Recipes and Food Stories from the African Diaspora
The Kwanzaa Principle of Kujichagulia (koo-jee-cha-goo-LEE-yah) refers to self-determination. It speaks to defining ourselves, naming ourselves, creating for ourselves and speaking for ourselves.
When I decided to start blogging, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I wanted to be more disciplined about writing and figured that by having a blog, I would write on a regular basis. My email name was Anali and I decided to use it as an alias, since I wasn’t sure how this blogging thing would work out.
There was no particular theme. I just wanted a place to write about anything that I wanted and express myself without limits. I thought about what gives me the freedom to say what I want, and the First Amendment came to mind. So my blog, Anali’s First Amendment was born.
The birth of my blog was the beginning of a new chapter in my life. By looking at the things that I focus on, it’s become a way to see what’s truly important to me. Having a food blog was not my intent, but my never-ending fascination with food means that cooking, eating, baking, restaurants, and random food analogies pepper my posts.
One of my favorite quotes is by Rumi.
“Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.”
My blog is this quote in action.
When I was invited to be part of Kwanzaa Culinarians, I was so excited to be included. Sharing stories, recipes, and collaborating with other food bloggers of African descent feels like Kwanzaa in action. Joining together as a community to do what we love and raise each other up.
Plus we’re adding another dimension to our community. In the black blogosphere, there are many bloggers. But often those of us in the African Diaspora focusing on food are not necessarily considered “black bloggers.” We are a multi-faceted community with different interests and experiences. I believe that the more diversity within our community; the better it is for us all. We should all be free to be ourselves.
One of my favorite things to bake is scones. I even teach scone baking classes. And while Magic Johnson proclaims that black people don’t eat scones, I beg to differ.
Here’s a new scone recipe that I created incorporating some ingredients mentioned in the Oldways African Heritage Diet. While this is not the traditional method of making scones, it works for me.
Cinnamon Frosted Fig Pecan Scones
1/3 cup Smart Balance (butter or margarine)
¼ cup molasses
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ cup corn meal
scant ½ tsp. salt
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup vanilla rice milk
¼ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup sliced figs (6 figs)
Ingredients for Cinnamon Frosting
½ of the remaining Smart Balance 1 ½ T
½ cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 T vanilla rice milk
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Take out baking sheet and dust with a little flour. Use your hands to spread the flour over the sheet. Set aside.
2. Partially melt the Smart Balance. Place in a large bowl then combine with brown sugar, vanilla extract, molasses, and egg. Add salt, baking powder, corn meal and some of flour. Stir well then add rice milk and the rest of the flour. Stir until combined. Add figs and pecans, then stir well. Use your hands to form a ball from the mixture and place onto baking sheet. All the flour may not be completely combined. Pour excess flour onto the ball.
3. Use your hands to continue forming the dough. Add a small amount of additional flour if dough is too sticky to work with easily. Press dough down into a circle. Cut into 8 pieces by cutting in half vertically and horizontally. Then cut those pieces in half. Separate pieces from each other on the baking sheet. Especially in the center. Scones will rise and spread out and may not bake evenly if they are too close together.
Alternate Shape Methods:
SCONE ROUNDS: Spread out dough using your hands and use a circle cookie cutter or an upside down glass to cut out scone rounds. Makes 8-10 scones.
MINI SCONES: Separate dough into two balls. Form each into a circle by pressing down and stretching. Cut dough into 8 pieces by cutting in half vertically and horizontally. Then cut those pieces in half. Makes 16 mini scones.
4. TO MAKE FROSTING: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Stir very well.
5. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes depending upon how hot your stove is. Scones should be lightly browned. Let cool for about 5 minutes.
6. Spread frosting on scones. Eat.
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Lisa Johnson provides tasty servings of life, food, and current events on her blog, Anali’s First Amendment. She’s a freelance writer, an attorney, and teaches others how to find their “inner baker.” Lisa lives just outside Boston in Quincy, Massachusetts.