Cooking the Diaspora:
Kitchen Essentials

At Our Mothers’ Kitchens we (re)introduce participants to the depths + flavors of the African diaspora through our kitchen essentials: rice + beans - greens - herbs + spices. Through exploring the many iterations, recipes and traditions surrounding these foods, we celebrate + honor the many facets of blackness.

Mulatto Rice by Chef Dobson  Photo by khaliah d. pitts

Mulatto Rice by Chef Dobson
Photo by khaliah d. pitts

Rice + Beans

“Most people associate rice with Asia. But rice is also of African origin. [...] An oral tradition claims that an African woman introduced rice [to the Americas] by hiding grains in her hair. The precious seeds escaped detection and this, they explain, is how rice came to be planted.”

Judith A. Carney, ‘With Grains in Her Hair’: Rice in Colonial Brazil

Cutting Collard Greens  Photo by Gabrielle Clark

Cutting Collard Greens
Photo by Gabrielle Clark

Greens

Note about cooking greens: Greens contrary to popular belief don’t have to be cooked all day. Always cook greens in enough water to cover. Some people add a little vinegar to the pot likker. Corn bread with pot likker is delicious.”

Vertamae Smart-Grosvernor, Vibration Cooking or, The Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl

*Pot likker (or pot liquor) is the seasoned broth that remains after cooking greens (or other veggies).

Learning About Herbs + Spices  Photo by Gabrielle Clark

Learning About Herbs + Spices
Photo by Gabrielle Clark

Herbs + Spices

“Black cooks learned how to season food using oral tradition and a prolonged apprenticeship in which people tasted each other’s food and inquired what ingredients and cooking techniques they used. It was during these informal kitchen conversations that women exchanged family recipes.”

Fred Opie, Zora Neale Hurston on Florida Food: Recipes, Remedies and Simple Pleasures

 

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