Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Culinary Arts, Part IV - Civil Rights Era

Hello everybody. Welcome to Part IV and my final post from the Culinary Arts Luncheon I attended last fall. Parts I, II, and III focused on the Muskogean Era, the Colonial Era, and the Civil War Era.

Today's post moves us into the 20th Century and the Civil Rights Era. The Civil Rights Era from the 1960s, some fifty years ago, but the foods chosen to highlight that era at the luncheon are still foods that Southerners enjoy today.

I'll admit that I didn't sample much of these dishes as we had SO much food to taste, choosing to focus on those dishes I'd never heard of.

The Menu for the Civil Rights Era. Deep Fried Okra, Fresh Tomato Pickles, Catfish Po-Boy, Fried Chicken, and Banana Pudding

Culinary Arts Students Serving Their Guests. And there was Ham, too! :)

Banana Pudding! This a favorite dessert on Mississippi dinner tables even today. This one was very good, but I'll be honest, my mother-in-law makes the best Banana Pudding I've ever tasted. It is aMAZing. And, yes, we use Vanilla Wafers. I read somewhere that different parts of the country don't eat banana pudding and certainly don't make it with vanilla wafers.


Next to anything chocolate, banana pudding is one of my most favorite desserts with LOTS of vanilla wafers.

More of the students dressed in period garb from the 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries
Everyone Sampling the Food

Who Wouldn't Love This? Homemade Southern-style Banana Pudding
I'm getting hungry!!

And Sweet Tea, y'all!

Most of these dishes can be found on many menus in the south and any potluck or church social wouldn't be complete without fried chicken, fried okra, butter beans, cornbread, field peas, and the aforementioned banana pudding.

But, just as all banana puddings aren't the same, neither are all fried chicken, okra, or even cornbread. I won't pretend to be a great cook, but I know some great cooks.

My mother, my mother-in-law, all the grandmothers had their specialties. I've already mentioned my mother-in-law's banana pudding. My mother makes an amazing chocolate pie with "calf slobber" on top. What's that, you say? That's egg-white meringue beat to peaks, then very lightly browned. Sorry, didn't mean to gross anybody out! lol

My husband's grandmother passed away this past year and she was an amazing cook. But I especially loved her cornbread. She'd preheat the oven, then heat an iron skillet on the stovetop with an unhealthy dollop of lard, mix up a batch of cornbread, then drop the cornbread mixture by spoonfuls into the hot grease. Once it was all in the skillet, she'd put it in the oven to finish baking. Best cornbread ever!

But here's something on the Civil Rights Era menu that I wasn't familiar with. Tomato Pickles. There are as many recipes for tomato pickles as there are varieties of pickles. The simplest is just tomatoes, apple cider vinegar, and spices.

So, there you go. A list of Southern foods that were served with abandon 50 years ago, but are still solid savory fare found on tables today.

CBA Bestselling author PAM HILLMAN was born and raised on a dairy farm in Mississippi and spent her teenage years perched on the seat of a tractor raking hay. In those days, her daddy couldn't afford two cab tractors with air conditioning and a radio, so Pam drove an Allis Chalmers 110. Even when her daddy asked her if she wanted to bale hay, she told him she didn't mind raking. Raking hay doesn't take much thought so Pam spent her time working on her tan and making up stories in her head. Now, that's the kind of life every girl should dream of. www.pamhillman.com


  1. I have loved your series of posts. I wish something like that would happen around here! So very interesting!

    1. Sorry to be so late responding. I was traveling yesterday and time got away from me. Yes, Connie, it was SO much fun. I think the teacher plans to do some more things like this in the future. I certainly hope so. I enjoyed it a lot. :)

  2. I've enjoyed your culinary arts posts and the different menus for each era. Thank you so much for sharing your great experience.

    1. Thank you, Marilyn. I should have had more photos of the Civil Rights Era, but black eyed peas and ham hock is such a staple around here, I didn't think about taking more photos of that. lol