First of all, happy 2022! This is our first issue of the New Year.
Just like ya'll, we have New Years resolutions including staying away from the B.S, saying "no" to things that don't make us happy and eating good food.
This week's edition of the newsletter is dedicated to a man who quite literally gave his life for Black folks and other marginalized folks here in the United States: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
This week's edition is dedicated to the man who led a movement that sparked real change around the world.
Let's get into it.
Dr. King Marched – and He Ate Too
To them– *ahem,* “others”–Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. serves as the quintessential Civil Rights activist reference point. You know, the historic cliche figurehead of all things Black. But to us? Man, MLK was not only one of the GOATS, but he was also a real person. Dr. King was a Black man who lived through the bullshit, studied the bullshit, marched against the bullshit, got tired of the bullshit and throughout it all, stopped to eat along the way.
MLK suffered brutal violence at the hands of white police officers and the rest of the alabaster public for both his work and for simply existing as a Black man in America. During the Civil Rights Era, segregationist laws that regulated Black Americans to separate bathrooms, workplaces, neighborhoods and restaurants, also severely limited day-to-day simple pleasures, like enjoying a hot meal at a decent eatery.
In fact, after MLK led and participated in local protests, he would grub at local establishments owned and operated by skinfolk that were indeed, kinfolk. So, if you’ve ever wondered what food was fit for the King, take a look below.
Church is where everything’s at. It was and continues to be a community space and foundation for Black Americans. At this particular church was Montgomery cook, Georgia Gilmore, who fed Dr. King and his activist crew, stewed greens, pork chops and rice. She empowered Black female chefs to provide for the community. According to NPR, “Gilmore organized black women to sell pound cakes and sweet potato pies, fried fish and stewed greens, pork chops and rice at beauty salons, cab stands and churches.” Sounds like Chef Gilmore was cookin’ with good intention for the ‘itis!
Paschal’s has been serving up Atlanta’s (and Dr. King’s) favorite fried chicken since 1947. John Lewis told the New York Times, "he would go out to the protests and then Paschal's became almost like home base. If somebody became separated or arrested, they knew that this was a place you could come to make a phone call or, frankly, just get a meal." Clearly, Paschal’s was more than a restaurant for Dr. King. It was a safe space as well.
The Atlanta barbecue joint was a favorite of Dr. King’s, previously owned by Ernest Alexander and now operated by his daughter, Pamela Alexander. According to Andrew Young, a prominent civil rights activist and former Atlanta mayor, the famed ribs (slabbered in Come Back sauce), inspired Dr. King’s nights of speechwriting. She told the Washington Post, “whenever he had to write a speech, he’d either get some ribs or have somebody get some for him and take them to his house.”
Woolworth’s is better known as the downtown Durham location for the civil rights sit-ins than it is for its food. Today, there remains one last location in Bakersfield where they still press burgers by hand.
This Memphis soul food spot was said to be one of the few (if only) places where Black and white Americans sat together over turnip greens and fried green tomatoes. The spot was owned by Irene and Clint Cleaves when Dr. King visited, namely, during his last trip to Memphis.
MLK put his foot on necks – (proverbially of course–we know our man was peaceful)– and demanded that the world lead with light rather than darkness. Guiding, marching and speaking from sunup to sundown must have been tiring, and behind every great leader is a stomach that needs to be fulfilled. King was for the cause, the community and the light. Here’s to one of the greatest of all time. *cue Nas and Quan, “can we please have a moment of silence”*
A Recipe Fit for a Hero
As we head into a long weekend celebrating a legend in Black history and American history, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, we wouldn't be doing right as a Black food media company if we didn't leave ya'll with a recipe for one of Dr. King's favorite foods. The man loved his smothered steak, so we put together this easy to make recipe inspired by one of Dr. King's favorite dishes with our own spin on it of course.
Check out the recipe below and hit our inbox and let us know how it is (pics are even better).
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
¼ cup dry red wine
½ cup low sodium beef broth, divided
¾ cup heavy cream
Chopped flat-leaf parsley
In a large heavy cast iron pan heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 teaspoons of butter over medium heat. Saute the shallots and mushrooms for about 5 minutes, until the shallots are translucent. Add in the garlic and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Remove the sautéed items from the pan and set aside.
Pound the steak portions to 1 inch thick and pat dry. Season the flour with onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and fresh cracked black pepper. Dredge the steak in the seasoned flour, shake off the excess flour and set aside. Keep the remaining flour.
Place the cast iron pan on medium high heat and add in the remaining oil and butter. When hot, fry the steak in a single layer on each side until golden browned, about 4-5 minutes per side. Lower the heat if the steaks begin to brown too quickly or gets too smoky.
Once the meat is browned, remove from the pan and set aside.
Making the gravy
Using the same pan, return to medium heat and melt the butter. Add in the sliced onions and sprinkle with salt. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they are fragrant and a deep brown color. This should take about 12 minutes. Add in 1-2 tablespoons of water if the onions begin to dry out.
Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook for about 1 minute or until fragrant.
Add 2 tablespoons of the remaining dredging flour to the pan. Mix the flour into the onions and cook to blend completely, about 2 minutes.
Deglaze the pan with dry red wine and cook for 1 minute. Add in the beef broth and bring to a simmer while scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Let the liquid reduce and thicken slightly, about 2 minutes.
Whisk in the heavy cream and simmer for 1-2 minutes until the gravy is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Return the steaks to the pan and spoon over the sauce. Let simmer until the steak is completely cooked through, about 5 minutes.
Season the gravy with additional salt and pepper if needed.
Serve over creamy grits and garnish with chopped parsley.
2 cups water
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 cup stone-ground grits
2 tablespoons butter
¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Bring the water, ream, and salt to a boil in a medium heavy bottom saucepan.
Slowly add in the grits and stir constantly to avoid grits getting lumpy. Add another teaspoon of salt. Partially cover the pot and bring to a simmer and cook the grits for about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally while they simmer so they don’t stick to the pot. The grits will thicken and bubble thickly when done.
Uncover the pot and remove from the heat. Stir in the pepper and cheeses. Taste and add additional butter or cream if needed.