everyone Stephen Satterfield is interviewing to be such a treasure. I am following Gabrielle Eitienne on Instagram now. 

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I really loved this series. They covered so much and each episode was so rich, but it still felt as though they barely scratched the surface! Our history lessons have been so lacking. 

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