It's not uncommon for cultures to use food as a means to further define who they are. So I ask the question: What is "black food"? Most wouldn’t think twice if someone answered with fried chicken, collard greens, and cornbread—all examples of traditional soul food. However, each year, along with Aaron Hutcherson (of The Hungry Hutch), I coordinate a virtual potluck in celebration of Black History Month, where 28 bloggers contribute original recipes from the vast African Diaspora.
Every year I'm amazed by the sheer ingenuity, thoughtfulness, and wide cultural reach of each dish and story. From Guava short ribs (Caribbean) to mbuzi choma (East African) to chicken and sausage gumbo (Southern American), a range of traditional recipes are represented in this year’s list. While not explicitly called out, what's also represented is the influence of black migrations. The historical movement of African peoples to new destinations has led to diasporic fusions, brand-new cuisines, and a thousand rich food stories. Take, for instance, A Dash of Jazz’s "Soul Food Power Bowl," a hybrid of flavors from her mom’s Southern roots and her dad’s Nigerian roots.