Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Gladys Bentley Memorial Sweet & Slow Cooking Pig

Let's dedicate this dish to the late GREAT Gladys Bentley. It is also outrageously wonderful. This is a very versatile “down home cookin” type of dish. Remember that in the 20's and 30's it didn't matter how much money you had, if you were African-American, you just could not get served in most restaurants. Managements did not even have to claim “religious” privilege.
You can use any type of pork in this recipe, as long as the pieces are at least 1 inch thick, “Poke Chops is Fine”! Plain peach marmalade works great. slave used a bottle of duck sauce only because it had been on sale and was sitting there in the pantry. More on Gladys latter.

You can throw this into the slow cooker with a few ingredients you probably have right there in your pantry. Talk about finger lickin excellence!
  • 2 lbs pork (used here were pork steaks)
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 2 onions, sliced thin
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¾ cup fruit sauce (marmalade)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ cup peach chunks for garnish
Wipe out the slow cooker and spray.
Chop the green onion and slice the onions.
Put the pork in the bottom of the cooker. Set on low heat.

Any time you have to get a thick syrupy food out of a bottle, try letting it sit for a few minutes in HOT tap water.

Spread the onions onto the pork and add the green pepper.

In a large bowl mix the sauce, ketchup, and garlic powder.
Pour the sauce mixture over the other ingredients.
Cook on low for 7 hours. 

All this takes to finish it off is some white rice to serve as a bed for this rich and juicy pork.


Born in 1907, Gladys Bentley was one of the most famous and financially successful black women in the United States in the 1920s and 1930s. She was a pioneer in pushing the envelope of gender & sexuality, class & race, with parody and exaggeration.

This 250-pound, masculine, African-American lesbian, was a singer and a piano player extraordinaire. She would perform all night long in a white tuxedo and top hat. Bentley had a gravely voice and was known for inventing obscene lyrics for the songs of the day. Langston Hughes called her 'an amazing exhibition of musical energy.'"
In 1928, when Harry Hansberry's Clam House, a speakeasy, opened; Bentley put it on the map. It was one of the most raucous illegal drinking establishments in Harlem. The nightly show featured drag performers and the larger-than-life Bentley entertaining patrons with her bawdy renditions. While not exclusively gay it was perhaps the first establishment known to cater to homosexual clientele.
Billed as: "Brown Bomber of Sophisticated Songs," she also appeared during the early 1930s at Harlem's Ubangi Club, backed by a chorus of men in drag.

Bentley moved to the Southern California during the late 1930s, and became the headliner at Mona's 440 Club, (perhaps the first lesbian bar in America, opened in San Francisco in 1936). Mona's waitresses and female performers all wore tuxedos.
     It later became “Anne's 440”, and featured    San Francisco singer Johnny Mathis. Today it is the “Club Chi-Chi”.

Gladys was billed during the 1940s as "America's Greatest Sepia Piano Artist."

At her professional height, Hollywood stars such as Tallulah Bankhead would often drop by to check out the racy shows. Bentley would still perform after the demise of the speakeasy, but the flamboyance would slowly disappear under politically correct dresses. 

As she aged, Bentley slowly became more conservative. The entertainment world lost this great luminary in 1960 to the flu.

She did not leave us with very many recordings but this gives us a nice taste:
While you are there at Youtube, check out some of her other few recordings, especially Red Beans & Rice Blues”!
Let's rediscover this legendary performer. Let us never forget our heritage.

Happy to be serving my Master Indy
To satisfy and restore.
To nourish, support and maintain.
To gratify, spoil, comfort and please,
to nurture, assist, and sustain
..I cook!

Please buy slave's cookbook:

The Little Black Book of Indiscreet Recipes by Dan White http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F315Y4I/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_vAT4sb0934RTM via @amazon

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