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Because it’s strange and beautiful and hot, people from everywhere converge on Florida and they bring their cuisine and their traditions with them. The Zest celebrates the intersection of food and communities in the Sunshine State.

Dr. Fred Opie on the 'fascinating' African roots of Florida foods

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Explore the African roots of foods commonly eaten in Florida, including watermelon, barbecued beef, and rice and beans.

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This week, we’re exploring the African roots of foods commonly eaten in Florida, including watermelon, barbecued beef, and rice and beans.

Author and researcher Dr. Frederick Douglass Opie is a professor of history and foodways at Babson College outside of Boston. Among the courses he teaches is African History and Foodways.

He explains how enslaved Africans brought their farming techniques and cooking methods to America, and how Reconstruction-era politics led to racist food stereotypes that persist today.

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