Black History Month Lessons for Culinary Arts
Black history month originated to honor African Americans’ struggle for independence and human rights. What better way to honor this special month than through your culinary classroom? Ideally, you would be incorporating American regional cuisine and international foods throughout the school year but I can see why we have a month to focus on such an important history that is often overlooked.
Here are some ideas for incorporating black history and culture into your culinary arts and family and consumer science classes:
1- Creole, Cajun, and Soul Food History and Recipes- The influence on American foods by Africans and indigenous people is the reason we eat many of the foods we eat in this country. The southern region of the United States, particularly the state of Louisiana has some of the most distinctive and culturally rich food in the United States. Soul food, Creole, and Cajun food, all with similarities and differences can help us understand the culinary history and culture of this country. Here’s our FREE lesson on this:
This also includes a mac and cheese recipe in three different ways…cajun, creole, and soul versions. Having students create an inexpensive recipe in 3 different ways is a great way to introduce the varying flavors. You can even split students into groups to create the different versions.
It also includes a children’s book about the 3 different food cultures which can be used for Child Development classes in Family Consumer Science as well as culinary arts.
2- High on the Hog Video on Netflix and Questions- This video is really good and includes 4 episodes of about 50 minutes each and explains the history of African foods and how they were spread throughout the world. It is educational, sad, and well done. Here are the questions that we have in our store that follow the episodes.
It starts with an episode on the roots of African food and then moves on to discuss the rice kingdom in the Carolinas. The third episode discusses founding chefs such as Thomas Jefferson’s African American chef as well as other influential black chefs. Lastly, it covers the history of barbecue and Southern cuisine.
3- African Foods- Teaching your students about the origins of the foods of Africa is an important aspect of understanding the influences on American cuisine. This lesson includes foods from different regions of Africa as well as guided notes and questions. Some of the foods and regions of Africa discussed are:
- West Africa- thieboudienne, okra stew
- South Africa- bobotie, malva pudding
- East Africa- ugali, nyama choma
- North Africa- tajine, couscous
- Central Africa- kanda, muamba nsusu
Recipes– if you can create another authentic recipe that would really help your students learn about the culture. Tasty has a list of recipe ideas to honor Black History Month. Aunt Gussie’s Pound Cake is one that does not include difficult to include ingredients.
You might also like our other Global Foods blog posts for international foods ideas!
This is another video that can be used in the classroom and has 3 different soul foods recipes.
Even if you don’t make these recipes, showing the video will help your students understand techniques and ingredients that are relevant.
Black History Month Recipe Ideas for the Classroom
- Jambalaya: A flavorful, hearty stew originating from Louisiana.
- Collard Greens: Usually cooked with seasonings and bacon or ham.
- Cornbread: A staple of Southern cuisine, cornbread is a popular dish that is often served with meals like chili, stew, and barbecue.
- Sweet Potato Pie: sweet potato pie is made with mashed sweet potatoes, spices, and a flaky crust.