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Sep 16, 2021
What's up Cousins,

Black excellence was on full display this week at the Met Gala. Queen RiRi, Naomi Osaka and Lil Nas X all pulled up. Marcus Samuelsson was also showing out in the kitchen. More on that below.

We got some real dope content for you this week. Hit our email up with your thoughts on this week's newsletter.

Stay Blessed.

The Cookout

The Met Gala: Y'all Better Put Some Respect on Marcus Samuelsson's Name

Now that everyone is close to being vaxxed and waxxed, New York City showed out this past week...between the MTV VMA's, NYFW and The Met Gala, the city energy was back! 

We've all likely seen Keke Palmer's Instagram story about The Met Gala food where some compared the photo to the infamous Fyre Festival food fail, turning it into memes and circulating throughout the innanet (internet) but those in the culinary industry took that as a direct hit to highly acclaimed chef and restaurateur, and all around OG Marcus Samuelsson. Marcus was given the task of creating a plant-based menu for the A-list attendees - a major change from previous years. As a Bon Appetit brand adviser Marcus hand selected 10 chefs (Fariyal Abdullahi, Nasim Alikhani, Emma Bengtsson, Lazarus Lynch, Junghyun Park, Erik Ramirez, Thomas Raquel, Sophia Roe, Simone Tong, and Fabian von Hauske) to celebrate our city after a very difficult year. The culinary team were responsible for creating recipes that reflected their take on American cuisine as this year's Met Gala theme was In America: A Lexicon of Fashion. 

However, the team at The Cookout have some questions and thoughts because what's a cookout without an open discussion? First...when did Keke Palmer become an authoritative voice in the culinary industry? (We'll wait) Okay, so check this...As a first time attendee, we think Keke could've read the room and found another way to uplift this Black man that has worked in the industry for damn near 25 years. Marcus ain't new to this...he's true to this, with restaurants in Sweden, Canada, the Bahamas, New York City and Miami, he's cooked for President Barack Obama - he's cooked his entire life so is no stranger to the kitchen. 

Now is the time to give Marcus his flowers and put some respek on his name. We salute you brother!

               

Let's raise a glass of something whether that be champagne, whiskey, tequila or Carlos Rossi. Our people truly showed up and showed OUT this year...between RiRi and ASAP Rocky shutting the carpet down to Lewis Hamilton buying a table for emerging black fashion designers to the presence LaQuan Smith had to Marcus being solely responsible for the Met Gala cuisine. We all went through the rough year that was 2020 and were directly able to see the huge impact Black Lives Matter had on our country so why must we create tension amongst ourselves when we have others to worry about or even fear? We still have a long way to go to feel fully represented, but this is certainly a start! Let's not discriminate amongst each other, stop creating divides and support one another in ways others won't.

Nahhh: What NOT to Bring to The Cookout 

Whew chile. We all know what sells at the cookout. But what about what doesn’t? If you want to avoid being talked about at the adult and the kids’ table for doing something as foolish as putting shrimp in your potato salad, read on to find out what to avoid bringing anywhere near the cookout!

Casserole

I’ve never even made a casserole, and I don’t know any Black folk who have either. What even is it? A cold lasagna with coleslaw and shredded turkey meat? Whatever is in it, don’t even think about it.

Pumpkin Pie


Always bring a sweet potato pie to the function. This may be slightly controversial, but for many of us, it's a basic rule of thumb. Ain’t nothing wrong with a pumpkin pie, but sweet potato pie has historical tangents in our cultural history. Pumpkin pie is historically a fan favorite in the North, while sweet potato pie was a favorite of the South, where many of our enslaved ancestors resided. To eat a sweet potato pie is to remember our heritage.

Cheese Plate/ Charcuterie Board



We tryna grub, not delicately dine. Cheese plates are cute for office parties or afternoon networking events on a city rooftop. Not for chowing down with the fam. Leave the cheese for the burgers.

Nothing



...Come on now. A cookout is a community event. All this rightfully necessary conversation about mutual aid these days, and everyone knows pitching in at the cookout has always been Black folk’s form of mutual aid. If you can't cook, bring red cups, Canada Dry ginger ale, plastic utensils, or if you’re looking to help reduce mass plastic waste starting in your own community, bring paper straws and offer to clean dishes after the cookout’s over. (If you do take up the task though, good luck to ya.)

Potato Salad...with Raisins



What in the Karen (WTK)?
That’s all I have to say about that, y’all.

We at the Cookout know that our dedicated subscribers would never even dare to cook up these dishes. However, just in case you come across a brother, sister, or another who suggests something outrageous to bring to the cookout, show them the light. Respectfully.

How Chicken Wings Changed The Game

This past weekend marked the start of football season, America's most popular sport. Nothing is more synonymous with football season than grabbing a cold beer and feasting on your favorite flavor chicken wings. Despite their current popularity, chicken wings only gained this fame in the last 50 years. 

Chicken itself has always been a staple of American food but the wings in particular were the part of the chicken that people of means threw away and looked down upon, much like the neck, gizzards, and liver. Until around the 1970s, wings were the scraps essentially reserved for "poor" families. They cost only a few cents a pound while the preferred breast cost ten times more. There's no debate that deep frying wings had always been a staple of southern cooking but history credits the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY with creating the wing as a dish in the mid 60's.

Wings on The Come Up

Wings have come quite a long way since being a disregarded part of chicken, the meteoric rise in popularity of wings since the 70's to today has made wings now the most expensive part of the bone in chicken. Wing prices today are around $2.50/lb while a whole chicken is around $1.30/lb.

The NCC (National Chicken Council...yeah that's a real thing, fact check me if you need to) estimated that in 2017 for SuperBowl weekend people would consume 1.33 billion wings alone. An unfathomable number in my mind but it makes sense because in the 90's we started to see major corporations jump on the wing wave. Who remembers the Mighty Wings at McDonalds? Not to mention Domino's and Pizza Hut also added wings to their menus during that time.
 

Today there are stand alone restaurants devoted to just wings. Powerhouses like WingStop have emerged and really tapped into the culture. Rap hit maker and legend Rick Ross has solidified himself as the face of WingStop (owner of 28 franchises) and it seems like a perfect fit. Ross has rapped many times in his songs about the popular wing flavor Lemon Pepper and it has become the go-to choice, even titling hit song with Drake "Lemon Pepper Freestyle". In fact, just this past Tuesday, Ross added to his legend status by gifting his son a WingStop franchise for his 16th birthday. We won’t get into how great that gift is, as opposed to getting some big party and “surprise” luxury car.
 

Nowadays the biggest debate about wings has become which part is better, drum or flats? If you really wanna get a discussion going at your cookout, ask everyone which they prefer...but be careful because all out war might ensue. I have my own ideas about who chooses drums and who likes flats but I won't get into that here, that's a whole nother conversation for a whole nother day. Just know the once cheap, thrown away, looked down upon wings have ascended to become the most coveted part of the chicken. With its flavor, versatility, and shareability, wings bring everyone together over a great meal. We couldn't ask for anything better!
 

Be sure to let us know what part of the wing and flavor is your favorite. Are you classic with mild/hot buffalo, do you only rock with lemon pepper or do you have a specialty? We wanna know so make your voice heard at the Cookout.

 

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