As part of our What is Black Food? series, culinary historian Thérèse Nelson (who also coined this beautiful open letter) graciously shared with us her recommendations for what the read, watch, listen to, eat, and support this Black History Month.
What to Read
Black Food by Bryant Terry
An insightful deep dive into modern Black food culture through a global lens. Essays, recipes, poetry, original art, and photography this collection is an excellent starting point.
High On The Hog by Dr. Jessica B. Harris
In 2011, Dr. Harris gave us a foundational work that helped reframe American Gastronomy through a Black lens. Her book was made into a Netflix series of the same name that explored the book's first half in four acts. The producers are doing a second season to cover the second half of the book.
Thursdays and Every Other Sunday Off by Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor
Fifty years ago, food anthropologist Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor wrote a very lean but impactful book that asks the reader to think about how they value food service. She illuminated that the majority of the workforce was Black and brown and saw a tide change coming. She was concerned that we didn’t have a proper appreciation for the labor and expertise that went into domestic work, which is where careers in food and hospitality were classified. Her words feel prolific now and make for a valuable read.
The Cooking Gene by Michael Twitty
Part memoir, part genealogical migration story, Michael takes the reader on a trip to the birth and construction of American food culture through the lens of the enslaved and their descendants, telling a foundational story that helps us rethink the making of the American table.
The Jemima Code by Toni Tipton Martin
A beautifully rich exploration of two centuries of Black cookbooks that will give you the stories behind the books and authors that helped craft the American table.
What to Watch & Listen to
High on the Hog Netflix Series
Food writer Stephen Satterfield traces the origins of African-American cuisine, tracing it’s through lines from Africa to Texas.
Pastries with Paola
An adorable web series, featuring chef Paola Velez, who marries the flavors and ingredients of her Afro-Latinx roots with her extensive technical pastry expertise.
Black & Highly Flavored Podcast
SoulPhoodies Tamara Celeste and Derek Kirk shine a light on the need-to-know Black movers and shakers of our food and beverage industry — from writers and historians to small business owners and chef-activists.
Black Dessert Podcast
Black Desserts is a limited series podcast hosted by Thérèse Nelson focusing on the life and work of Black pastry chefs.
The Black Food Tales Podcast
The show connects people through African and Caribbean food. Hosted by Lisimba Pink, every week he speaks with guests to uncover their tale and share their passion for African and Caribbean food.
Who to Be in Community With
Black Culinary History
My site is a great starting point for what to read, listen to, and consider in the world of Black food and culture.
Ozoz Sokoh has created a fully digital library of rare and out-of-print resources that capture the wealth of knowledge in Black food culture globally, emphasizing the African continent.
National Black Food Justice Alliance
If you’re interested in connecting with food justice organizations primarily doing work in the agricultural space, NBFJA is the best starting point. You can connect with member organizations, donate to their advocacy work, and stay abreast of the grassroots work they do on behalf of Black communities nationwide.
Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD)
For the last four years, the museum has been curating and ideating a full-scale exhibit that celebrates and highlights the Black contribution to American gastronomy called African/American: Making the Nation’s Table, opening 2/23.
What to Eat
A global foundation and specialty food company manufacturing fonio; offering the grain itself, derivative snacks, and value-added products.
An East African sauce-and-condiment company founded by Hawa Hassan.
The Spice Suite
A Washington D.C.-based spice shop owned by Angel Gregorio.
Wanda’s Cooking Pepper ChowChow
Oakland-based chef Wanda Blake’s amazing handcrafted pepper chowchow will change your life.
A Black-owned platform that will connect you with Black-owned restaurants to support.