Kwanzaa Culinarians

Recipes and Food Stories from the African Diaspora

Eva Smith of Tech. Food. Life. Celebrates Kuumba


Kwanzaa is a very important celebration for our heritage. It’s an international non-religious and non-heroic holiday to bring unity into the community. Today’s Kwanzaa principle is  Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah), “Creativity.” Making the community better and more beautiful. To do always as much as we can to make our community more beautiful.

Our family has a long history of volunteering in our community. I remember in my youth seeing my parents help others in the community by buying food, provide temporary housing, transportation or repair cars. These principles were passed on to me and my siblings as well. We have also passed on these principles and values to our children by volunteering in our neighborhood community centers throughout the year.

The most important thing in our family is our children. As we prepared to celebrate the principle of creativity, we asked our children to put together a variety show to celebrate the special occasion. The children put together a show singing music, reading poems, sharing stories and songs written by the eldest children of our family. Their voices echoed throughout the home and reminded us that  we have raised children who are supportive of one another, supportive of their community and make their community  more beautiful. My niece shared stories of her recent travels to Peru and Jerusalem to help people in need. She shared how she developed friendships and how she is keeping in touch with her newly found friends. We were so amazed at the talents and character each of our children has developed. It’s humbling to see the same principles of volunteering and desire to help our community being developed in the hearts of our children.

We also had a potluck. I love potlucks because they allow everyone to be very creative and showcase the cooking talents of the guests. Every member of our family got very creative and  brought their favorite dish. We made tamales, cupcakes, BBQ ribs, greens and ate a peach cobbler for dessert. We made our very first peach cobbler. It was so well received, we didn’t have an opportunity to taste it.

As you prepare to celebrate today’s principle, I encourage you to ask yourself how can you make your community more beautiful. If you’re already volunteering, how can you help instill the values you have developed to help our children become caring and contributing members of our community.

May you make your community better and more beautiful today with your creative heart, voice and soul. As sweet as a peach cobbler! Kuumba!

Peach Cobbler

Peach Cobbler

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shortening
1 egg
1/4 cup water
3 pounds fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
1/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup butter
2 cups white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted

1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, and salt. Work in shortening with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and cold water. Sprinkle over flour mixture, and work with hands to form dough into a ball. Chill 30 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll out half of dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Place in a 9×13 inch baking dish, covering bottom and halfway up sides. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
3. In a large saucepan, mix the peaches, lemon juice, and orange juice. Add butter, and cook over medium-low heat until butter is melted. In a mixing bowl, stir together 2 cups sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cornstarch; mix into peach mixture. Remove from heat, and pour into baked crust.
4. Roll remaining dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Cut into half-inch-wide strips. Weave strips into a lattice over peaches. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon melted butter.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until top crust is golden brown.

6. Serve warm and with love.

Eva Smith is a technology, social media, food and lifestyle maven and mother based in Los Angeles, California. Her blog, Tech. Food. Life., is a place that combines her knowledge of and love for her professional, social and home life into one place. She is also the founder of Latina Mom Bloggers. Today, Eva shares her views on Kuumba, or creativity. In addition to her websites, find Eva on Twitter.

About The Duo Dishes

Chrystal Baker is a private cook, recipe developer, culinary production artist and freelance contributor to, as well as a culinary production team member for various TV shows, commercials, photo shoots and online content. She maintains, a Los Angeles-based food blog that features dishes influenced by family tradition, regional fare and worldly flavors. She also shares travel stories and links to published work via a personal blog, You can follow her trail on Instagram and Twitter-- @AnynEverywhere and @TheDuoDishes.

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Learn more about Kwanzaa

The word "Kwanzaa" comes from the phrase, "matunda ya kwanza" which means "first-fruits." Kwanzaa's extra "a" evolved as a result of a particular history of the Organization Us. It was clone as an expression of African values in order to inspire the creativity of our children. In the early days of Us, there were seven children who each wanted to represent a letter of Kwanzaa. Since kwanza (first) has only six letters, we added an extra "a" to make it seven, thus creating "Kwanzaa." To learn more about Kwanzaa, visit the Official Kwanzaa Website.

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