From the Roota’ to the Toota
It’s February 25, 2021, only three days left in the month long celebration of BLACK HISTORY and I’ve enjoyed sharing weekly tidbits of culture and history all month long. I’ve only scratched the surface, but I hope I’ve tickled your ears enough for you to further explore American history on your own. How should we end the celebration this weekend? I’m glad you asked, since this is Kansas City, the legendary city of jazz and great barbecue, a night on the Vine or in the vicinity would be fitting. I think every celebration deserves great food and black folks know how to ‘cue, that’s short for barbecue. From secret sauces to days of preparation to custom pits, we know how to ‘cue the pig from the roota’ to the toota’, that means we’ve cooked it all, we had to – it was about survival.
Pig tails, hog maws, pork chops, pork shoulder, pork butt, pig snout, chitlins’, pig feet, pig ears, hog head cheese, and pork ribs. Did I miss anything? I told you from the roota’ to the toota’. It wasn’t our choice of meat, but we had no choice. So black folks made do, and didn’t they do. This people with the Midas touch took scraps of forbidden food and cooked them into some of the most sought after delicacies. And they had the wisdom to know just how to prepare a parasite laden animal such as the pig to make it fit for consumption. Those cloves neatly arranged on the holiday ham aren’t just for show, clove is a powerful anti-parasitic herb.
Is adversity the secret sauce of black people? A little bit of ‘dis and pinch of ‘dat, the ancestors knew what spices to use and just how much, and in what season to use it. Take for example the spring tonic, an elixir made using springtime herbs to cleanse the system once a year. The concoctions were shared and used to heal not only the slave, but the slave master. I think this is where we get the saying “sharing is caring” although the slaves were subjected to harsh conditions and cruel punishments they did not have the heart to see others suffer, oppressors included.
Life on the plantation for slaves meant that you tended to everything from cooking to cleaning to farming and other chores. Personal needs of the master, his family, and hires were also on the list, let’s just say “other duties as assigned.” And because the slave had so much responsibility a host of inventions and methods were devised, and problems solved by the slaves. Plato may have been the one who said necessity is the mother of invention, but black folks in America can attest to the validity of the statement.
There was an article written a while ago about what America would be like if all of the black people went away along with their inventions. Wow! That’s a frightening thought for America. I think that would be the apocalypse.
Enjoy these last three days, spring will soon be here.