What foods did the Logans eat in "Roll of Thunder Hear my Cry?"

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The Logan family owns land that produces cotton and has been passed down through several generations. When the price of cotton falls to approximately half of its value in the 1930s, Cassie's father, David, leaves in search of work in order to pay the taxes on their land and maintain their family. In chapter 1, the author describes Big Ma as a woman in her sixties who works like a woman in her twenties in order to provide for the family. She runs the fields and teaches. The children wear "threadbare clothing washed to dishwater color" (p. 6), which provides one of the first indications that the family is not well off and will make sacrifices in order to maintain ownership of their land. Also, Mama uses pieces of pine, a cheap, commonly found wood, for the fire. They also have a homemade "field-straw broom" (p. 60). The family's meals and food supply reflect their financial state. Mama shows Cassie the steps to using the milk from their cow to churn, wash, and form the milk fat into butter (p. 60). One of the family's meals is described as including cans of milk, butter, beef, and crowder peas (p. 83). They also have eggs to eat. In fact, Ma tries to sell eggs at the market in Strawberry. Cassie describes a cold lunch that she and the other children eat that includes oil sausages, cornbread, and clabber milk (p. 90). The book also makes several references to flour-sacks, indicating that flour is utilized as a food staple. Other Southern foods that are documented during this time period and could possibly be found in the Logans' meals include melons, pork, biscuits, corn, potatoes, and vegetables, which usually would have been grown in the family garden.

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Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry takes place in rural Mississippi in the 1930s, during the Great Depression. The main family in the book, the Logans, are not well off, although they have more than many of their neighbors.

All of these facts contribute to the kinds of foods the family eats. All would have been inexpensive, simple, steeped in Southern culinary traditions, and, of course, homemade. Even things like butter are homemade—on page 52, we see Cassie, the main character, churning butter.

On the first page of the book, Cassie mentions that her little brother's school lunch consists of "cornbread and oil sausages."

Later on in the book, on page 73, several types of foods that Cassie's mother and grandmother canned are mentioned, including beef and "crowder peas." (Crowder peas are a legume that's similar to black-eyed peas.)

On page 98, Cassie wakes up and follows "the scent of frying ham and baking biscuits" into the kitchen.

We get a sense of what the family eats on a special occasion—Christmas Day—later in the book. This would have been a day when the family made special dishes that were more expensive and took longer to make. On page 110, Cassie lists these delicacies: sweet potato pie, egg-custard pies, rich buttered pound cakes—even a raccoon that Cassie's brother and uncle caught, which was baked in "onions, garlic, and fat orange-yellow yams."

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