Recipes of Indentured Servants
and Slaves - 1619

Verbal exchanges of recipes on Southern plantations led to the development of an international African cooking style in America. Slaves enjoyed cooking pork, yams, sweet potatoes, hominy, corn, ashcakes, cabbage, hoecakes, collards and cowpeas. On these plantations, cooking was done on an open fireplace with large swing blackpots and big skillets.

African American cooking techniques and recipes were also influenced by Native American Indians all across the United States. In many areas, local Indians taught slaves how to hunt, and to cook with native plants. Indian cooking techniques were later introduced into the southern society by black American cooks. Dishes such as corn pudding, succotash, pumpkin pie, Brunswick Stew and hominy grits are a few examples of Native American dishes found in African American cooking.

After working long days in the fields, a simple yet hearty soup like Okra Soup was often prepared by slave women for supper.

4 cups Cold Water
4 cups Okra, finely cut
4 cups Tomato Pulp
Wiley's Greens Seasoning

Add Wiley's Greens Seasoning to water and allow to come to a boil. Add Okra and Tomato mixture. Simmer on medium for 1 hour or until thick. Serve in bowl over rice or corn.

"Pot Likker" and Corn Meal Balls were often served on Sunday's after church. This was considered a real treat for the slaves. A dish like this took longer to prepare and was reserved for Sunday dinner when slaves had more time to prepare a special meal.

In a large pot or Dutch oven, bring to boil 2 quarts of cold water. Add 1 1oz. package of Wiley's Greens Seasoning to the water. Wash tender turnip greens in several waters to clean well. Place greens in seasoned water and let boil 1 hour. When greens are tender pour off ¾ of seasoned water into separate bowl. This seasoned water is "Pot Likker." Set greens aside.


1 cup Plain Corn Meal
½ teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Butter
Cold Water

Add salt to corn meal and stir in melted butter. Slowly add water to shaped dough into small biscuit-sized balls. Drop balls into reserved "Pot Likker." "Pot Likker" should be boiling. Cook in covered dish for twenty minutes. Serve with Turnip Greens.

Apple Pot Pie was one of the slaves' favorite desserts. Desserts were a common feature on Sunday's during the summer months when fruits were plentiful. The pleasing aroma of cooked apples often-filled slave cabins and campsites in the late summer and early fall when apples were in abundance.

6 Baking Apples - peeled, cored and cut into small pieces
4 cups Flour
10 Tablespoons of Butter
2 packages Wiley's Apple Pie Spice
1 cup Sugar
Cold Water

In large bowl, make dough of flower, 7 TB of butter, salt and enough water to form dough. Roll thin on floured cutting board and cut into two-inch squares. Place apples in separate bowl and sprinkle with Wiley's Apple Pie Spice and sugar on each apple layer. In a large pot or Dutch oven alternate layers of dough squares and sprinkled apples. Bottom layer in pot should be apples followed by dough squares on top. The top layer should be dough squares. Place remaining butter (3 TB) dotted on dough layer on top. Fill pot (dutch oven) half filled with water. Cover and cook on medium until apples are done.

The recipe for Plantation Gumbo was different just about every time depending on the season and the availability of certain types of vegetables. The following recipe reflects how the dish was prepared in late summer.

2 Tablespoons Melted Butter
1 Onion diced
2 Cups of Tomatoes, unpeeled and cubed
2 Cups Okra finely cut
2 Red Potatoes (peeled and cubed)
1 Carrot (peeled and sliced)
1 Quart hot water
1 Cup diced Celery
Wiley's Beans & Peas Seasoning

In small saucepan, fry onions in the melted butter until browned. In large pot or Dutch oven add water and Wiley's Seasonings. Bring to a boil; add browned onion mixture and vegetables to water. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until thick.

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