When I say black-eyed peas have a long history, I mean long. More than five thousand years ago, they were domesticated in West Africa. The crop spread throughout the continent, then traveled in slave ship holds to America. In the Carolinas, slaves planted black-eyed peas in the same way they had back home — along edges of fields to keep down weeds and enrich the soil. That’s why they’re sometimes called cowpeas and field peas.
We rolled up to Sugar’s Place in the middle of the day in the middle of July. Across the street from the Mississippi College School of Law in Jackson, this little restaurant has some of the best soul food I’ve ever eaten. I walked in with no appetite and left wishing I had eaten more. And I couldn’t stop thinking about its baked chicken. Chef-owner mother-son team Glenda Cage Barner and Donovan Barner worked some magic with those chicken legs.