What is “Reezy Peezy”?

 This traditional Gullah dish is from the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia.  This area was used for
Sea Islands
The Lowcountry Sea Islands

 

rice farming by early European colonists, who employed Italian canal engineers from the sea islands near Venice to develop their rice plantations.  The enslaved Africans who were experienced rice farmers in West Africa were used to work the plantations, and over time they developed the Gullah creole culture of the “lowcountry.”

The area became known as the “Rice Coast,” and the Gullah incorporated the name for the Italian dish “Risi e bisi” (rice and peas) into their language as “Reezy Peezy.”  The Gullah reezy peezy was made up of Carolina Gold Rice or rice grits topped with a gravy of Sea Island Red Peas.

A typical Lowcountry scenic view
A typical Lowcountry scenic view

The peas and rice were grown in a traditional rotation that was ecologically sustainable, and the dish became culturally sustain-ing.  In order to support and recover these traditional foodways, Slow Food included Sea Island Red Peas in their Ark of Taste, and the small artisanal food company Anson Mills has been helping preserve the ongoing cultivation and harvest of this historically significant food.

Reezy Peezy
Reezy Peezy

We are excited to be offering a traditional style of Reezy and Peezy on this week’s menu, using Anson Mills’ Sea Island Red Peas and Carolina Gold Rice Grits. Reezy Peezy was often served with Chow-Chow, a pickled relish made of green tomatoes, and we are also offering our own version.