Our Southern kitchens are where Black and Jewish traditions come together


August 18, 2023

Forrest Clonts

A Southern spread featuring a blintz casserole, Hoppin' John and a "kosher" okra gumbo combines histories of Eastern Europe, the American South and the continent of Africa.

(JTA) - We grew up in South Carolina in the late 1960s and '70s, one of us from the capital city, Columbia, and the other from the small town of Summerton. The foods served on our respective tables were a blend of Southern and Jewish, menus long ago established by our immigrant grandmothers and the African-American women who cooked for their families. Kashrut was observed in our grandmothers' kitchens, and Southern recipes recrafted for a kosher table mingled quite comfortably with the stuffed cabbage and tzimmes. Favorite family recipes were handed down from generation to generation - l'do...

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