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Food and Travel Blog

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The African American table

Black people are the foundation of America’s culinary identity. This is the thesis of African American: Making the Nation’s Table, an exhibition from the Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD). With text, historical artifacts and a series of virtual events, the MOFAD exhibition traces this influence across all areas of our food system: from Agriculture and distill to the Movements the food traditions spread across the country to the individual chefs, cookbook authors, and inventors that have had an undeniable influence on the way we eat.

The scope of these posts is immense, and provides ample inspiration for the stories you’ll find here – stories that describe the myriad ways blacks have struggled for recognition and support despite their expertise and innovations in the food space. Among these are stories that question the eradication of blacks from the discourse of some of their most famous foods and drinks, such as in James Bennett II’s article on why it is “insincere, factually incorrect, and socially irresponsible to sell this lily narrative “Of craft beer, along with stories celebrating the submerged pioneers of African American cooking. “Black people were embedded in all aspects of society in this country. We’ve always been there, „says Osayi Endolyn in a discussion about the first African-American cookbook author, Malinda Russell,” but stories like Malinda’s give us permission to get even more involved. ”

And when we hear these stories, our perception of American cuisine can evolve. The notion that African Americans are responsible for Mediterranean food, which in itself is the most American food in its own right, is now well established for the sake of simplicity – but overall, the stories contained here and in the MOFAD exhibit should convince anyone that black people made the nation’s table, period. As Dr. Jessica B. Harris, the exhibition’s chief curator, writes in the following introduction:


Malinda Russell A domestic cookbook offers more than just culinary advice. There is also a clear mapping to numbers that are typical
deleted or lost to history.

Racial discrimination has long contributed to the steady decline in black-owned farms in America, but a move to increase that number could soon be backed by real support

Black innovators are getting involved with pop-ups like Honeysuckle, Black Feast and the Vegan Hood Chefs
with food for a bigger cause

The predominantly white image of
Beer culture extinguishes much longer,
extensive narrative of black brows

Blacks create their own support systems
continue a longstanding practice
in their communities



Editorial management: Monica Burton
Creative Director: Brittany Holloway-Brown
Editor: Erin DeJesus, Rebecca Flint Marx
Contributors: James Bennett II, Osayi Endolyn, Dr. Jessica B. Harris, Nadra Nittle, Nicole Rufus, Jaya Saxena, Elazar Sontag, Toni Tipton-Martin
Photographers: Chelsea Kigano, Michelle K. Min and Neal Santos
Editor: Emma Alpern
Fact checker: Olivia Exstrum, Kelsey Lannin and Dawn Mobley
Engagement: Esra Erol, Milly McGuinness
Project manager: Ellie Krupnick
Special thanks to Matt Buchanan; Amanda Kludt; Jesse Sparks; Jenny G. Zhang; The MOFAD exhibition team: Catherine Piccoli, Jean Nihoul, Alexis Fleming, Myriah Towner, Shuan Carmichael-Ramos, Dave Arnold, Peter Kim, Irina Groushevaia and Nazli Parvizi