My family was their most affectionate around the dinner table. It was the most consistently positive emotional exchange that I remember, which might be the source of my passion for cooking for others. How could you not want to shower love on one another while eating soulful dishes like crispy fried chicken smothered in hot sauce, or slow-smoked beef brisket with burnt ends, the meat so juicy you have to sop it up with a piece of white bread? And don’t get me started on nights when we ate great-grandma Vera Mae’s recipe for hearty chicken and dumplings or great-grandma Anita’s homemade buttermilk biscuits with plum jam. I grew up loving stories about the culinary skills of my great-grandmothers; those stories made me feel closer to my heritage.
Food became the bloodline to my roots, and the more I learned the in the kitchen, the more I wanted to discover my family’s culinary history; the more I learned about my family’s culinary history, the more I wanted to explore and share the vast contributions of the African diaspora in America. So I intentionally sought out Black food bloggers, food writers, and chefs just to explore this corner of the culinary landscape. What I discovered is that we are often hard to find a sea of media where our voices aren’t projected as often.
I knew we needed some kind of platform that highlighted our contributions, so my partner Aaron Hutcherson, of the blog A Hungry Hutch, and I reached out to Black bloggers to initiate the first Black History Month Virtual Potluck: a collection of recipes from Black food bloggers that reflect historical, traditional, modern, and diet-based (ie. vegetarian, gluten-free) recipes similar to what you would find at a family picnic.
Rather than to simply bring awareness to our individual recipes, we see this project as an opportunity to unite and openly support one another, to be intentional about our own cultural analysis and amplification. Our movement is still in infancy, but in the future, we hope to include other Black professionals within the culinary arts to enrich our message and make it feel like a good old family reunion.
This year, we have a blend of repeat and new participants and a plethora of amazing new recipes for readers to try. Our collection of dishes take you on a cultural journey with classic favorites and interesting new renditions. Take, for instance, the Candied Bourbon Peach cobbler, influenced by the classic Southern dessert; brown sugar and bourbon sauce bubble over the top and adds just enough kick. Or even the vegetarian-friendly Pilau and Kachumbari, a Tanzanian dish with a host of toasted spices and a pico-like tomato blend. And the list goes on with cherished family recipes like Smothered Turkey Wings, Fried Sweet Potato Hand Pies, Orange Bundt Cake, and Creole Seafood Courtbouillon. You can check out all the amazing recipes from the collaboration below, and be sure to try one out in honor of Black History Month and tag it #BHMPotluck.
Beautiful Eats & Things | Turkey Sausage Stuffed Collard Green Wraps
A completely new take on collard greens, these wraps combine sauteed bell peppers, rice, fresh herbs, and red chile peppers (among other yummy things).
Better With Biscuits | Fresh Corn Pudding
Fresh corn, cream, butter, eggs, and a few other ingredients transform ordinary crisp, sweet kernels into a delectable savory southern pudding that’s perfect for family gatherings and potlucks.
Beyond The Bayou Food Blog | Creole Seafood Court-bouillon
This is a classic Creole court-bouillon of red snapper simmered in a tomato sauce with shrimp and blue crab.
Brandi’s Diary | Better than Jiffy Cornbread from Scratch
Jiffy Cornbread was a staple in many households. Learn how to create this familiar, sweet cornbread from scratch using ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.
Butter Be Ready | Southern-Style Mac and Cheese
I'm not sure it gets better than this. This dish is rich in flavor, extra cheesy, and true to its classic southern roots with those crispy brown edges.
Chef Kenneth | Fried Sweet Potato Hand Pie
Chef Kenneth Temple's grandmother finally shared his great-grandfather’s recipe for fried sweet potato hand pies. This recipe had never been written down, but his grandmother’s approval on the sweet yet creamy filling and the perfectly golden, fried crust means this recipe is a winner.
Chocolate For Basil | Pilau and Kachumbari (Spiced Rice with Pico)
This East African spiced rice dish is flavored with pilau masala (toasted and ground cinnamon, cumin seeds, cardamom, black pepper, and cloves) and paired with a zesty fresh salsa to brighten it up.
D.M.R. Fine Foods | Cinnamon Raisin Bread Pudding with Maple Glaze
This warm pudding combines cinnamon and raisin-studded bread with a richly flavored custard, baked off and finished with a drizzle of maple glaze; aka, the ultimate sweet indulgence.
Cooks with Soul | Braised Short Rib Meatloaf
This tender and succulent meatloaf is made with braised short ribs and topped with a garlic and shallot–infused tomato puree.
Dash of Jazz | Nigerian Jollof Rice
Jollof rice is an extremely popular West African dish with a bit of controversy surrounding which country creates the best version. (This one will put all disputes to rest!)
Food is Love Made Edible | Buttermilk Biscuits with Fried Chicken and Tabasco Honey
"While I did not create the chicken biscuit (Chick-fil-a claims that), I have definitely stepped it up a notch with my spicy and sweet Tabasco Honey."
Eat.Drink.Frolic. | Olive Oil Braised Collard Greens
Collard greens are a staple in the Black community. Olive oil and a few simple spices elevate this goes-with-everything side.
HomeMadeZagat | Shrimp with Spicy Curry Cream Sauce
This is a seafood lovers' delight of succulent shrimp, perfect for weeknights.
Domestic Dee | Fried Peach Pies
These mini pies are crispy, flaky, and delicious. They are filled with a cinnamon-peach filling then fried to perfection.
High Heels and Good Meals | Crawfish Etouffee
Etouffee is a quintessential Cajun sauce, and crawfish is quintessential Louisiana nosh.
Marisa Moore Nutrition | Bourbon and Peach Glazed Salmon
Sweeten up date night with peach, and turn it up with bourbon. This salmon will nourish your heart and soul.
Houston Food Fetish | Sweet Almond Tea Cakes
A sweet, moist and light tea cake, this treat is crisp on the outside and fluffy and chewy on the inside. The almond flavor gives it a subtle boost.
In the Kitchen with Kmarie | Pineapple Lemonade
This refreshing lemonade is great for any hot summer day, or anytime, really.
Meiko and The Dish | Candied Bourbon Peach Cobbler
Warm spiced peaches with a flaky, golden crust already make this old-fashioned classic an instant crowd pleaser. Add candied brown sugar and bourbon syrup and your tastebuds will be in heaven. Call it family potluck perfection.
My Life Runs On Food | Lentil Soup and Roast Okra
Red lentil soup is made special with homemade broth and served with roast okra on the side. Finish the soup with a juicy squeeze from a lemon wedge and maybe a dollop of Greek yogurt.
Orchids + Sweet Tea | Carrot and Zucchini Noodles Stir Fry with Shrimp
This is a light and healthy dish that you are sure to fall in love with because of its bright colors and flavor from the slight hint of heat (mostly from the ginger and sprinkles of red pepper flakes).
Raised on Ramen | Orange-Glazed Brussels Sprouts
A sweet, tangy, vibrant combination sure to wake up the Brussels sprouts lover in all of us.
Savory Spicerack | Creamy Seafood Stew
A unique twist on classic fish stew. A creamy coconut soup with shrimp, red snapper, leeks, garlic, and peppers. Great with rice!
Simply LaKita | Blackberry Cobbler
This classic Southern dessert—buttery crust over warm bubbly tart fresh blackberries—belong under ice cream.
The Seasoning Bottle | Honey Turmeric Skillet Chicken
This skillet chicken is a simple recipe that incorporates the inflammation-fighting capabilities of turmeric in everyday cooking. The addition of honey provides a sweetness that mellows out the pungent spice, and it also helps create a beautiful caramelized crust on the chicken’s skin.
Food Fidelity | Mofongo Relleno (Mashed Plantains with Garlic Shrimp)
Mofongo, a Puerto Rican staple of fried and mashed plantains, gets stuffed with shrimp, garlic, herbs, and spices, then topped with a flavorful roasted red pepper sauce ("mojo picon"), in this iteration.
The Hungry Hutch | Orange Bundt Cake with Vanilla Glaze
This bundt is flavored with orange juice and zest, then coated in a vanilla glaze for picture-perfection.
The Kitchenista Diaries | Smothered Turkey Wings
In this classic soul food dish, meaty turkey wings are slow cooked in the oven and smothered in a rich, garlicky gravy with hints of lemon and paprika.
Excited to give these recipes a spin? Don't forget to tag #BHMPotluck!