2 dollars have helped more Black People get by than a police escort. You want to see a Black person at their best? Give us two dollars and get the hell out our way! Today you see on Yahoo, the Food Network, and other places “How to prepare dinners for your family on $10 dollars a day”. For $10 a Black family can get through 2 weeks of dinners. I have personally seen Black people (from my grandmother to people on the blocks I have lived) turn two bucks into a full meal with leftovers for the next couple days. Bag of beans from the corner store for 75 cents, grab some salt pork for 30 cents, a small container of milk for 35 cents, and grab a bag of cheap caramel at 50 cents for dessert. That’s $1.90 with room to spare for when the store decides it wants to charge tax today.
Some of you see the meal I am talking about and your mouth is watering now. Those of you that are thinking “what kind of meal is that and what the fuck is ‘salt pork’?” are about to get a lesson in ‘making it work’. Salt pork is just that pork cured in salt and it is very, very cheap it has also caused more heart attacks than shoveling snow and walking in your home finding your woman bent over and getting raw dogged by the deacon of your church. Along with the salt it is loaded with fat, actually there is very little actual pork; it should probably be called ‘salt fat’. As we all know, fat TASTE GOOD and when it sits in some boiling water with a nice amount of seasonings whatever you add to it taste like you should pay way more than 2 dollars. Even if you have a six-figure salary in the Black community, you still find yourself eating a salt pork flavored meal a few times a year. You’ll have a stroke one day, but if you are already left-handed what do you care.
Add the beans to the pot of salt pork, water, and seasonings and leave it alone. With the small container of milk, you hook up some cornbread. That’s if you have eggs. If you do not have eggs and the corner store won’t let you buy just 1 egg (oh yeah in the hood, depending on who is working or how cute the store owner thinks you are you can buy just 1). So what if you don’t have eggs, you are asking and don’t you need cornmeal? A little secret about Black people, there are a few things you can find at every Black home, a bottle of hot sauce, cornmeal and a picture of Malcolm X next to Martin Luther King Jr. sitting with Jesus. With no eggs, we do not buy the small container of milk and apply that change to buy the bigger piece of salt pork. Then we make HOT-WATER CORNBREAD!!! Heck we make hot-water when we get money. It is exactly what it sounds like, hot water and cornmeal. The hot water begins to cook the cornmeal when combined and then you put in a pan, fry it up like a pancake and tell everyone you know you are making hot-water cornbread because it means you are eating something tasty with it.
When dinner time hits, which is usually around 8 PM in a Black house (we don’t eat too early white people, if we have dinner at 5 or 6 it means we will be hungry again at 9, who has money for that! We got two dollars to last us until our check comes and this meal needs to drag out at least one more day) the kids run in see a bowl of beans with little pieces of meat floating in a thick gravy like sauce with a side of HOT-WATER CORNBREAD! When we find out mom bought us candy too, we don’t even get upset when we find out that the only thing she could afford for us to drink was one packet of ‘red’ Flava-Aid. MMM… this is bringing back memories, PASS THE HOT SAUCE! I bet you want some of this Malcolm and Martin.
It just isn’t a pot of beans that we can make happen… a cheap loaf of bread, a 99 cent pound of ground beef, some ketchup and mustard packets snatched up from the cafeteria (or from the last time you could afford White Castles) and now you have ‘Burger Night’ at the poor little Black family home. If you live buy yourself, McDonald’s is your best friend if you only have to try to make it through the night. Two McDoubles or McChicken with small fries, hold off eating it until you are really sleepy and you can fall off to sleep with a satisfied tummy and wake up to payday.
Man $2 dollars can be your best friend in hard times. As Tupac said in “Dear Mama”:
Working with the scraps you were given’
This is a survival instinct that is just in us, it dates back to slavery. We had to take what was not wanted and make something we enjoyed out of it. Why do you think the intestines of a pig have turned into a holiday delicacy for our people? You heard the saying ‘from the rooter to the tooter’? Now it means ‘the whole thing’, but it started from Black people talking about the pig. We would (and still do) eat everything on the pig from the ‘rooter’ (the snout) to the ‘tooter’ (the tail, yes the tail! Walk into a corner store in a Black community and right next to the pickled eggs, there should be a big jar of pickled pig-tails and an assortment of other ‘pickled’ items… except actual pickles. We like our pickles individually wrapped in plastic coming in an assortment of flavors and heat levels)… WE EAT THE WHOLE PIG! If you eat hot dogs at a baseball game, so do you!
We have written songs about 2 dollars:
OH I LOVE THAT SONG! I have been in many a bar on the South Side, drunk, at 2 o’clock in the morning (the only time that song can legally be played in Chicago, Detroit, and Mississippi) singing that song louder than the DJ could play it or the band could sing it.
Sadly, we have to pay a solemn tribute to a 2 dollar classic never to be uttered again. When you said this, you knew you were about to have a great night or go get something you been wanting for a long time (like that girl you been chasing since 11th grade), “let me get 2 dollars on pump number fo”, in the Black community from 1955 to 1998 that phrase was second only to “let me borrow… 2 dollars” in number of times heard per day. Here’s to you 2 Dollars!!! We love you more than this country, most of our cousins, every member of Destiny’s Child not named Beyonce… but not as much as Marvin Gaye and the 1st of the Month. We celebrate those last 2 dollars because when we get to those last couple, that is exactly what is next…