Reverend Sharonda Singleton, Cynthia Hurd, Reverend Clementa Pickney, Reverend Daniel Simmons Sr., Tywanza Sanders, Ethel Lance, Reverend Depayne Middleton-Doctor, Susie Jackson, Myra Thompson.
It was the wrong week to be reading a poorly-written, ill-realised romance with an privileged white protagonist from Charleston. "Sugar" Wallace's nostalgia for swanning around an old plantation wearing a crinoline, treating her Magical Negro as an unpaid servant for his own good and bravely suffering through the most self-indulgent possible Secret Shame with an inflated sense of entitlement would have been pretty shit at the best of times. Reading it with the back-drop of a white supremacist trying to instigate a race war by murdering African Americans in Charleston meant that it was not the best of times.
I really did not enjoy the current Cook the Books club pick. Does it show? I found the protagonist irritating, the endless supply of stock characters lazy and the big reveal of Sugar's secret to be an anticlimax. There was the tiny kernel of an original idea hidden in layers of cliché.
Normally I would just let this month's pick slide, but I think the shootings at Emanuel AME church have opened up so many conversations about race, heritage and different experiences of the deep South that I felt obliged to post. And I felt compelled to look for a recipe from African American food traditions.
Honey peanut brittle seemed the obvious choice. In the introduction to this recipe, from Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams' book Soul Food Love: Healthy Recipes Inspired by 100 Years of Cooking in a Black Family, they talk about the role of slaves in establishing apiculture in the US and introducing honey to plantation menus. And peanuts were a crop brought from Africa to feed the slaves, (some of the names for peanuts, "goober" and "pindar" are from African languages).