07 May 2022

Gullah Geechee Home Cooking by Emily Meggett

Book cover of Gullah Geechee Home Cooking by Emily MeggettHappy Saturday, my friends. I've been absent for the past couple of weeks and wanted to let you know we're fine. We were busy, and I didn't have time to do much interesting cooking to share with you.

Today I want to talk about a special cookbook I received from Abrams because I'm a member of their Abrams Dinner Party review group. Emily Meggett's Gullah Geechee Home Cooking cookbook is a collection of the author's everyday recipes. These dishes not only are often found in Meggett's kitchen but also grace the tables of her neighbors on Edisto Island, South Carolina.

What's more, these foods would likely be familiar to Meggett's ancestors who, despite the odds, preserved many aspects of their African heritage, including farming, crafts, music, and cooking. The Gullah Geechee people share an African creole language that allowed enslaved peoples from diverse homelands to communicate with each other.

I'm pleased to say that the editors of Gullah Geechee Home Cooking wisely preserved Meggett's voice. When I was reading the many stories and informative pieces in the book, I could imagine Meggett was in the room talking to me directly. This added so much to the experience of using this cookbook and helped further one of Meggett's goals:

I hope my book, and these recipes, invite you into our culture, our history, and our present. Through my cooking, I hope you enjoy the best of the South and appreciate the Gullah Geechee influences that have made this region what it is today.
Sliced Banana Bread from Gullah Geechee Home Cooking by Emily MeggettWhen I first opened Gullah Geechee Home Cooking, I was surprised to find so many common recipes, such as crab cakes, slaw, and fried green tomatoes. But after I read the introductory chapters, read some of Meggett's stories, and learned her approach to cooking and ingredients, I couldn't wait to try her versions of dishes I have made often. Many of her recipes have a unique ingredient or come with advice for how to tweak the consistency or spices. Though I've made countless banana breads in my time, the loaves I made following Meggett's recipe were close to the best I've baked (see photo).

I liked the addition of grated bell pepper in the meaty filling for her Stuffed Bell Peppers and the use of two different Cheddars in her Pimento Cheese. Other recipes I tried were Meggett's Creole Shrimp and her version of cornbread. I have more recipes marked to try, including her no-milk Sour Cream Cake and her version of Macaroni and Cheese, which calls for evaporated milk.

It's true that you may already have recipes for a number of the dishes in Gullah Geechee Home Cooking; however, Meggett's versions are well worth trying. Plus she also shares some of her signature dishes, such as Stuffed Fish with Parsley Rice and Roe. I had amazing success with every recipe I tried, but the real beauty and worth of this cookbook is learning about a strong, interesting woman; a beautiful island; and the Gullah Geechee culture. This is a cookbook that's just as important to read as it is to cook from.

Scan of Chicken Perloo from Gullah Geechee Home Cooking by Emily MeggettI recommend Emily Meggett's Gullah Geechee Home Cooking to anyone who wants to help preserve a peoples' heritage and to promote Black cooks and Black American history. This cookbook would make a great gift for new cooks moving into their first apartment or for anyone who would like a reliable source for everyday cooking that will help them nourish the souls of friends and family. Note that vegans and vegetarians may not find a ton of recipes, but I encourage them to check this cookbook out of the library so they can read about Meggett, her family, and her background.

The recipe I'm sharing is for Emily Meggett's Pink Sauce, which is an Edisto Island favorite. The author suggests serving the sauce with "most seafood and fried vegetables," but I also suggest you give it a try on roasted veggies, spooned over hard-boiled eggs, and even with avocados. Enjoy.

Pink Sauce
Makes about 1 1/2 cups (360 ml)

  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup (115 g) mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients together.

Note: The recipe and scans are used in the context of a review; all rights remain with the original copyright holders. The photo is my own.

Shared with Weekend Cooking, hosted by Marg at The Intrepid Reader (and Baker)


gluten Free A_Z Blog 5/7/22, 8:55 AM  

What an interesting cookbook . I love a cookbook that also shares a history and culture. Despite the recipes being basic, I'm sure as you mentioned that she has her own style and unique way of cooking. Thanks for sharing it.

Mae Travels 5/7/22, 9:35 AM  

So many new African-American cookbooks are being published, and they mostly sound great! Amazon lists at least 4 other Gullah-Geechee cookbooks, and many books about the history and traditions of the Gullah-Geechee people. Really fascinating how their isolation on the barrier islands allowed preservation of traditions.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Tina 5/7/22, 11:36 AM  

The worcestershire sauce grabbed my attenion for the pink sauce. I douse that into shepherd's pie and anything that calls for it. Interesting cookbook.

Marg 5/8/22, 12:03 AM  

This sounds like a fascinating cookbook on many levels. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Melynda@Scratch Made Food! 5/8/22, 9:43 AM  

The family behind the stories is always the important ingredient! That pink sauce sounds good...good to see you again!

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