Saturday, December 24, 2011

Kwanzaa and Marcus Books and Fried Green Tomatoes


Monday, December 26 is the first day of 7 to celebrate Kwanzaa. An American holiday celebrating the pan-African cultures. It was created in 1967 by UCLA Professor of African Studies Ronald McKinley Everett, now known as Mulana Karenga scholar, activist, and author. The week-long holiday is honored by lighting a candle colored in green, red and black, one for each of the seven principals and exchanging gifts on the last day. The seven principals: Unity, Self-Determination, Collective Work & Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity and Faith. In short, to maintain a collective community together through family, faith and business enterprise. In this season of holiday celebrations such as Halloween, Hanukkah, Christmas, Dia De Los Muertos and Kwanzaa try a little something new; read a poem, sing a song, attend a community fair or try a new food recipe.


In my San Francisco neighborhood within lower Pacific Heights I am fortunate to be walking distance to historic Marcus Books (click) on 1712 Fillmore Street. The independent oldest black bookstore in the country. A once thriving Black business district Drs. Julian and Raye Richardson, printshop owners began selling books in 1960 written by Black authors, historical books on Africa and Africans when such literature was difficult to locate. My heritage is from western Europe but I love this bookstore! Marcus Books was an active participant during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960's providing a meeting place and forum for various groups to organize. So revered was Marcus Books they have the distinction of hosting celebrity speakers as Muhummad Ali, Maya Angelou, Queen Latifa, and Cornel West and hundreds more. There is also a complete children's section fun for all ages to browse such as "Sasha and Malia At The White House". They have a second Marcus Books location in Oakland to serve the local African-American community. I have a curiosity for new food recipes so I had to take home "The African American Heritage Cookbook", Traditional Recipes & Fond Remembrances From Alabama's Renowned Tuskegee Institute by Carolyn Quick Tillery.

George Washington Carver, 1864-1943 American scientist, botanist and educator born into slavery. Carver was instrumental in the theories of alternative crops and increased crop production for local poor farmers in Alabama. Also responsible for giving the world, peanut butter. He also had a personal passion for cooking and sharing his own recipe creations. Here is Carver's recipe for the famous southern Fried Green Tomatoes:

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 Tbl. all purpose flour
1 tea. sugar
1 tea. seasoned salt
1/8 tea. cayenne pepper
Pepper to taste
5 green tomatoes, sliced
3 Tbl. bacon drippings
Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, and seasonings; coat both sides of the tomato slices with the mixture. Place on a wire rack and allow to dry 10 minutes. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat drippings over medium heat and fry tomatoes in a single layer. Brown each side lightly. Serve immediately.

I urge all my bay area natives to visit Marcus Books in San Francisco and Oakland. I know you will find a book to delight.











1 comment:

  1. An insightful blog on Kwanzaa.Best wishes for your future posts. Asante sana.

    ReplyDelete

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