Essential Questions:

  • What does food represent in your family?
  • What memories do you have of food?
  • What relationships do you have to food and which social relationships are invoked when you think about food?
  • How important is food to cultural identity?


Shawn Trenell O’Neal

BASIC FOOD GROOPS: Womanist Foundations Through Calories


Push the shovel like them chain gang brothers

Reminisce over y’all that made best food smothered

These ladies got more stories than underground railroads

But them garden varieties always brought higher piety

From Arkansas to the Chi, I won’t lie, my wellbeing be in

Collard Greens cabbage with the red onion

Think about the neighborhood pavements hot summer

Dinner time! Grandmama had that fried chicken comin’

This woman would be the last one to eat

And took her time, like a clock slow cooker pork chop

That’s how the Fam rocks, backyard garden parties

Ribs and rib tips soul music,   rough uncles with fists that split lips

Afrofuturist “space is the place” “boy go wash yo face”

Sunshine plate sausage eggs with hotcakes

Back when Aunt Jemima had the face of nothing finer

Moms used to cut em up in tiny little pieces

Hit the streets with tales of how they cooked with telekinesis

Cream O Wheat with butter how I cream the beats and smother

Neck bones and butter beans you see the way gravy gleams

Poured by the hands of the ones that feed you

Catfish cornbread apple butter hogs head säüse     To cook

Time travel to days in Black History books

The mystery is what we still rationalize

Ghetto residuals killers and individuals

All dwell in the pitiful access is minimal

Theory states that imbeciles patriarchal livable

Shift the word from “Black” we can all stand in principle

Keep canned peaches pears and chow chow plentiful

Pickle the Beets with Bass straight from the streets

I’d rather eat than sling rocks or run from cops

And miss them Hilltop “scrimps” coleslaw make the “pimps” Hee-Haw

Eh Yo, do I dare express how I feel ?

Folks in da hood ain’t programmed to kill

Put the programs cemented is what change a man’s will

Tryin to figure,   are fake orgasms a lie

But I’ll gets mine lemon meringue, pecan, and sweet potato pie

My mental health resides in the wealth of Black love

I won’t hesitate they taught me how to Elevate and Levitate, and Contemplate,

Hallucinate, Appreciate, Reinstate, Activate, and Radiate, knowledge of self

And coconut cakes         let that sweetness Emulate and instigate Africana mindstate

Black-eyed peas with that hamhock teeze Pluheeze!

Now I can’t stomach these, I shun that Black heart disease

But chitlin theoreticals slavery’s scraps are antithethical

Of how the white man tried to trap us in our own sight man

But we remixed pigs guts and records,    hip hop, and peppers

And the Black girls laid out meals used as weapons!!



Arturo J. Aldama


Marlene Palomar




Kalonji Nzinga

Auntie’s Law – Khruangbin Mashup (feat. Yvette Mushim)



Verse 1:

Plenty hot sauce in the cabinet

Black eye peas hot on the stove

She told me wash off in the bathroom

Her curry done tickled my nose

She worried bout all of her nephews

Vulnerability to the popos

She feed us

then lead us

to refuge

Let the beans in my bowl overflow

Let the beans in my bowl overflow

Let the beans in my bowl overflow


I came to power by Auntie’s Law



I came to power by the grace of aunties

There aint a year that she ain’t made black eyed peas

On New year’s

Her prayer list is ghettoese prophesy

Blossoming constantly

Raised a generation on Auntie’s Law


Bridge 1:

She grabbed them babies and she ran outside

She got a dollar seventeen worth of gas in the ride

She know if she leave forever he won’t chase

He know that the family don’t play no games


Verse 2:

She the daughter au duh matriarch

so we placed a guard

at her residence

She requested seven feathers from a red tail hawk

so I’m fetching it

If he arrive on the scene

my cousin is ready with weaponry

if he survive that machine

is the curse she casts worse; definly

Good witch like Badu

mo Baby daddies than she got shoes

each of them ended up missing

more fodder for whispers and  tabboo

a doula for birth a doula for death

the transitions she can guide thru

healer of all that crawls on four or walks on two



I came to power by the grace of aunties

There aint a year that she ain’t made black eyed peas

On New year’s

Her prayer list is ghettoese prophesy

Blossoming constantly

Raised a generation on Auntie’s Law


Verse 3:

washed up on Alum Creek

the corpse of her lover was found

the deputy came to ask questions

a code of silence gripped the town

“she heals the blind we need her round”

“she prone to violence kick her out”

the house was divided

momma want auntie extradited

old beefs drudged up that had never subsided

sisters is wilding

hot as hoodies in the sauna

the rage she kept bottled in busted like a forgotten Fanta

2 liter left in the freezer

“I gave up everything to raise your child

now you want me to polish your conscience!!!!”

pause, comma, the awkardest drama

which is my Aunt and which is my momma?

am I heir to HER throne no Sasha Obama?

no ma (tter) what she give lessons of dharma

blessings upon her

she might a killed a nigga

but I’ll NEVER report her


Bridge 2:

When she was drunk with power she would piss champagne

Walking down Mt Vernon like her shit don’t stank

If we ain’t make the honor roll she’d whoop that ass

Delayed gratification you can get that cash



I came to power by the grace of aunties

There aint a year that she ain’t made black eyed peas

On New year’s

Her prayer list is ghettoese prophesy

Blossoming constantly

Raised a generation on Auntie’s Law





Alexander Williams

Food for Thought

Unc got out of prison and we cookin’ Sunday dinner.
I’ve perfected the art of smokin j’s outside church.
I don’t believe in that shit.

Collard greens are best when shared,
preferably when Nana isn’t looking at you with tired, hollow eyes.

I try to help, but she doesn’t want me in the kitchen.
“Go help your brother with his homework. I got this, baby.”
Yes, Nana…but for how long?

Jamal has been unusually quiet. He scribbles on tattered lined paper with detachment.
I hope when I go to prison he remembers who I am.

Lately I been down, so down yeah, I’m talkin’ for like two weeks, talkin’ for like two weeks,
Voices in my head so loud that nigga gonna lose sleep, yeah I’m gonna lose sleep,
You know it’s all black masks when me and my dudes creep, yeah when my dudes creep,
Eyes on the prize at the time, so I never listen to what those dudes speak, what those dudes speak


“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
I remember this question being written at the top of a worksheet in 2nd grade.
I wrote, “Alive.”

Unc comes out of the garage smelling like kush and 40’s.
Nigga probably took out of my stash.
He’s drunk and still thinks he’s inside.
He comes up to Jamal and flashes his gun.

“You know what this is?”
Jamal doesn’t say anything.
He’s painting a scene in a college-ruled notebook.

You broke my heart when I was only 17,
You ripped it out of my chest, I must confess that I needed to grieve,
Stuck in my ways like a stick figurine,
Another dead nigga in the streets, I can’t breathe….I can’t breathe…

“You know what this is, boy?”
Unc grabs Jamal by the arm and starts to shake him.
This is the last time.

I take the gun and jam it in-between his eyes.
Nana comes out of the kitchen in a ballistic rage,
I pull the trigger.


Fried chicken ain’t the only thing on my plate.


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