Last weekend, I had this singular opportunity to witness an authentic African “Soul Food” cooking class at Woodrow Wilson High School, in Washington D.C. Tambra Raye Stevenson, acclaimed speaker and founder of NativSol Kitchen (NativSol stands for new american traditions including values of sustainable, organic and local), and notable DMV food specialist Michael Twitty, taught participants and health-conscious foodies the importance of an African diet.
This unique cooking class was a featured segment from Rooting D.C, a free, all-day gardening forum that provides hands-on demonstrations, and exhibits on urban food.
When I speak about an “African diet” I refrain from highlighting the perks of eating fried chicken, macaroni, chitlins and what most Americans perceive as authentic soul food. Real soul food consists of: millet, quinoa, chilies, and veggies. Essentially, real soul food has profound and rich origins from African nations.
Stevenson is highly lauded, in the DMV area, for her 6-week “Taste of African Heritage Cooking Class” and has entrenched legions of residents on the benefits of instilling authentic African foods into ones dietary habits.
For starters, did you know that your genes have an impact on your health? Whatever foods you are allergic too stem from your ancestral roots and connect with what your fore-grandparents harvested, cooked and consumed. If this sounds interesting check out other tidbits I learned from both Tambra Raye Stevenson and Michael Twitty:
Know Your Roots, Know Your Food: Journey Back to African Heritage and Health
- Your genes impact your health.
- People confuse soul food with “real” soul food which consists of bananas, veggies, millet,etc.
- 50/75 of West African genes are part of African American blood streams.
- Bananas are more diverse in Africa, than in any other continent in the world.
- Africans eat more veggies, less meats and use starches and sauces.
- Angola was influenced by the Portuguese and that influence resonates into their culinary dishes.
- Never eat raw okra leaves. Boil it first.
- Ginger, cinnamon, and cloves have been around Africa for over 2,000 years.
Not only did participants learn about real African cooking but they were also able to sample delicious African Millet Salad made by Stevenson. Click here for the FREE recipe.
After noshing on some delectable, nutritious, millet salad, onlookers were able to quench their thirst with gourmet African drinks from Faso Foods such as Baobob and Hibiscus juices.
All in all, this class peeled back years of media misconceptions on soul food. Quinoa, millet, okra and bananas sounds more health-conscious than macaroni n’ cheese, friend chicken and ham.
Visit : www.fasofoods.com for more information.
About Faso Foods
We represent a diverse roster of categories including hot beverages, fruit juice, confections and grains, many of which are organic and fair trade, to fulfill the demand of the sophisticated specialty food market.