Chicken Thighs with Red Palm and Coconut Rice from "Senegal: Modern Senegalese Recipes from the Source to the Bow"l by Pierre Thiam with Jennifer Sit
Chicken Thighs with Red Palm and Coconut Rice from “Senegal: Modern Senegalese Recipes from the Source to the Bowl” by Pierre Thiam with Jennifer Sit. Photo Credit: © Evan Sung.

I first learned of Kwanzaa after graduating from college, when a Nigerian-American friend invited me over to her family’s dinner to celebrate the occasion. Years later, I would celebrate Kwanzaa in my home and use it as an opportunity to explore cuisines from the African diaspora: Caribbean, South American and Southeast Asian while contemplating on one of the daily principles. This year, our Kwanzaa could be influenced by Senegal because of the beauty of Pierre Thiam’s cookbook, From Senegal: Modern Senegalese Recipes from the Source to the Bowl.

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Jean Marie Brownson's Chorizo and Seafood Stew (Photo © Bill Hogan, courtesy of the Chicago Tribune and Agate Publishing.)
Jean Marie Brownson’s Chorizo and Seafood Stew (Photo © Bill Hogan, courtesy of the Chicago Tribune and Agate Publishing.)

Between all the exciting holiday parties is the option to entertain yourself at home. Open a bottle of wine. Read a book that has been collecting dust since it was gifted last year. And, make a fancy or simple dinner. The inspiration? JeanMarie Brownson’s Dinner at Home cookbook.

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Nicole Taylor's The Southern Rice Pilaf from her "The Up South Cookbook"(Photo by ©Noah Fecks)
Nicole Taylor’s The Southern Rice Pilaf from her “The Up South Cookbook”(Photo by ©Noah Fecks)

Nicole Taylor’s The Up South Cookbook is a direct challenge to rethink the definition of Southern cuisine. As a proud southern belle in New York City, Taylor’s expanding knowledge of cultural food influences her to adapt traditional recipes. She also shares classic recipes seldom recognized outside their region, such as the Southern Rice Pilaf (see recipe below). Her recipes are globally diverse, but they’re undoubtedly Southern. In the following interview, Taylor discusses New Yorkers’ perception about Southern food and global influences.

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Jocelyn Delk Adams German Chocolate Cake
Photo © Jocelyn Delk Adams

In the back of my mind, Jocelyn Delk Adams, author and founder of GrandBaby Cakes blog, is family. I’ve never personally talked with or met her, but we’ve communicated via email or social media on several occasions. Her messages are as sweet as her blog, which is full of comfort, down home, Southern desserts with a few savory dishes between the cake recipes.

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Haitian Carrot Crab Salad

Haiti is a country of courageous people. During the period of America’s colonial past, it was the only country to have a successful slave rebellion, and they continue to pay for their fighting spirit into our modern time. Besides an eventful past, Haiti also boasts a rich cuisine. Its dishes are influenced by Taino (Native American), Spanish, French and African cultures. When Haitian-American culinary curator Nadege Fleurimond decided to write a book about her motherland, she knew the research started with a journey to each of the Haiti’s ten regions. Although she already knew the recipes, she wanted to learn the soul of Haitian cuisine.

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