In conjunction with Verizon, EBONY is journeying through our rich archives in honor of Black History Month to highlight the cultural contributions of African Americans in this country. The first video to kick off this exciting archival series explores the significance of Black American food traditions, specifically soul food, from our unique vantage point.
For decades, EBONY has been an integral part of Black culture. With major contributions such as the EBONY Test Kitchen, Black Americans were able to witness first hand culinary traditions that have been upheld within our community. Designed by EBONY’s founder and former Editor-in-Chief John H. Johnson, this project tested out recipes that were used for the magazine’s famed Date with a Dish. Later rebranded as the EBONY Cookbook, this landmark creation established a precedent of passing down pieces of history as a means of solidifying our community’s fragmented heritage. The Chew‘s Carla Hall and EBONY’s former food editor Charla Draper were even tapped to consult on an exhibition called African/American: Making the Nation’s Table that includes this unforgettable piece of EBONY’s history. Currently on view, this display has restored and preserved the Test Kitchen while illuminating its monumental influence at the Museum of Food and Drink.
As stated by historian Dr. Jessica B. Harris within the video “Black hands have always been there…we are foundational to the cooking of this country.” Also seen in this video are numerous notable Black chefs speaking to the importance of maintaining Black recipes and the place that food has in our shared lineage. Through an event highlighting their dynamic cooking abilities, the lasting imprint of Black culinary techniques are shown while emphasizing the beauty in maintaining our own rituals in the kitchen.
Check out the full video below: