The Mamas

These women, their stories + legacies, are the foundation upon which Our Mothers’ Kitchens was built. Their voices were the quiet soundtrack of our black womanhood, singing, long before we even knew their songs.

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Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor
The Grand Mother, The Seed

Vertamae. Our sweet “grand mother”. Our chosen ancestor. In her own words, she be “a cosmic force. / culinary griot. / mother to two sagittarian daughters. / geechee girl.” She be the seed.


Ntozake Shange
The Inspiration

Zaki. Girl. If she can cook, you know we can. Her name means “she who has her own things”. She told us to claim what is ours. She be the inspiration.


Zora Neale Hurston
The Spirit

Zora. This magical being has touched + influenced each one of these mamas. She was so special, the universe “was happy to break a few rules just to show [her} preference.” She be the spirit that feeds us.


Alice Walker
The Namesake

Alice. It was her poignant essay In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens that helped bring an idea to life. She reminds us to “Love the Folk. Love [ourselves]. Regardless.” She’s gifted us much. She be the namesake.


The Aunties

While the women listed here were not the main inspiration for this particular project, it is they who sparked the passion + need to pursue this work. It was these women here who led us down the path of exploring + celebrating the richness of our language + our diaspora’s cultures. It was the work of these women who fed us before OMK. It was these women who brought us together.


Geneva Smitherman
Author of Talkin’ + Testifyin’


Toni Cade Bambara
Editor of The Black Woman: An Anthology


Eloise Greenfield
Author of Honey, I Love


Octavia Butler
Author of Parable of the Sower


The Babas

While OMK is undoubtedly badass WOMEN POWERED where would we be without our brothers, our babas, our friends, allies + partners? The kitchen is not solely a “woman’s space” + cooking is not solely “woman’s work”. We have been blessed with some badass brothers who have taught + inspired us to go hard for our community. We do love our black men.


Frederick Douglass Opie
Author of Hog and Hominy


Michael Twitty
Author of The Cooking Gene