"I want grease in my gravy and fatback in my greens"--Doug McCloud
There is a class divide among some blacks in this country that if it weren't for the gravity of the split would otherwise be comical. Over a year ago I heard one of my friends speak of poor people's food in reference to soul specialties like collard greens, red beans & rice, candied yams and a host of other foods that were once staples in black households.
Poor people's food? Have we come that far or sunk that low? I don't consider myself anyone special, but I am not impoverished, yet, I enjoy a bowl of brown-beans with ham-hocks and biscuits. I think it is good eating and never give a second thought to any class distinctions tied to eating a good meal.
Making real gravy starts with what's left in the frying pan--a little grease. A little grease, cold water and some flour gets the process started. Depend on the dish gravy can be from sausage dregs or ham for red-eye gravy. The point is that it makes for delightful and delicious cooking and is not class related.
Apparently, there is a class of blacks that feel they have advanced beyond eating traditional foods without understanding that people eating "poor people" foods come from all socio economic backgrounds ranging from billionaires to soup kitchen denizens. It also implies that "poor people" food is the scope of their dietary spectrum when nothing could be further from the truth.
Because of stereotypes, there are blacks that studiously avoid eating certain foods in public like fried chicken, barbecue and watermelon. To pigeon hole blacks with traditional African-American cuisine tastes as eating "poor people" food reflects a poor understanding of racial dynamics in the United States as well as in the black community at large.
Like any other ethic group, blacks have far ranging tastes when it comes to food and to imply that traditional staples like beans and cornbread, fatback and greens or red beans and rice fall into a "poor people's" food group reveals a faux elitist viewpoint based on sand. Chris Rock did a great job of describing the difference between rich and wealthy saying that when Shaquille O'Neil played basket ball for The Lakers he was rich. However, he went on to explain that the man that paid Shaq and the rest of the Los Angeles Lakers team was wealthy.
Unfortunately, there are many among the black upper crust making $400k annually and up who believe they have arrived. My question is--where? They still have to leave their ivory towers and come down among the common folks where reality is no so friendly and "poor people's" food is consumed regularly by all.
"I was raised up on Muddy Waters, cornbread, collard greens . . ."--ZZ Hill, I"m a Blues Man
I guess that I was incensed that anyone would refer to some of my favorite dishes as "poor people's food. I blame it on the pseudo nouveau riche not knowing who they are, where they came from, where they are going and more importantly, who they will meet along the way. Caviar and champagne are just that--caviar and champagne and need no further descriptors. I like one and despise the other, but I'm sure no one gives a hairy rat's ass about my likes and dislikes.
My entire purposes in this post is to expose a warped mode of thinking in the black community among a phony bourgeois that is blind to the error of its ways.