South Carolina African-American History Calendar celebrates 25 years

features@beaufortgazette.comJanuary 7, 2014 

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We live our lives according to time.

Some people are called "clock watchers" because they leave their jobs the second the little hand hits the mark. Others keep one eye on the timer while they exercise, waiting for it to be over. Some live according to sun-up and sun-down, ending the day when there's no longer any light.

Everything works on time.

No one has to wonder about the time of day, as there are watches, clocks -- and now phones -- everywhere. Despite this, people still seem to arrive late to appointments or just forget what time of day it is.

Calendars are also important time-keepers.

When AT&T began producing the South Carolina African-American History Calendar, it was to assist the state department of education in meeting requirements of the Educational Improvement Act. It was a way of including African-American history in the curriculum. Everyone featured in the project had to have roots in South Carolina.

Many folks have this calendar hanging in a special place in their homes -- or they even carry one in their purses. I've tried Day-Timers and pocket calendars; they do not work for me. I need to have a calendar in the kitchen where I ink-in my activities. The South Carolina African-American History Calendar does just the job.

This year, the calendar is celebrating 25 years of highlighting South Carolina's most notable African-Americans -- from doll makers to nurses, from actors to pioneers in various fields. Just as the calendar is an inspiration to people wanting to learn about history, the same can be said of recipes, tried and true.

CHICKEN AND OYSTER GUMBO

3 pounds chicken pieces

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

3 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 large onions, chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped

1 green pepper, seeded, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups hot chicken stock or chicken broth

1 cup hot water

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon dried red peppers

1 bay leaf, crumbled

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

18 oysters, shucked

1/4 cup snipped fresh parsley

4 green onion tops, finely chopped

1 tablespoon file powder

Red pepper sauce

Sprinkle chicken with salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Saute in butter and oil in heavy Dutch oven until dark golden brown on all sides, about 20 minutes. Remove chicken from pan; reserve. Stir flour into drippings. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring frequently, until roux turns the color of dark mahogany, about 45 minutes (roux must get very dark but not burned, do not overcook). Add onions, celery, green pepper and garlic to roux. Cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes. Stir in stock, water, Worcestershire sauce, red peppers, bay leaf, thyme, black pepper, the allspice, cloves and reserved chicken. Heat to boiling, reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, 1 1/2 hours. Stir oysters, parsley and green onion tops into gumbo; cook, uncovered, 2 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. (If gumbo is too hot when file powder is added, gumbo will become stringy and inedible.) Skim fat from surface of gumbo. Stir 1 tablespoon file powder into gumbo. Serve gumbo with rice.

Julia Simmons from Penn Center's "Sharing Friendship, Generation to Generation" (1995)

CRAB-CORN CHOWDER

3 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 small green pepper, finely chopped

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups chicken stock

2 cups half and half or light cream

1 package (10 oz.) frozen whole kernel corn, thawed

8 oz. crab meat

Cayenne and salt, to taste

Freshly chopped parsley to garnish

Melt butter in large saucepan. Add onion and green pepper; saute just until softened. Stir in flour and cook 3 minutes. Add chicken stock and cream slowly, stirring constantly. Add corn and crab meat; season, cook over low heat, stirring until mixture is thickened. Simmer 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning, and spoon into small soup bowls. Garnish with parsley.

"A Little Southern Cookbook," by Barbara Bloch (1991)

GOLDEN CHEESE CHOWDER

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup flour

4 cups milk

4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

3 cups water

1 cup sliced celery

1/2 cup diced onion

1 cup sliced carrots

4 cups medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

3/4 teaspoon salt

hot sauce to taste

2 cups diced cooked ham

Melt butter in a heavy 2 quart saucepan over low heat. Add flour, stirring constantly until smooth. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thick and bubbly. Add cheese, stirring until cheese is melted. Remove from heat and set aside. Combine water, vegetables, salt and pepper in 5 quart Dutch oven, heat until boiling. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender. Stir in cheese sauce, ham and hot sauce to taste. Cool over low heat until heated thoroughly. Do not boil.

Source: Ervena Faulkner's personal files

Columnist Ervena Faulkner is a Port Royal resident and a retired educator who has always had an interest in food and nutrition. Email her at features@beaufortgazette.com.

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