Too often reduced to only soul or Southern food, or certain African ingredients, the world of Black food is vast, diverse, and multi-layered. So this month, we’ll be sharing recipes and stories from creators and home-cooks who collectively celebrate and showcase what Black food is and can be.
To kick things off, we turned our blog over to chef and author Thérèse Nelson, who wrote a beautiful open letter on Black culinary history, and how to view the interconnectivity of Black culture with America and the rest of the world through the prism of food.
“In honoring the Black past we become deputized to also reclaim and move forward those traditions into our modern lives. In this we give new life and potential healing through the act of cooking and eating.” Thérèse Nelson
Find Thérèse’s moving letter in full on the blog, along with an invaluable list of her recommendations on what to read, watch, listen to, and eat, so you can, in her words “make your food world more delicious.”
Next up in What Is Black Food?, we met up with Morgan Lynzi, a multifaceted creative “making the revolution irresistible.” She reminisced about the trip she took a few years ago that changed the way she cooks, and talked about how her multiethnic heritage informs the fusion recipes she makes at home.
“The assumption that any food — whether Black, Asian, or European — is uninfluenced by other cultures is one I personally want to challenge…We do not exist in these boxes that are one dimensional, and neither does our food.” Morgan Lynzi
Get the recipe for one of Morgan’s favorite childhood dishes, Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge, and read more about her cooking practice and unique perspective on what Black food is.
Continuing our series, we sat down with Nadia Boachie, a food writer, blogger, and content creator. She talked to us about staying connected to her Ghanian roots and how she wants to challenge the assumption that Black food is unhealthy.
“Black food is nutritious, full of a variety of starches, greens, herbs, legumes, and vegetables that are not used in Western cooking. That lack of familiarity of these ingredients often makes people jump to the wrong conclusions about what Black food is and isn’t.” Nadia Boachie
Nadia also shared her recipe for ampesi with kontomire stew, a popular staple dish in Ghana that’s packed with nourishing greens.
After that, we met up with content creator and home-cook Shadaé Williams, who spoke to us about how her Jamaican-American heritage inspires her cooking, the experiences that have shaped the way she thinks about food, and how heavily spiced food often gets a bad reputation.
“I would like to dispel the idea that more heavily spiced food is unhealthy. Spices are one of nature’s medicines, such as the turmeric used in Jamaican curry. It has ayurvedic and anti-inflammatory properties that will be marketed as a new health craze when a certain group of people discuss or ‘discover’ it, but is ignored as something that was deeply ingrained in other cultures for centuries.”Shadaé Williams
Shadaé also graciously shared her curry chicken recipe, a comforting dish that her dad taught her to make.
Finally, we made our way over to content creator Malicka Anjorin’s place. She chatted about the women in her life who have shaped the way she thinks about food, how she adds her own Beninese twist to everything she makes, and what fills her with joy in the kitchen.
“I hope more and more people are inspired to understand where the food they eat comes from. I hope more and more people are inspired to try new ways to cook the ingredients they’re familiar with.” Malicka Anjorin
Malicka also shared her recipe for riz au gras, which she makes using a surprising ingredient!