Kwanzaa Culinarians

Recipes and Food Stories from the African Diaspora

Ms. Ginny is My Grandmother

My maternal grandmother, Mrs. Earcie Bodiford Ginwright, a life-long Alabamian, taught me more about African values than my African study and Swahili language classes taught me. I moved from Alabama … Continue reading

December 19, 2012

Coco Cooks Reflects on Kujichagulia… Self Determination

As a caterer, I never set out to be known, defined, or limited as a female black owned business. The other day the wife of a European dignitary who hired … Continue reading

December 18, 2012 · 1 Comment

Apple Tart Recipe

December 17, 2012

West African Chicken by BlackHealthMatters.com

African Americans have poor health outcomes on nearly every disease index; we’re either at higher risk for developing an illness or we die from it in greater numbers. While access … Continue reading

December 16, 2012

Celebrating Nia: Past, Present, Future

Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness. Nia. Purpose. I have, for a … Continue reading

December 15, 2012 · 2 Comments

Kujichagulia or Self-Determination: To Define Ourselves, Name Ourselves, Create for Ourselves and Speak for Ourselves

To create for ourselves is one of the most important concepts that I take away from Kwanzaa. I strongly believe that we as a people should be growing, producing and … Continue reading

December 14, 2012 · 1 Comment

Pineapple Upside Down Hummingbird Cake

From an early age, I was deeply immersed in the culture and celebration of Kwanzaa. I used to perform in a children’s dance company called New Life, which was rooted … Continue reading

December 13, 2012 · 9 Comments

Sweet Potato, Caramelized Shallots, Smoked Mozzarella Pizza with Wilted Arugula

It was the Senegambians who were brought in to grow cotton, tobacco, rice and other grains and corn. They were also expert fishermen, blacksmiths, woodworkers and hunters. Having a legendary … Continue reading

December 12, 2012

Creamy Cheesy Yellow Grits with Roast Brussel Sprouts and Sausage

Thank the Native American tribes located in Southern United States for introducing early American settlers to grits, a common breakfast made from corn. Eventually, descendants of African slaves would turn … Continue reading

December 11, 2012 · 1 Comment

“Potato Mash” is to the Western World as “Foufou” is to West Africans

As a kid, I remember having to learn the meaning of things through association with other similar things. It was a fun way to learn and is actually quite an … Continue reading

December 10, 2012 · 1 Comment

Family, Friends and Haitian Rice

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. I am—well, I guess—I was the grinch. But, not in the obvious ways, and quite honestly this realization came to me as … Continue reading

December 9, 2012

Kwanzaa: Using Food and Heritage to Make Meaning

Those of us who celebrate Kwanzaa face a lot of ribbing, good natured and otherwise, often questioning the authenticity and meaning of the holiday. As they say in Nigeria, “Let … Continue reading

December 8, 2012 · 2 Comments

Ladies who Lunch, Make Kadak Chai

As I sit to write this, my mind is buzzing with thoughts from the excitement of the day. I am dying to share them with you. But I pause. Something … Continue reading

December 7, 2012 · 1 Comment

The Principled Baker + Orange Scented Cherry White Chocolate Cookies

Baking is a precise art. It’s about measurements, precise temperatures and timing. If any of these are the slightest bit off, your prize winning recipe can become a disaster. No … Continue reading

December 6, 2012

Guiding principles: Reflecting on Food, Identity and African-Diaspora Relations

Having been born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, Kwanzaa is not a celebration I know much about. As I learn about the related principles and practices, I reflect on how … Continue reading

December 5, 2012 · 1 Comment

African Jewel Rooibos Tea Cake

The principle of Ujamaa-Cooperative economics, to build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and profit from them together, is one that has been ever present in my … Continue reading

December 4, 2012 · 1 Comment

Life and Collard Greens

Life is all about community. If you were touched by something someone said or did for you and you haven’t done it yet… stop. Stop right now and let them … Continue reading

December 3, 2012 · 1 Comment

Understanding Kujichagulia: A Journey Into Self-Awareness

We face neither East nor West; we face Forward. by Kwame Nkrumah Kujichagulia (pron: koo-jee-chah-GOO-lee-ah) is the guiding principle of the second day of Kwanzaa. Defined as self-determination, it affirms … Continue reading

December 2, 2012 · 1 Comment

Black People, Obama and the Kwanzaa Dilemma

This article is republished with the author’s, Albert Phillips, permission. It was originally posted here. As we slowly ease off the uneasy stomachs caused by Thanksgiving and the overdrawn bank accounts … Continue reading

December 1, 2012

In Closing: Make Kwanzaa a Family Affair

The celebration of Kwanzaa has been an important tradition in my family for several years. In this article, I will discuss its historical development in my own family and why … Continue reading

January 1, 2012 · 1 Comment

Creative Giving for the Improving the Community

Celebrating Kwanzaa was not a ritual practiced by my family; in fact, I had no idea what Kwanzaa meant. While obtaining my degree in Africana Studies from NCSU, I learned … Continue reading

December 31, 2011

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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.