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Okra, Beans, and Leafy Greens

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We’re stoked. As we mentioned in our July Westchester Magazine feature, “Westchester’s All-Americans”, we feel that the African American contribution to American cuisine is overlooked. While much of Southern cuisine has become emblematic of American cuisine as a whole, most people still think this food was invented by the fainting, petticoated likes of Scarlett O’Hara. Instead, it was really African immigrants (and sons and daughters of immigrants) who invented the Southern American culinary vocabulary. Like Jazz, or Rock and Roll, this cuisine definitely had African roots, but it was still as joyously and irrepressibly American as jambalaya and hoppin’ john.

On Sunday, July 27, Philipsburg Manor and Stone Barns will join up to celebrate African-American cuisine. Here’s all the info, courtesy of the folks at Historic Hudson Valley. We’ll be there—with bells on.

News Release

‘Okra, Beans, and Leafy Greens’

Philipsburg Manor, Stone Barns come together to celebrate African-American cuisine
Pickling contest, farm tours, and lots of food at Sunday, July 27, event

SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. (July 11, 2008) — Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., is teaming up with nearby Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, N.Y., to host an event dedicated to the origins of barbecue, deep-fat frying, gumbo, and other delicacies that came to these shores courtesy of African-Americans.

“Okra, Beans, and Leafy Greens: The African-American Foodways Festival,” being held at both sites on Sunday, July 27, from 10-5, will immerse visitors in the past and present of African-American cuisine, examining the major influence it had on colonial cooking and continues to have on contemporary American menus.

The program at Philipsburg Manor — a non-profit historic site that tells the story of slavery in the colonial north — will focus on the history of food in Africa, the West Indies, and the North American colonies. The program at Stone Barns — a non-profit farm and education center dedicated to the principles of sustainable agriculture — will focus on more contemporary expressions of African-American food.

At Philipsburg Manor, three food vendors will offer a variety of tasty dishes for sale. Among the sweets and savories on the menu are West African dishes like Akra (black eye pea fritters) Red-red (Ghanian bean stew), and Joloff rice with chicken (West African rice cooked in a spicy tomato sauce); West Indian dishes including Jamaican patties and calaloo; and barbecue dishes such as pulled pork sandwiches, ribs, and corn on the cob. Also available will be traditional beverages like Bissap Rouge, a hibiscus flavored drink, and ginger beer. The food vendors are African Palava of Manhattan, Golden Krust of Ossining, and Jackalope of Fishkill.

The program will also feature drumming and traditional west African Ghanian dance by Kofi Donkor, garden tours, coopering demonstrations (barrel making), and a gourd workshop.

Activities at Stone Barns will include a pickling contest, arts and crafts activities for children, storytelling, farm tours where visitors can help feed pigs and collect eggs, and performances by Kazi Oliver’s drum ensemble.

Judges for the pickling contest will be Jon Orren of Wheelhouse Pickles and Bob McClure of McClure’s Pickles, both of New York City, and chef Adam Kaye, kitchen director at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Prizes include lunch for two at Stone Barns’ Blue Hill Café. Full information and an entry form for the pickling contest is available at www.stonebarnscenter.org.

A free shuttle will run between the two sites, which are a short drive apart, throughout the day. Admission: $15 for adults, $12 for senior citizens, $8 for children ages 5-17, free for children under five and for members of Historic Hudson Valley and Stone Barns center for Food and Agriculture.

Tickets are available online at www.hudsonvalley.org.

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