Family Matters: 'Tis the Season to Be Healthy
Updated: Oct 26, 2022
By Dr. Gloria Latimore-Peace
Presented by Omni-U Virtual University
"When are we going to going to wake up from our fantasy land economic delusions? Black people in this country are the economic fodder for everyone else's well-being and prosperity." James Clingman
We will soon be entering the season to which most of us look forward as it provides a reason, as well as the opportunity, to "break bread" with family and friends in the name of whatever the holiday has been designated to be called. Much time, energy, and resources are invested in these lengthy and exhausting preparations which are made, primarily, by the women of the family. The younger generations soon learn- by dictate and example- what is expected of them.
Imagine the old Plantation days when "The Help" were summoned to the kitchen to perform the grueling tasks associated with preparing the holiday meals and festivities for the residents of the "Big House." Before, during, and afterward, "The Help" had to make-do with whatever was available in the storehouses even though the majority of these "foodstuffs" were unknown in the Motherland. Everything in their creative power was done to assure that the Plantation owners ate "high on the hog" and had their fill of wine, women, and song- all at the expense of "The Help."
I can't "fast forward" far enough to reach the point to which I hope we're headed. But I will pause for a spell, along memory lane, to recall some of the earlier "celebrations" on the urban plantations to which our Ancestors fled during the "Great Migration(s)."
I can still remember the frantic attempts of the homemakers of my mother's generation, to replicate that "high on the hog" lifestyle they had earlier fashioned out of the unfamiliar provisions they'd had to teach themselves to use. First and foremost, the "high-on-the-hog" standards were mandated by the meticulous selection of particular ingredients and brands which became the staples in an ever-expanding variety of recipes. My own mother would countenance few if any, generic or "off" brands. She regarded the lower-cost "store brand" canned vegetables, offered by the local "supermarket," as having been swept up off the floor of the cannery. Thus, most of our meals were made from the fresh vegetables for which she shopped daily. And, excluding the one- and only exception to the rule- the holiday fruit cake allegedly made by A&P's "Ann Page"- no store-bought baked goods were allowed in our home. Also, there were no cans in candied yams or sweet potato recipes and no mixes for cakes or puddings. Gelatin desserts made the cut only if they were made in fancy molds filled with assorted fresh fruit and smothered in real whipped cream. Speaking of cream: whipped cream was made with "elbow grease," either by vigorously whipping it with a fork or turning the handle of an egg-beater until one's hand and wrist were almost ossified. Of course, ice cream was made in the same way- by turning the handle of an ice cream freezer  until the homemade mixture was churned to perfection (often after another person had to be "volunteered" to take your place).
One of my daughters tells an anecdote of the first Thanksgiving after my Beloved Mother had joined the ancestors. She said that she could feel the presence of "Mama Ella" who, along with her sisters, was famous for her mastery of homemade Pound Cakes, Macaroni and cheese, and Pocketbook yeast rolls. Her impression was that Mother was surveilling the kitchen -checking to see if the "right" brands of unsalted butter; half-and-half cream, eggs; flavorings; spices; sugar; salt, pepper, macaroni - and especially, cheese- were being used. Since my daughter knew that Mama Ella would not approve of any deviations, she was glad that she hadn't "cut any corners." Despite the fact that, at that time, few of the families in our community could have been characterized as "well-off" enough to engage in the "high on a hog" lifestyle, economizing did not appear to be an option. Every dish was certain to be severely judged by those who believed themselves to have "bragging rights" in particular categories some of which- dressing and macaroni and cheese- were off limits to some "wanna-be" cooks.
Extravagance seemed to have been the order of the day as it grew from household to household. On most holiday menus, the "main attraction" was the game, now domesticated turkey, that was roasted, smoked, or fried. Of course, there were those who replaced the turkey with other fowl (Capon, Rock Cornish Hens, etc.) or who added a half- or whole ham and/or extended the meat choices to include wild game such as: venison, rabbit, "'possum" and " 'coon", in addition to either(or both) beef and pork roasts. Still, other forms of pork, i.e., ham hocks (in cooked greens), chitterlings and hog maws, crackling( in cornbread), and bits of bacon (on 7-layer salads and string bean casseroles) could be found on dinner tables. (Some cooks substituted turkey for pork).
Needless to say, it took a lot of effort to "prep" and cook all of these dishes especially since there were few if any, food processors, pressure or slow cookers, "Instant Pots," or other time- and energy-saving devices available (or affordable) "back in the day." Therefore, most cooks chose different days- of the week preceding the holiday- to prepare each food category: cakes, pies, cobblers, and other desserts; vegetables; meats; casseroles; homemade rolls and breads; and side dishes, such as potato salad and dressing (not to be confused with "stuffing.")
Although it still takes weeks of preparations for each holiday gathering, Thanksgiving has been reduced to a short-lived holiday having been supplanted by the "Black Friday" shopping craze which now extends the overindulgence of food into the over-consumption of commodities well into the "New Year."
But wait! Have we even asked ourselves what it is We are celebrating or/and who created these "holidays'' and for what purpose(s)? And, since it is clearly not Us, who benefits economically from these profit-driven celebrations? The last question is obviously rhetorical because we already know the answer given the fact that the names of many of the beneficiaries of these commercialized holidays are listed on the labels of things we buy. Others are concealed in the unhealthy "high on the hog lifestyle" that was inculcated in our behaviors that are believed to lead to diet-related health problems and life-threatening illnesses, such as: heart disease; cancer; stroke; diabetes; kidney disease; hypertension, and neither last nor least E.D. (Erectile Dysfunction.)
There was a time when we were ignorant of these debilitating behavioral outcomes, a time in which - as the victims of the circumstances of our captivity- we really had no other choices but to make-do with the "low on the hog" leftovers from the Plantation fare of the "Big House".
However, after having said all this, there is yet an even greater issue to be addressed. Fortunately, our Brother, James Clingman, Journalist, Educator, and prolific Author had both the insight and the foresight to take the lead:
"I am suggesting that we are the real turkeys in the economic scenario of this country…They stuff us with advertising and marketing campaigns, rub us down with the oil of credit, tie our legs together in order to keep us contained, and then they bake us all day long in their oven malls until we are done. I mean really done… Yes, we are their Thanksgiving turkeys, brothers and sisters. We are also their Christmas presents... We're supposed to have the meal, not be the meal."
It is imperative that We get the message that we must " wake up from our fantasy land economic delusions." At the beginning of chattel "slavery," we prepared the game. But, from the onset of our captivity, it is We who have been the game. Now, even with the burden of the underlying conditions that compromise our ability to withstand the continuing assault of the "Plantation owners," we must lean on the wisdom of the Ancestors: •The Honorable Elijah Muhammad; •Dr. Alvenia M. Fulton;• Dr. Laila O. Afrika; •Dr.Roland J.Sidney et al,
as well as their Holistic descendants: •Dr.Terry Mason,• Dr. Renee Sidney Sinclair;• Dr. Shmuel Ben Yisrael; •Dr. Hugh Jenkins, Dr. Lemont Freeman, etc.
The teachers stand ready. A Luta Continua. Hotep.
[Ancestor] Dr. Laila O. Nutricide: The Nutritional Destruction of the Black Race
Kiarri T.H. Cheatwood. The Race: Matters Concerning Pan-Afrikan History, Culture, and Genocide
[Ancestor] The Hon. Elijah Muhammad. How to Eat to Live
[Ancestor] Dr.Alvenia M.Fulton. Vegetarianism: Fact or Myth: Eating to Live
[Ancestor] Ishakamusa Barashango. Afrikan People and European Holidays: Volumes I [& 2] A Mental Genocide.
Neely Fuller Jr. United Independent Compensatory Code/System/ Concept: A Textbook/Workbook for Thought, Speech and/or Actions for Victims of Racism (White Supremacy.)
James Clingman. Black-O-Knowledge: Stuff We Need to Know
 [Ancestor] Dr. LIaila O. Afrika. Nutricide: The Nutritional Destruction of the Black Race.
 James Clingman. Black-O-Knowledge: Stuff We Need to Know
 For further information on ice cream freezers, ask an elder)
 View Holistic Health: DIY, Featuring: Dr. Terry Mason ( Linked above in "Recommended Viewing"section of this blog).
 Op Cit, Clingman. Black-O-Knowledge: Stuff We Need to Know