Food History

A 28-Recipe Virtual Potluck to Celebrate Black History Month

February  2, 2017

Every year, February marks Black History Month, a time to celebrate the achievements and contributions of African Americans. To honor the month-long holiday, twenty-eight black food bloggers came together for a first of its kind Black History Month Virtual Potluck.

Noted Soul Food Scholar and James Beard Foundation Award-winning author Adrian Miller describes soul food as “a lightning rod in our culture.” With many African American traditions centered around a communal table, it’s no wonder that dishes like fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, fried okra, and skillet cornbread are time-cherished family recipes.

Photo by Chocolate for Basil

With our nation seeming more divided than many of us have experienced in our lifetime, we felt it especially important now to combine our influence to demonstrate unity and diversity, to celebrate our history, and to educate on our food traditions new and old. Undeniably, cuisine is one of the most effortless gateways for learning, which was what inspired food blogger Aaron Hutcherson to initiate our Black History Month Virtual Potluck.

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In the recipes below, you’ll see several fun new takes on traditional soul food recipes. From West African to Creole, Caribbean to Southern, there is something for everybody, with each blogger contributing his or her own culturally-inspired recipe to celebrate each day of Black History Month.

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1. Meiko and the Dish | Crispy Fried Chicken with Pepper Jelly Molasses
Every family picnic favorite, this chicken is buttermilk-brined, fried to a golden-brown perfection, and drizzled with a delicious pepper jelly molasses.

Crispy Fried Chicken Photo by Meiko and The Dish

2. Whisk It Real Gud | Trinidad Oxtail Pelau
Pelau is a delicious one-pot Caribbean dish made of caramelized oxtail, chicken, or seafood that's marinated before being cooked with vegetables and rice.

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Top Comment:
“Although I am distance teaching, I'll be doing the demo and submitting each recipe photo to a journal our school has created for Black History Month. Thanks again:) Sincerely, Cheryle”
— Cheryle L.

3. Raised on Ramen | Caramelized Plantain Tacos with Pecan-Honey Butter
Thick cuts of caramelized plantain add the perfect sweet contrast to these savory tacos.

4. Dash of Jazz | Aunt Georgia’s Peach Cobbler
A recipe recreated from fond childhood memories of Great-Great Grandma's kitchen, this is a Southern classic with a slight twist on the original.

Twice-Baked Yams Photo by Foodie in New York

5. Foodie In New York | Twice-Baked Yams
Inspired by candied yams, these twice-baked yams, flavored with a touch of pineapple juice, are sweet but won't put you in a sugar coma.

6. The Seasoning Bottle | Jamaican Sorrel/Senegalese Bissap
This deep burgundy tea, made of bissap (the name for hibiscus in Senegal), is one of the country's most popular drinks.

7. Chef Kenneth | Smothered Okra with Shrimp
There is nothing more Cajun Creole than a good bowl of smothered okra. Check out this recipe for ways to avoid dreaded okra slime.

8. Savory Spicerack | Po’ Boys with Cajun Tempura Shrimp
Yaaaassss, honey! We are so here for this twist on Louisiana Po' Boys. The addition of Cajun sauce and panko breadcrumbs gives it that extra kick.

Groudnut Stew Photo by Chocolate for Basil

9. Chocolate For Basil | Groundnut Stew (Peanut Stew)
This popular West African and Senegalese stew is thickened and flavored by ground peanuts.

10. Simply LaKita | Banana Pudding
Layers of vanilla wafers, banana slices, pudding, and whipped cream make this the ultimate comfort food dessert.

11. My Forking Life | Callaloo and Saltfish
While this dish is generally eaten for breakfast in Jamaica, it's so delicious that it should be eaten at all times of the day.

12. Gucci Belly | Swamp Water
Don't be fooled by the name: This sweet and aromatic mix is a Southern porch favorite.

Swamp Water (left) and Southern Greens Shakshuka (right). Photo by Gucci Belly, Salty Sweet Life

13. Kaluhi’s Kitchen | Ukwaju (Tamarind) Marinated Spicy Chicken Thighs
After bathing in a ukwaju (otherwise known as tamarind in the U.S.) marinade for up to three days, the chicken is ready to be boiled and shallow-fried.

14. Sweet Savant | Coffee-Rubbed Lamb Ribs
Any instant espresso and spice rub adds warm and toasty undertones to these lamb ribs.

15. Salty Sweet Life | Southern Greens Shakshuka
Middle Eastern and Southern cooking combine to create this Southern Greens Shakshuka, made with collards, mustard greens, kale, and Swiss chard.

16. Eat.Drink.Frolic. | Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts haters will be quickly converted.

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts Photo by Eat.Drink.Frolic.

17. I Heart Recipes | Southern Fried Cabbage
A go-to side dish for any dinner table, with cabbage, onion, bell peppers, and, of course, plenty of bacon.

18. Jehan Can Cook | Mango Turmeric Smoothie The sweetness of mango pairs well with the sharp earthiness of turmeric in this blended smoothie.

Lemon Pepper Fish Tacos Photo by Margarita's On the Rocks

19. Margarita's On The Rocks | Lemon Pepper Fish Tacos with Collard Green Slaw
For a fusion of Latin and Southern flavors, fish tacos are topped with a collard green slaw.

20. A Soulful Twist | Slow-Cooker Gumbo
Use a slow cooker to simplify this NOLA classic.

21. The Kitchenista Diaries | Coconut Milk Braised Collard Greens
A lighter take on a traditional Southern classic: the greens are braised in coconut milk, which makes them tender, creamy, and slightly less bitter, too.

Orange Chocolate Smoothie Photo by My Life Runs on Food

22. My Life Runs On Food | Orange Chocolate Smoothie
The beauty of this chocolate orange smoothie is its simplicity: fresh orange juice, cocoa powder, chocolate milk, and a frozen banana.

23. Butter Be Ready | Skillet Cornbread
Rich, decadent, warm, buttery—and true to its Southern roots.

24. Domestic Dee | Shrimp Creole
The Big Easy shines in a dish of shrimp simmered in Creole tomato sauce and served over a steamy bed of rice.

25. D.M.R. Fine Foods | Curry Chicken Pot Pie
Your favorite comfort food just got better: The chicken that bubbles beneath the flaky golden pie crust is spiced with curry.

Blood Orange Cornmeal Cake Photo by The Hungry Hutch

26. The Inner Gourmet | Lamb Fried Rice
A take on traditional Guyanese-style fried rice, with hearty leg of lamb and basmati rice..

27. Marisa Moore Nutrition | Hoppin’ John Patties with Warm Tomato Salsa
Hoppin' John like you haven't seen it before (and it's vegetarian and protein-packed, to boot).

28. The Hungry Hutch | Blood Orange Cornmeal Cake
Slightly sweeter than cornbread, this beautiful dessert is decorated with blood orange segments.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • maq27
  • Dorothy Nanka-Bruce
    Dorothy Nanka-Bruce
  • Cheryle Libby Sutton
    Cheryle Libby Sutton
  • kara2020
  • Scribbles
Meiko is corporate America retiree turned full-time foodie and host. Besides her obvious love of cooking she obsessed with designing foodie apparel, celebrity gossip sites and hosting elaborate dining experiences. She shares her recipes, kitchen hacks and entertaining tips on the blog Check it out!


maq27 July 14, 2021
Thank you for sharing the best collection on spicy and amazing recipes...
Dorothy N. April 19, 2021
Outstanding collection of recipes!
Cheryle L. January 30, 2021
Hello--Can't wait to bring the Virtual Potluck to my culinary students. I LOVE that all the recipes take you to the corresponding blog for more info AND then all 28 recipes are referenced at each blog! Good job on the organization and thoughtful layout of the potluck. Although I am distance teaching, I'll be doing the demo and submitting each recipe photo to a journal our school has created for Black History Month. Thanks again:) Sincerely, Cheryle
kara2020 February 4, 2020
Scribbles February 10, 2017
Fantastic tribute! I had to read every recipe and story - so many good things to try. Being from NO, I loved reading the New Orleans influence. Also, now I've got all these new food bloggers to follow - I'll never be able to cook all the things I want to eat...thanks, sincerely for inviting these great cooks to share their recipes.
Laura W. February 9, 2017
Thank you for this entire article...the Groundnut Stew is off the a Texan who lives in NYC and is a lifelong okra fanatic, I appreciate ANY and ALL recipes lovingly using my fave veg...oh yeah and all the other deliciousness in there too...but that okra, oh that okra
Gina G. February 9, 2017
Wow! What an AMAZING collection of BHM potluck recipes!! This will be my go-to from now on.
gandalf February 6, 2017
In the Curry Chicken Pot Pie recipe, the instruction call at one point for adding flour to the mixture; but no quantity of flour is listed as an ingredient. How much would be appropriate, 1 Tbsp.?
Dawn R. February 6, 2017
Hello! Thanks for your comment and please pardon my oversight. The recipe calls for 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour. It's also now updated on the blog for future reference. Enjoy!!
Izzy S. February 5, 2017
Awesome, thank you for featuring such delicious recipes and talented Black food bloggers!
DoubleNegative February 3, 2017
Umm, any possibility of turning this into a less virtual/more real potluck? I want to eat all of this...NOW! Huge thanks to all the contributors & especially to Meiko for not only thinking of it, but making it happen. Just brilliant!
DoubleNegative February 3, 2017
Sorry that should have read...especially to Aaron for initiating and Meiko for making it happen!
Olutosin F. February 2, 2017
La'Chia February 2, 2017
Love this not only for the recipes but for the list of bloggers as well!
Lynn D. February 2, 2017
Oh boy, so many great blogs to check out. I hope that these bloggers will consider making regular contributions to Food 52!
Juliebell February 2, 2017
Wonderful article! Thanks so much for the intro to some great blogs.
Kenneth T. February 2, 2017
Hey Meiko,

Great article! I don't remember Ashley or James being apart of our group?