Dr. Fred Opie on the “Fascinating” African Roots of Florida Foods
We always love digging into food history, so we’re excited to welcome back friend of the pod Dr. Frederick Douglass Opie. He’s an author and professor of history and foodways at Babson College outside of Boston. Among the courses he teaches is African History and Foodways. We always learn something from Dr. Opie, and he has the best stories.
In this conversation, he explains the African roots of Southern staples like watermelon, beans and rice, and Coca-Cola. He also details how enslaved Africans brought their farming techniques and cooking methods to America, and how Reconstruction-era politics led to racist food stereotypes that persist today
Oldways Celebrates 10 Years of A Taste of African Heritage
Dec 05, 2022
BOSTON, The nonprofit Oldways announces the 10-year anniversary and celebration of A Taste of African Heritage, a groundbreaking 6-week cultural cooking & nutrition curriculum that has been taught in communities across the country.
Years before Juneteenth became a nationally recognized holiday or Netflix debuted High on the Hog, this curriculum began helping African Americans reclaim their health through the often-unsung benefits of traditional, plant-based African cooking.
A Taste of African Heritage is a groundbreaking cultural cooking and nutrition curriculum.
Oldways celebrates 10 years of A Taste of African Heritage
"My soul—my inner self wept because [A Taste of African Heritage] celebrates healthy food traditions relevant to my culture. Foods that my Grandmother Sylvia and my Mother cooked were linked back to healthy food traditions in the African Diaspora," said one instructor in Washington, D.C.
To celebrate the 10-year milestone, Oldways is celebrating the impact this curriculum has had over the past decade with a 10-Year Anniversary Report, as well as setting a new goal of bringing A Taste of African Heritage to all 50 U.S. states.
The curriculum, introduced in 2012, is based on healthy plant foods (like leafy greens, whole grains, and beans) from across the African Diaspora. For 10 years, this curriculum has brought to light a culinary legacy and the often-unsung cultural ownership of healthy eating for people of African descent. It was designed by Oldways in collaboration with an expert committee of nutrition scientists and culinary historians, including award-winning culinary historian Dr. Jessica B. Harris and Harvard School of Public Health nutrition scientist Walter Willett.
Recently, it was admitted into the USDA SNAP-Ed Toolkit, and a new article published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior detailed some of the health and lifestyle benefits that participants experience. The article found that participants showed improvements in weight, systolic blood pressure, and waist size, as well as higher intake of fruit, vegetables, greens, and higher frequency of exercise. Ninety-eight percent of participants also reported that heritage was a motivator for change.
Looking ahead, Oldways hopes to bring A Taste of African Heritage to all 50 U.S. states and is seeking new instructors to license the curriculum and bring it to their own communities. Everyone can teach A Taste of African Heritage—you don't need to be a teacher, chef, or dietitian to get started.
Please contact Oldways for more information about A Taste of African Heritage
Dec 13, 2022
In 1966, Kwanzaa emerged as a holiday to strengthen Black folks’ connection with their African roots. Although many celebrated in the 70s and 80s, Kwanzaa has seen a decline in popularity with only 4% of Black Americans observinging it today. Host Roy Wood Jr. sits with culinary historian and author, Dr. Jessica B. Harris, and segment director, Chinisha Scott, to help define Kwanzaa and provide modern ways to celebrate with friends and family.
Another one of the Black-owned businesses that has visited the Rams' training facility in Thousand Oaks throughout the regular season, Billionaire Burger Boyz was the creation of executive chef Derrick Bivens' appetite for the food it serves.
Jan 3, 2023
Food editor Jamila Robinson is successful in a space that does not have a large Black presence but she's working to change that. As Food editor for The Philadelphia Inquirer and Regional Chair of The World's 50 Best Restaurants, Jamila is fighting to give Black restaurants the recognition and resources they deserve. Jamila joins The Blackest Questions to talk about her mission, the importance of food equality, and the role her family has played to close the gap
An intimate celebration of New Orleans food and its Black culture from a born-and-raised local chef.
Toya Boudy’s father grew up in the Magnolia projects of New Orleans; her mother shared a tight space with five siblings uptown. They worked hard, rotated shifts, and found time to make meals from scratch for the family. In Cooking for the Culture, Boudy shares these recipes, many of which are deeply rooted in the proud Black traditions that shaped her hometown. Driving the cookbook are her personal stories: from struggling in school to having a baby at sixteen, from her growing confidence in the kitchen to her appearances on Food Network. The cookbook opens with Sweet Cream Farina, prepared at the crack of dawn for girls in freshly ironed clothes—being neat and pressed was important. Boudy recounts making cookies from her commodity box peanut butter; explains the know-how behind Smothered Chicken, Jambalaya, and Red Gravy; and shares her original television competition recipes. The result is a deeply personal and unique cookbook.