Press Releases

Author Sallie Robinson Visits Zingerman’s Roadhouse to bring Sea Islands Cuisine to Ann Arbor (01/08)

For immediate release

Zingerman’s Roadhouse explores the little-known world of Gullah cooking with Sea Islands-native and cookbook author Sallie Ann Robinson with a special dinner on January 16th at 7pm.  Guests are invited to sit down for a  4-course dinner and discussion centered around a menu prepared from recipes featured in Sallie’s book, Cooking the Gullah Way: Morning, Noon & Night.  Individuals unable to attend the event may stop by the Roadhouse that evening from 6 to 7pm to purchase a signed copy of  the book and meet the author.

Sallie Ann Robinson came of age in the ‘60s and ‘70s on Daufuskie Island, off the coast of South Carolina. The island culture was entirely different from the social scene on the nearby mainland. Daufuskie not get electricity until the 1950s, and Sallie’s  family’s daily routine was much the same as it had been for her grandparents, and great-grandparents. Because of the island’s geographic isolation, the natives primarily gathered their food from around the island. The cycle of Sallie’s days marched along to the beat of provision and preparation, and the chores of wood gathering, hunting, fishing, and cooking. That rhythm repeated itself in seasons of gathering and preserving the harvest for long winter days.

The Gullah culture is a snapshot of traditions which developed long before Sallie’s time. The rituals and beliefs that defined her daily activities were a marriage of the West African customs brought to the South by slaves from West African coastal countries such as Sierra Leone and Senegal and the Western traditions of the European culture into which they were thrust.  What developed over time into the Gullah culture was uniquely preserved among the inhabitants of the Sea Islands, including Daufuskie, because of their isolation from the mainlands of Georgia and South Carolina.

The menu for the Rhythm of Gullah Dinner at Zingerman’s Roadhouse features traditional Gullah dishes such as cornbread stuffed pork chop, candied yams with raisins, watermelon jam, Momma’s
cracklin’ muffins, and lima bean soup. Roadhouse Chef and Managing Partner Alex Young, who collaborated with Sallie Ann Robinson to craft the menu, anticipates, “The most exciting part of this
dinner will be bringing a new context for understanding these traditional African American dishes.”

Spots for Zingerman’s Roadhouse Rhythm of Gullah Dinner can be reserved by calling 734.663.3663 or visiting the Roadhouse website at  Seats are $39 per person for dinner, with beverages offered a la carte.  Please contact Pete Sickman-Garner at 734-668-2779 to set up advance interviews with Sallie Ann Robinson.  To obtain review copies of the book, contact Meagan Bonnell at University of North Carolina Press, 919-962-0591.