Kwanzaa: An African-American Celebration of Culture and Cooking

Overview

Kwanzaa: An African-American Celebration of Culture and Cooking is the only complete guide to the history and foods of Kwanzaa. In this beautiful yet practical book, there are recipes for more than 125 treasured dishes from people of African descent living all over the world. Adorned with biographies of distinguished African Americans, proverbs, and folk tales that illustrate the seven principles of Kwanzaa (Nguzo Saba), Kwanzaa embodies the very spirit of the holiday itself: a culinary celebration and a ...
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1993-10-27 Paperback New New-Mint cover, tight binding, clean text.

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Overview

Kwanzaa: An African-American Celebration of Culture and Cooking is the only complete guide to the history and foods of Kwanzaa. In this beautiful yet practical book, there are recipes for more than 125 treasured dishes from people of African descent living all over the world. Adorned with biographies of distinguished African Americans, proverbs, and folk tales that illustrate the seven principles of Kwanzaa (Nguzo Saba), Kwanzaa embodies the very spirit of the holiday itself: a culinary celebration and a testimony to the accomplishments and spirit of African Americans throughout history.

This is more than just a book for a holiday. It is a cookbook and a source of inspiration to be used all year long.

Known as "first fruits of the harvest" in Swahili, Kwanzaa is an annual holiday of African American cultural heritage, celebrated between December 26 and New Year's Day. Now in paperback after its celebrated hardcover release two years ago, Kwanzaa is a complete guide to the holiday's history and food. Illus.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
From the author of Black Pearls comes a personal, highly readable primer on Kwanzaa holiday traditions, replete with sumptuous recipes from Africa, the Caribbean, the Americas, and beyond. A must for every home.
Library Journal
Journalist and author of Kwanzaa: An African American Celebration of Culture and Cooking (Morrow, 1991), Copage provides a theme, a brief quotation from an African proverb or an African American (from Sojourner Truth to Bill Cosby, Muhammed Ali to Oprah Winfrey), a short meditation or explication, together with a suggested affirmation or action, for each day of the year. These meditations are psychological and spiritual, for people of any religious tradition--or none. Sometimes they deal with issues, such as invisibility to whites, special to African Americans, but often the meditations are deeply human, applicable to anyone, in the best self-help tradition. Essential for all public libraries and recommended for all seminary libraries.
School Library Journal
YA-- Upon initial inspection, this book seems to be more of a fine cookbook than a resource for celebrating Kwanzaa. However, a closer examination shows that its recipes, as wonderful as they are, are secondary to the information about this holiday. The recipes themselves, from African and Caribbean countries as well as the United States, include dishes such as the Ethiopian chicken stew, Doro Wat; Shrimp Creole Fettucine; and a Jamaican iced tea, along with at least 100 others. Copage gives a short history of Kwanzaa and explains why more than five million Americans take part in this seven-day celebration in December. The real treasures, however, are his interesting stories of persons such as King Askiga Muhammad, whose reign of 36 years, starting in 1493, restored the city of Timbuktu to its status ``as a world center.'' Several African folktales as well as short biographies of people such as Frederick Douglass and Fannie Lou Hamer help to make the reading interesting and informative. A tremendous resource book.-- Paul McKendrick, W.T. Woodson High Sch . , Fairfax, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688128357
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/28/1993
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 8.12 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Meet the Author

Eric V. Copage, a reporter at the New York Times, has also been an editor at the New York Times Magazine and a music columnist for Essence.

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Read an Excerpt

There is a jazzy quality to everything black people do, a spirit of improvisation and self-creation. It is part of the African aesthetic. And it is very much a part of Kwanzaa.

This book is designed to provide all the components for your Kwanzaa celebration: stories to illustrate the principles of Kwanzaa and recipes for the special meals. It is to be used as a resource, a garden from which you can pick and choose the elements you want for your own Kwanzaa celebration.

Food is a big part of the holiday, and here you will find more than 125 treasured recipes, passed on through families but changed by each generation and each cook. There are no set menus of combinations that you have to follow, no rigid schedule of when to serve which food. Putting together your own Kwanzaa feasts is part of the joy of the holiday.

You can celebrate a different country of the African diaspora each day by cooking only foods of that country. On the first night you might serve Jamaican dishes, on the second food from the American South, on the third African, and so on... ending with a glorious all-out multinational banquet on the last night.

Or you can put together a menu for each night with no two recipes coming from the same land.

You can do a potluck supper and have everyone contribute a course that comes from the place where they were born, or the country their ancestors came from, or a place they have visited. This is a great way to start people talking about their particular families and history.

All-vegetarian dishes can be served, or you can create meals for special dietary requirements. You can even take one type of food, such as rice, and cook all the different recipes that usethat food for one meal.

The possibilities are as wide as your imagination.

And you don't have to save these recipes for Kwanzaa—you can cook from them year-round. But I like to save certain favorite recipes just for Kwanzaa.

Excerpted from Kwanzaa. Copyright ) 1991 by Eric V. Copage.

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