This is probably one of the best books that I have read in 2021. I used to hold this book near and dear to me as I begun my career in publishing and imposter syndrome crept in, but I never expected how much it would impact as a reader. What starts out as a simple joy for the protagonist and editorial assistant at Wagner Books, Nella, grows into something more scary.
The Other Black Girl follows Nella, and how ecstatic she is to have someone like Hazel join the company but then she starts getting threatening messages to leave the company and suspects Hazel to be behind the notes. But what you’re not told is there’s additional characters in other chapters such as Kendra and Shani whose roles impact the plot more than you think. Halfway through things take a turn for the worst and I was not ready for the twist.
It’s more than just about working publishing as a Black woman and the microaggressions but otherings, identity, exploitation and mostly allegiance. This book needed to be out in a day like this more than ever because the twist it brought to readers like me was amazing. I’m waiting for copycats to immerse writing books like this and of course, the sequel in the near future.
The Spicy Dish?
Soul food is prominent in New York. Although it originates from the South of America, I think the dish Hopping John is a great fit for The Other Black Girl. What makes it peppery and delicious is the seasoning which packs a punch! The recipe made by Immaculate Bites founder, Imma can be found below and you must check out more of her other delicious recipes:
- 1 pound of black-eyed peas
- 4 -5 chopped bacon slices , chopped
- 2 cups chopped smoked turkey or smoked ham hock
- 1 large diced onion
- 1 diced stalk celery
- 1 large tablespoon of minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 6-7 cups of chicken broth or water
- 2 teaspoons of Immaculate Bites Creole seasoning
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of pepper
- 4 cups of rice
- 4 green onions for garnishing
- Rinse dry black-eyed pea beans. Add beans to a large pot covering with 3-4 inches of cold water. Cover and let sit for about 2-3 hours.
- In a large heavy sauté pan, saute chopped bacon until brown and crispy about 5-6 minutes. Then add smoked ham, saute for about 2-3 more minutes.
- Throw in the onions, celery, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf and saute for about 3-5 minutes, until onions are wilted and aromatic.
- Then pour in the chicken broth or water.
- Drain the soaked beans, rinse, and place the beans in the pot. Season with creole seasoning and salt to taste. Mix and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for about 45 minutes or more while stirring occasionally, or until beans are tender and slightly thickened to your desire.
- Add more stock or water if the mixture becomes dry and thick. The texture of the beans should be thick, somewhat creamy but not watery.
- Remove the bay leaves.
- Taste and adjust for seasonings with pepper, creole seasoning, and salt if needed. Serve over cooked rice and garnish with green onions