Like a good gumbo, Gullah cooking was and is still, layered with ingredients, flavors and cooking techniques borrowed over time from many cultures – West African, European, Caribbean and even native American.
Likewise, many beloved “Southern” specialties can be directly accredited to the Gullah and their ancestral African cooking techniques. Peanuts, okra, rice, yams, peas, hot peppers, sesame seeds, sorghum, and watermelon are some of the foods brought across the sea to America by the Gullah’s enslaved ancestors.
Does the aroma of hardwood-smoked, pit-cooked barbeque set your taste buds on alert? Does the thought of crispy, fried chicken or bowl of spicy shrimp okra gumbo fill your head with delight? Then say a word of ‘thanks’ to the Gullah as those and many more American favorites are of their making.
Combined with a love of family and a penchant for entertaining, to the Gullah, food is not merely for human sustenance, but a means for expressing love and appreciation for their families and community – a very Southern notion, indeed.