The Baltimore Sun highlights a “hyperlocal tradition”: Black Marylanders serving sauerkraut as a side dish for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. Sauerkraut on the holiday table is not uncommon for Americans of German and Polish descent, but the connection to Black Marylanders has a “complicated racial history.”
According to Adrian Miller, food historian, “Germans, who accounted for one in four Baltimoreans when Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday, employed freed Black domestics, in addition to owning slaves. Black cooks most likely learned to prepare the meals in German kitchens, according to Miller.” Miller added: “What usually happens in these narratives is that you have enslaved cooks making this food, and they are familiar with it. Not always, but often these foods get incorporated into African American foodways when they have time to cook on their own and have more autonomy of what they cook. They remember these dishes that they cooked for slaveholders and, so then those dishes transition to African American foodways.”
The article notes Black Marylanders make their own spin on the fermented cabbage dish. They add pig tail, neck bones or smoked turkey.
Read more (Baltimore Sun)