Dear Grandpa Massa: An Open Letter to my White Ancestor for Confederate Memorial Day

This is a powerful piece on one black man’s coming to terms with his white, slave-owning ancestor.

Afroculinaria

To: Captain Richard Henry Bellamy—
From: Your Descendant, Mr. Michael W. Twitty, a published author
Date: 4/23/2018, Confederate Memorial Day
Subject: Times Have Changed

You are my third great grandfather. You are white. Because of you and several others I am Viking, I am Celt, I am a melting pot of western, northern, southern and eastern Europe. But I am still Black, your society made those rules, not mine, but its okay because I’m proud to be Black no matter how you intended it to work against my favor. And despite you, I am Asante, Serer, Fula, Mandinka, Yoruba, Igbo, Kongo and Malagasy.

You and your father William held in bondage my great great great grandmother Arrye and her sons—one of her sons married your daughter a girl child born to a teenage girl you took advantage of from the nearby Chadwick plantation.
You were a deadbeat dad; what’s worse…

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Haiku Thursday

MY COMMUTE – when I take Metro – has me walking right by a Dunkin’ Donuts that’s on the ground floor of my office building. I like sugar-coated fried dough as much as the next girl, but to me, the ones at Dunkin’ are just so… ordinary. So unremarkable. Especially when compared Krispy Kreme, which produces what I believe is the absolute perfect glazed doughnut. They even spell “doughnut” correctly, and even though they use K’s where C’s belong, I’m completely willing to forgive this sin because the product is superlative.

I’m just not even tempted to pop into Dunkin’ on my way into the office. Maybe I would be if they offered a better donut. Maybe I would be if they had fountain sodas. Absent those two things, there’s no reason for me to do anything but walk on by.

It was this realization that inspired today’s Haiku:

Copy of #HaikuThursday (1)

Fastnacht Day

Any day where it’s acceptable to deep-fry a sweet dough and cover it in lots of sugar and then eat it is a good day in my book. Here’s how they do that in Central PA.

My Grandmas' Recipes

Shrove Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, is known in Pennsylvania Dutch Country as FASTNACHT DAY. What I remember from my youth was my Grandma Losch deep-frying dozens of fastnachts, or doughnuts, that were truly without equal. People just knew to stop by her place on the day before Ash Wednesday to enjoy a homemade bit of sugary doughy goodness.

History holds that making fastnachts, or doughnuts, was a way to use up the last of the lard or sweets in the house before embarking upon Lent, the Christian season of purification and self-denial. See also, beignets, or any number of church-sponsored pancake suppers on the last night before Ash Wednesday.

While I can’t locate my grandma’s exact recipe for these fried delicacies, I do have one from the Pennsylvania Dutch Cookbook (published by Culinary Arts Books in Gettysburg, PA) that is close.

If you want to cross-reference other sources…

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