A Quarterly Newsletter                                                                                    Spring 2015
Spring Is Here!   

Spring has finally arrived and, for most of us, not a moment too soon.  Over the coming weeks, seedlings will sprout, gardens will bloom and farmers markets will open their booths.  Springtime is the season when apricots, artichokes, and arugula all taste their best -- and that's just the A's!  
We hope you'll enjoy the many fruits of spring this year, 
using heritage as your guide! 


A Taste of African Heritage: 
New Year, New Projects! 

A Taste of African Heritage (ATOAH) classes have taken place in over 100 communities nationwide!  Lead by a growing network of talented volunteer teachers, this six-week nutritional cooking program empowers participants to take control of their health by embracing traditional foods and cuisines with African roots.

Chef Jin brings ATOAH to Tomorrow's Leaders NYC! 

Classes have seen some impressive outcomes over the last year, including:  

  • 63% of graduates have lost weight, with an average loss of 4lbs over the six weeks! 
  • Over a third of graduates cook more often using more whole grains, leafy greens, beans, vegetables and fruits in their weekly menus!  
  • Nearly half of graduates enjoy a vegetarian meal at least 3x per week!  
  • 99% of graduates believe that history and heritage are motivators
    for eating and living better!

We want to keep these successes soaring and, to do this, we have several new ATOAH projects planned to enhance the program in ways that will better support teachers and students everywhere.

These projects include:


Creating permanent "homes" for ATOAH.  Oldways is partnering with 10 community-serving organizations to establish permanent ATOAH sites throughout one city: Philadelphia, PA. These sites will offer ongoing, consistent ATOAH classes to increase visibility and accessibility for prospective students and teachers.  Once the Philadelphia pilot is established, we will partner with other community-based sites in cities and towns nationwide.  Lead partners include The Free Library of Philadelphia, Feast of Justice, Community Center at Visitation and the Urban Nutrition Initiative.


Developing New ATOAH Workshops.  Oldways is developing a series of workshops that will follow the 6-week program.  These workshops will support graduates and their families for long-term success.  The workshops will be tested and evaluated at 10 multifamily residential sites across the country in partnership with The NHP Foundation. 


Launching an Ambassador Network.  This spring, Oldways will be launching a new Ambassador Program & Network comprised of dedicated, experienced ATOAH teachers to support their community work in and outside of their ATOAH classrooms.  Oldways' major goal in creating the Ambassador Program is to place more teachers in communities with increased organizational support and non-profit outreach experience, as well as to officially recognize the work of these committed volunteers. 

In addition to these new program components, Oldways will continue to support general ATOAH classes happening all over the country, offering new tools to help teachers with local fundraising efforts, cross-class collaborations, and a new online training component.   


If you would like to join us as a teacher or student this year, please email Sade Anderson at sade@oldwayspt.org for more information.  Or sign up to be a teacher on our Teacher's Sign Up Form

Oldways thanks The Walmart Foundation for making 

A Taste of African Heritage nationally possible


   African Heritage & Health Week 2015:

A Sensational Celebration!


African Heritage & Health Week (February 1st - 7th) was celebrated in so many special ways this year.  

Community members from all over brought information about the African Heritage Diet to their churches, workplaces, and neighborhoods by hosting dining events, giving speaking presentations, and handing out free literature.  

Groups dined together in potlucks and at local African heritage restaurants, discovering traditional flavors and cuisines from across Africa, from east to west.  

And instructors of Oldways' A Taste of African Heritage (ATOAH) cooking program hosted events in major cities like D.C., St. Louis, Houston, and Richmond, VA.

You can read the full story here, and you can celebrate African Heritage & Health all year by spreading the word about the African Heritage Diet and inviting others to enjoy African heritage meals with you at home or out at a local restaurant!  Email Program Assistant Sade Anderson at sade@oldwayspt.org for free materials and information.  



A Taste of African Heritage:  

African American Culinary Legends Series

African Americans have shaped America's food landscape for centuries.  Over the next three newsletters, we would like to honor three pioneers who were instrumental to 

America's culinary history.


Edna Lewis, "The Grand Dame" 

Edna Lewis was born in 1916 in Freetown, Virginia, as one of eight children.  Her family lived on her grandfather's farm, and central to their lives was food in all its phases: growing, foraging, harvesting and cooking.  They had very little in the way of modern cooking conveniences -- all foods were cooked over a wood fire and, lacking measuring spoons, ingredients like baking powder were measured out on coins!  Food preparation required a great deal of creativity, resourcefulness and skill.

Edna left Freetown at sixteen and, after a series of jobs as a seamstress, her culinary roots found her again and truly made her a legend in New York City.  There, she helped open the famous 
Cafe Nicholson, where Edna became a local icon and cooked for many celebrities such as Marlon Brando, Marlene Dietrich, Tennessee Williams, Greta Garbo, Howard Hughes, Salvador Dali, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Truman Capote. In the late '40s, female chefs were few and far between, and black female chefs were even more rare; yet, Edna Lewis became well known and beloved for her simple, but delicious, Southern cooking.

Edna authored 3 cookbooks: The Edna Lewis Cookbook (1972), The Taste of Country Cooking (1976) and In Pursuit of Flavor (1988), and co-authored The Gift of Southern Cooking (2003) with Scott Peacock.  The Taste of Country features menus for all four seasons, sharing Edna's love of nature, her pleasure in living with the seasons, and her devotion to creating community -- joys closely tied to the old ways.  Many of Edna's recipes showcase foods with African roots, like her Spicy Collard Greens and Roasted Beets in Gingered Syrup.  

Ms. Lewis passed peacefully in her sleep in 2006 in her home in Decatur, Georgia at the age of 89. In addition to the many honors Ms. Lewis received, during the fall of 2014 the U.S. honored her, along with four other culinarians, with a series of Forever stamps created in their memory. 

To learn more about Edna Lewis, visit the Edna Lewis Foundation


A Taste of African Heritage Student Spotlight: Faith Trotter  

Faith Trotter said it was always challenging keeping healthy foods available for herself and her 4-year old daughter Cami.  Not anymore.  Wanting to learn more about healthy eating, Faith became a student in her local A Taste of African Heritage nutritional cooking class, led by one of our Houston instructors, Stacy Morrow.  Since then, healthy eating has never been easier for her and her family. 


We got the chance to talk with Faith about what she and Cami are eating these days and how their habits have changed since taking part in the classes.  Read the full Student Spotlight here! 

AHH Health Study: Swapping Veggies for Meat - A Healthier Choice!

In each newsletter issue, we share one scientific study that reinforces the importance of the African Heritage Diet and eating more like the old ways. 


Numerous studies have linked the consumption of red meat to an increased risk of chronic disease.  But what about other types of meat?  Does eating meat impact more than just our health -- for example, our environment?  This winter, Walter Willett, head of the Nutrition Department at the Harvard School of Public Health, along with two other nutrition experts, led a groundbreaking webinar that answered both of these meaty questions and more. 

In this fascinating webinar, the panel shares scientific findings that show that consuming red meat significantly increases one's risks of stroke, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and colon cancer, while substituting plant-based proteins and other meats, like fish and poultry, may reduce these risks.  The three experts also discuss the environmental impacts of red meat consumption, such as contributing to the depletion of natural resources and environmental pollution.  Each speaker suggests that changing our diet to a more plant-based diet will help to decrease all of these risks, both for public health and the environment!  

Dr. Willett suggests that people consume as little red meat as possible, swapping meat servings for healthier protein choices like beans, nuts, and other plant-based proteins, followed by poultry and fish.  He notes that the traditional Mediterranean diet (the eating pattern first championed by Oldways), which is rich in olive oil, nuts, whole grains, beans, fish, fruits and vegetables, is one of the healthiest diets one can follow. 
We would add that the traditional African Heritage Diet, based primarily on plant-based, whole foods like leafy greens, whole grains, beans and healthy oils is a powerfully valuable eating pattern to pull from as well.  We have numerous plant-based recipes in the Oldways Recipe Pot.  Enjoy something new today! 


African Heritage Dine-Around-Town
Oldways knows that one of the easiest ways to dine out healthfully is to choose cultural restaurants that serve traditional world cuisines. Whether African, Caribbean, Indian, or Japanese, cultural restaurants tend to offer the widest variety of vegetables, beans, whole grains, meats, and spices prepared in dramatically new ways.

Every newsletter edition, we put the spotlight on three African heritage restaurants from our Dine-Around-Town list, describing the traditional features of their menus and what you can for your own tables at home. This season we are featuring Afro-Latin American cuisine! 

New Haven, CT, Afro-Cuban: 
Soul de Cuba Cafe captures the spirit of Afro-Cuba with traditional food, art and music. Guests can enjoy Cuban black bean soup, sweet plantains, and tropical empanadas while listening to the pulsating African heritage sounds of Cuban Salsa, Boleros, traditional Yoruba Rhythms (the Yoruba are a group of people, language, and spiritual traditions from Nigeria), or African American Jazz.  Soul de Cuba Cafe's marinades -- especially their African heritage Mojo sauce -- became so popular that they started their own specialty line of Cuban products. You can order them here, for a taste of Afro-Cuban cooking. 



Chicago, IL, Afro-Puerto Rican: 

Less than a year old, Maracas is bringing authentic Puerto Rican cuisine, drinks and culture to Chicago's historical Bronzeville community.  Maracas offers simple, inexpensive, creative dishes like plantain sandwiches (where plantains star as the bread!).  African heritage ingredients cover the menu, from dishes like Mofongo -- an inherently African dish made from mashed plantains, similar to fufu -- to items like pigeon peas, kidney beans, hearts of palm, and yellow rice.  Maracas was founded in 2014 by two innovative sisters, Rebecca Dailey-Wooley and Raquel Dailey-Parham, creators of BoriquaChicks.com, a lifestyle blog that highlights Afro-Latino identity and culture.   

Cafe Brasil
Los Angeles, CA, Afro-Brazilian:
Home to the largest population of African descendants in the Western Hemisphere, Brazil features variations of traditional African cuisine, as we see in Oldways' A Taste of African Heritage program.  Africa's culinary influence can be seen throughout Cafe Brasil's creative menu. Collard greens can be ordered as a side, or found in their pasta and scrambled egg dishes. Brazilian black bean soup, Feijoada, is a signature dish and pairs perfectly with a side of fried yuca root or a Brazilian empanada. 


Oldways African Heritage Recipes
The most powerful call to action to improve the health of African American families and communities is: to get cooking! To help families put the African Heritage Diet Pyramid on their plate, here are four delicious, healthy recipes that take their cues from African roots. 

Click on the title below to go to the Oldways recipe.


Maple Walnut Teff Porridge   

This hearty recipe features Ethiopia's calcium-packed staple whole grain: teff.  Combining teff, walnuts, cardamom, coconut milk, and a dash of maple syrup, this healthy porridge will instantly become your new favorite breakfast! 

Kohlrabi is a staple item in early Spring gardens.  Round, knobby and either purple or pale green, this bulb vegetable is an extremely versatile ingredient.  Its flavor and texture are like a cross between a cabbage and a broccoli stem.  Grated kohlrabi and butternut squash pair perfectly together for a delicious, slightly sweet and crispy fritter. 

Creamy Polenta 
Although native to Italy, polenta is widely featured in Afro-Latin American cuisine.  This simple recipe makes the perfect base for flavorful leafy green sautÚs, vegetables, peas, seafood or sauces. 

Maple-Glazed Turnips 
Springtime is when most maple syrup is produced, thanks to milder climates and easier sap flow.  It's also the perfect season for serving turnips.  This recipe pairs the sweetness of maple syrup with the peppery, bitter bite of turnip root, for root veggie perfection!