Federal Writers Project: A recipe by Charles Gant (1938)
November 30, 1938
336 N. 23rd
"I was born in Fort Scott Kansas, but during, all my early years I lived at Springfield Illinois; that was the home of Abraham Lincoln you know. I have seen the home where he resided many times.
I dont believe there was any section of this country that put on an August the first celebration like we colored folks did in Springfield. People come from miles around and we picnicked for four days.
Barbecued ribs, fried chicken, chiterlings, corn-bread and ash biscuits were the menu of the day--yes and there was always moonshine floatin' around, generally too much.
In the evenings there would be a festival with prominent speakers on program. I recall on one occasion Booker T. Washington spoke to us. The last celebration that I was at Lena Mason a prominent white lady spoke to the crowd.
I learned the cooking game when I was seventeen from an old time cook who had been brought to America in the days of slavery. One of the receipts he taught me was a dish that he made famous in New Orleans. He said when he member of his tribe in Africa this was one of their favorite dishes. Of course it had to be come what altered to satisfy the taste of Americans.
I won't tell you the exact portions used in this dish because I dont like to give away my important recipes, and some day I am going to feature it on my bill of fare. Anyhow I call it the: African Dish.
One half of cocoanut is the base for a filling composed of diced chicken, pork, and beef. This in properly seasoned and grated cocoanut is sprinkled over the top. Then it is ready for the oven.
It's a delicious dish and pretty popular among the folks down round New Orleans."
Full text (Library of Congress/American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940)