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Roots Cuisine is growing and has moved to a new address to reflect its nonprofit status.
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Nwaka with yams
“…next time we make some okro soup or cow foot and tripe wit’ somethin’ like gari. You like gari, Angel? Maybe some fufu. What do you think?”
What do I think? Well, I don’t know and I didn’t when he asked me. Having begun to explore the food of Africa in order to better understand the food of Diaspora has taken me places I’ve been pretty unhappy to go, but I’ve done it for the sake of my passion…my passion for food, that is. At the time of this question it was passion for a man that compelled me to further explore the tastes, smells, and ingredients of West Africa. A place that is as ingrained in my DNA as the smooth reddish tone of my grandfather’s skin and the lush, thickness of my grandmother’s hair. The funny thing is I never known any of them, but I feel them with me everyday .
So when He would ask me, as He often did, “What do you think?” I often didn’t know what to say, but usually I thought to my American self “cow foot…tripe…stockfish, dude, I will soooo pass.” I realized though that I had to get past the haunting memories of the great goat and mackerel incident and expand my cooking and eating repertoire to include fiery stew, egusi soup, and maybe even a little cow foot. Love is the greatest of motivators, isn’t it?
Today my most recent article, which also happens to be my second feature, appeared on the front page of the Chicago Sun-Times food section. It’s a piece on –surprise, surprise– the food of the Diaspora in Chicago. Of course they published it as the big Black History Month food feature but hey, I’ll take what I (and the people) can get! I highlight a couple of restaurants, grocery stores –although there are lots more throughout the city and suburbs that I just couldn’t include because of space and word count concerns. The article is also accompanied by the first recipe I’ve ever written on my own, for oxtails the way I remember eating them as a kid. Check the link below:
Cuisine of the African Diaspora Woven Into Chicago’s Neighborhoods
Enjoy and please share feedback or your favorite “diasporal” spots in Chicago or your wherever you are!
Posted in General
Tagged African Diaspora, African food, African grocery stores, african-american food, afro-latin food, caribbean food, culinary connections, cultural connections, diasporal cuisine, ethnic markets, soul food
One of the most interesting things about the food of the African Diaspora is how closely it connects its members to one another and how little the members of the Diaspora realize it. They often deny it. Most Dominicans, African-Americans, or Brazilians would deny their close cultural connections, but they do exist. My aim with this blog is to explore those connections and help others (myself included) incorporate more of what brings those groups together into their own cooking repertoires. Food and Identity really, that’s what I hope to explore. The African Diaspora is begging for attention. I plan to give it as much attention as possible.