In search of freedom, we find ourselves
in Our Mothers' Kitchens.
Using the works of Vertamae Smart-Grosvernor, Ntozake Shange, Zora Neale Hurston and Alice Walker, Our Mothers’ Kitchens seeks to introduce young women of color to the ways in which these Black female authors intersect food and language as a means of liberation, expression and cultural preservation. Continuing the use of traditions from the African diaspora, where art and life are one, Our Mothers’ Kirchens takes vital steps towards building optimal health, self-awareness and cultural connection through the ritual and art of cooking and storytelling.
In search of freedom...
Marimba Ani tells us “Culture is a means by which a people protects themselves... [it] is the immune system of a people.” Culture builds and establishes family, community, connection, identity and self-worth. As people of the African diaspora, we have had many aspects of our culture including language, song, traditions and foods systematically stripped from us. In an attempt to reclaim some of our cultural productions and connections, we offer Our Mothers' Kitchens.
The conversations, both spoken and unspoken, that take place in the kitchen are rich with details of our past and lessons for our future. With Our Mothers’ Kitchens we employ food and literature as a means to deepen our understanding of our heritage, our culture and ourselves. By ingesting -reciting, memorizing and dissecting- the work of some of our great women storytellers, we are aligning with the African oral traditions that have been often times passed over by younger generations. We invite these young women into our kitchen where they will not merely be fortifying their body’s immune system; but fortifying the immune system of our community. What the girls learn in this kitchen will exceed culinary and writing skills.
In the writing of Vertamae, Shange, Hurston and Walker they will see reflections of themselves, their experiences, their culture and heritage. It is our hope that in search of their mothers kitchens, they will find their own.
Photography provided by Gabrielle Clark