Follow that food! See how African foodways, culture, and ingredients have dispersed throughout America and into today's kitchen.
Africa’s Culinary Diaspora in the Americas
Follow that food! See how African foodways, culture, and ingredients have dispersed throughout America and into today’s kitchen. Look for new episodes to be added on a monthly basis!
01: Culinary Connections from Africa to the Americas
Dr. Jessica B. Harris, renowned culinary historian and author of 12 critically acclaimed cookbooks, kicks off this series with an overview of the diaspora of African cuisine in the Americas. She will trace the ancient and often unrecognized African roots of ingredients commonly used in American cooking—including staples such as okra, beans, and rice. You’ll be introduced to the spices, chilis, and hot sauces that became synonymous with Creole dishes, as well as cooking techniques and recipes that have traditionally been considered thoroughly “American”, like Philadelphia’s Pepper Pot.
02: On the Continent: West Africa
Chef, author and social activist, Chef Pierre Thiam focuses on the cuisines of West Africa and particularly Senegal. The staples of West African foods include fresh vegetables and legumes such as okra, eggplant, black eye peas and the onion, tomato, pepper, garlic. You’ll be introduced to grains such as rice, millet, fonio, and sorghum. And learn how proteins including chicken and fish are mixed with flavor profiles from sweet potato, yuca, plantain, pumpkin. You may be surprised to find these African ingredients, recipes, and cooking techniques to be somewhat familiar as they have woven their way into traditional American cuisine.
03: Staples of Culture: Exploring Fufu and Injera
Peter J. Kim, self-described, serious food nerd, is joined by two special guests to take you on a culinary journey with two staples that are found in many cultures throughout Africa: fufu and injera.
04: Continuities and Transformations: Latin America
Dr. Maricel Presilla, an award-winning author, culinary historian, chef, and restauranteur, takes you on a tour of Latin America to show you the influence of the African diaspora on Latin American food and culture.
05: Sacred and Secular: Afro-Brazilian Cuisine
Many of the African traditions regarding food preparation for the gods manifest in Brazilian cuisine. In this lecture, Dr. Scott Alves Barton gives you a broad historical overview of Brazil and the African diaspora, before diving in to the country’s sacred and secular foodways—and the dishes they embody.
06: The Spanish-Speaking Caribbean
Join journalist and storyteller Von Diaz on an adventure through the tastes and traditions of Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba. You’ll focus on shared cooking techniques indebted to enslaved Africans in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, including fritando (deep frying) and guisando (stewing).
07: Jamaica, Haiti, and the French-Speaking Caribbean
Learn how pork, rum, and more connect with Jamaican culture, then explore the variety of Haitian gastronomy.
08: Overview of the Antebellum South
After an overview of America’s plantation south, get a chef’s view on ingredients from this region and time in U.S. history.
09: Postbellum South and the Great Migration
Discover how black chefs, farmers, and bartenders helped shape everything from box lunches to craft cocktails.