A Soul Food recipe for Southern Sweet Pie in cookbooks does not usually give the cultural significance of “yam” (Dioscorea alata) and “sweet potato” (Ipomoea batatas). Pumpkin popular in other parts, is not used by AfroAmerican cooks who prefer sweet potato. Yam production globally is grown in West Africa (95% of World yams). AfroAmericans in the South replaced the native American sweet potato for their traditional yam. Sweet Potato Pie (shown below) for the holidays of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Veterans Day, Christmas, New Years & Martin Luther King is essentail to every Southern Soul Food supper.
With sweet potato, the “pinto bean” ranks as essential pantry item in Soul Food cooking of the Southern states. In the SouthWest states, Mexican cuisine considers “pinto bean” in “Savory” recipes. In the SouthEast states, Soul Food cooking considers “pinto bean” in “Sweet recipes”.
The Southern Pinto Bean Cake recipe (shown above) is an example of the “Sweet” recipes of pinto bean. I selected this recipe from the book because Pinto Bean Pie recipes are printed frequently. Pinto Bean Cake is an outstanding recipes by Bill Neal.
Bill Neal, “Biscuits, Spoonbread & Sweet Potato Pie”, 1990 was a Southern baking cookbook.
The 300 recipes in Bill Neal’s cookbook includes unique, rarely printed recipes with historical notes.