I was listening to the podcast Blacking It Up yesterday and documentary filmmaker Byron Hurt was there discussing his new film, Soul Food Junkies. Lolis Eric Elie, who came to my college Baruch in September to discuss the show Treme, is in this film, too. Not only is he a jazz journalist, but he is also a food journalist.
Coming from a West Indian background myself, I know the importance of food in African Diasporic cultures. One of the common aspects of African Diasporic food is bricolage (it applies to the music as well), which is the taking various materials that are available and making something out it. This can be seen in the dishes gumbo and jambalaya in the Southeastern United States and pilau (pilaf), or cook-up rice as my mother calls it, in the Caribbean. Actually many cultures around the world make these types of bricolages dishes as well.
The food website, Old Ways, came up with a African Heritage Diet Pyramid, to encourage healthy eating practices in African Diasporic communities using our traditional staple foods because many of our dishes use a lot of greens. This is an important first step, especially in poorer neighborhoods that experience food deserts and an abundance of fast food restaurants as well as some of the unhealthy products in our traditional foods. So, please check out the pyramid and support Hurt’s documentary through his kickstarter campaign.