A Quarterly Newsletter                                                                                    Summer 2015
Happy Summer, Friends!  

Oldways' African Heritage & Health Program is kicking this summer off with a new program launch in Philadelphia, an amazing new team of Ambassadors, highlights from the first ever Soul Summit, a ground-breaking health study on African diets, and new African heritage restaurants and recipes we're excited to share with you!  


A Taste of African Heritage 
Plants Roots in Philadelphia!
ATOAH Instructor Dejenaba Gordon cooks up the Oldways version of tangy collard greensPhoto credit and thanks to Philly.com and the Philadelphia Inquirer

On June 3, 2015, Oldways' nutritional cooking program A Taste of African Heritage hit a new milestone with a Community Kick Off Event at the Free Library of Philadelphia's Culinary Literacy Center.  Partnering with The Free Library and other Philadelphia-based organizations, including the Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative, Community Center at Visitation, and Feast of Justice, Oldways is helping to create localized sites for A Taste of African Heritage classes to be available throughout the city.  

Attendees to the event included local ATOAH instructors, students, partner sites, and other community organizations working in nutrition education, food justice, urban farming and community gardening, anti-hunger initiatives, and health equity.  The event commemorated the next step in A Taste of African Heritage's evolution from a simple idea to a grassroots national program.  Read more about the event at the Oldways Table Blog


If you would like to join us as an A Taste of African Heritage 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


   Meet Our New Team of
African Heritage & Health Ambassadors! 


   Oldways Ambassador Lorri Wilson teaching a lesson on      leafy greens in Bridgeport, CT

Oldways' new African Heritage & Health Ambassador Network is a collective of talented educators dedicated to improving public health and nutrition through cultural history.  


The Ambassador Network supports A Taste of African Heritage teachers who wish to take their community outreach work to the next level. Oldways will provide Ambassadors with additional outreach support and exclusive materials to be able to offer African Heritage Diet cooking classes, workshops, and other community health outreach events in their areas. 


Learn more and meet our awesome team of Ambassadors here!  



Oldways Attends Soul Summit 2015 in Austin, TX 

On Juneteenth weekend 2015, a group of historians, chefs, authors, journalists, activists, and scholars came together to share a 3-day conversation about race, identity, power and food injustice on the campus of Austin's historically black college, Huston-Tillotson University.  The esteemed group of speakers included culinary historian and Oldways African Heritage Diet Advisor Jessica B. Harris, author Adrian Miller, writer and filmmaker Lolis Eric Elie, food justice advocate Tambra Raye Stevenson, author and historian Michael Twitty, and ABC's The Chew co-host Carla Hall, amongst many others.

Soul Summit Lunch from the Sea Islands


Developed and hosted by food and nutrition journalist Toni Tipton-Martin and her non-profit The Sande Youth Project, this historic Soul Summit examined and celebrated African American (and African diasporic) contributions to America's food history and cuisines, many of which have long gone unsung.  

In talking about African American foodways and traditions, a major theme of the summit was the plant-based origin of traditional West African cuisine.  Vegetables, herbs, spices, leafy greens, peas, tubers, and chili peppers have long been the major ingredients of African heritage cuisine.  "What nutritionists are telling us to eat today are the underpinnings of Soul Food," declared Adrian Miller, author of Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine One Plate at a Time, who visited over 150 soul food restaurants nationwide for his research. 


This first ever Soul Summit left an indelible mark on all who attended, and will no doubt be an important, continued conversation for many years to come.  Learn more about Soul Summit here.  



A Taste of African Heritage:  

African American Culinary Legends Series

African Americans have shaped America's food landscape for centuries.  We will continue to honor pioneers who were instrumental to America's culinary history.


George Washington Carver, "The Plant Doctor", 1916-1943


Born into slavery near Diamond Grave, Missouri, and orphaned as an infant, George Washington Carver was raised by Mr Moses & Mrs Susan  Carver who owned the plantation George's mother was held on.  His frailty as a child allowed him to be excused from physical chores required of others, which left his days filled with time to explore and nurture his appreciation of nature.  Soon he became known as the "Plant Doctor."  He left the Carver home to pursue his education.  In 2 years he earned a certificate of merit. 


In 1886 he settled on a farm in Ness County, Kansas and while there he performed agricultural experiments that would later earn him his notoriety. He eventually saved up enough money to go back to school and enrolled in the art program at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa.  His art teacher immediately noticed George's talent in drawing plants and suggested Mr. Carver -- the only African American out of 100 students -- major in horticulture instead. He transferred to Iowa State Agricultural College and graduated in 1894.  In 1896, having received a Masters Degree, he was offered a position at Tuskegee Institute by Booker T. Washington himself.  It was then that George Washington Carver decided he would dedicate his life to helping formerly enslaved African Americans become self-sufficient through agriculture.


In order to meet the needs of the rural Black community, he developed the Jessup Wagon, a mobile cart to educate farmers.  This was one of, if not the, first educational "food trucks"! He encouraged farmers to rotate crops to conserve nutrients in the soil and give up growing soil-depleting crops such as cotton.  Instead, he encouraged them to grow what he is most known for today, peanuts. He created over 300 uses for the peanut and over 100 uses for the sweet potato!  These creations included everything from beverages, to medicines, to paint.  He later collaborated with Henry Ford to create alternative fuel from soybeans & came up with a means to extract rubber from the goldenrod plant.  Carver was also a musician; he toured as a pianist to raise money for Tuskegee.  Later, he was invited to work with Thomas Edison to continue inventing, but turned down the opportunity to stay at Tuskegee and help the Black community.  Mr. Carver died January 5, 1943 and is buried next to his dear friend Booker T. Washington.  


Source: The Biography Channel


AHH Health Study: Switching to an African Heritage Diet Suggests Significant Results

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. 


Health Experts seem to be clear that diet and environmental changes are required to decrease our chances of cancer.  These same experts are not in agreement of what foods or diet should be embraced, particularly for African Americans who in the U.S. suffer from the highest rates of diet-related illnesses (diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, etc).  However, a new research study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh highly suggests that a diet built on traditional African foods is best for African Americans. 


In this study, 20 African Americans and 20 South Africans switched diets for two weeks.  During this time, the Africans consumed traditional American food (meat and cheese high in fat content) and the African Americans ate a traditional African diet (high in fiber and low in fat, with plenty of vegetables, beans, and cornmeal, and very little meat).  At the end of the two weeks the researchers performed colonscopies on both groups.  The group that took on a traditional African diet showed increased protection against colon cancer (through a fatty acid called butyrate).  In contrast, the group consuming a standard American diet developed changes in their gut that can lead to the growth of cancerous cells.


The purpose of the study was to show how diet can influence cancer.  The scientists were surprised by the speed of such dietary impacts, seeing changes after just two weeks on the new diets. Dr. Stephen J. O'Keefe, the lead researcher on the study, said this is critical knowledge for Americans, particularly African Americans. Although many health experts believe a balanced diet includes fruits, vegetables, bread, dairy and meat consisting of typical American foods, this study takes it a step further, suggesting that traditional African foods are actually even healthier in comparison. 


This month, an article published by ThinkProgress.org, "What Happened When Scientists Put African Americans On An African Diet and Africans On An American Diet", reported about the Pittsburgh study and highlighted Oldways' African Heritage Diet Pyramid as a model that African Americans can access in order to incorporate more of these foods into their diet.


Oldways' A Taste of African Heritage cooking program is one way to help people change their perceptions about diet and health, encouraging participants to strive to live not just a longer life but a higher quality of life.  "It's much safer and effective to prevent cancer than to treat it.  The earlier you start thinking about what you eat, the better," O'Keefe said.  Eating more traditional African non-starchy vegetables, tubers, ancient grains, fruits, herbs, beans and spices is a great place to start! 


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! 

San Francisco, CA 
Amawele's is the Zulu (Ubantu) word meaning "the twins." Run by twin sisters native to Durban, South Africa, Amawele's features authentic South African fusion cuisine, pulling from native African recipes with additions of colonial and immigrant cultural influences from Malaysian, Portugese, British, Dutch and Indian flavors. The menu at Amawele's is simple, highlighting traditional South African dishes while catering to the health trends in offering vegan, vegetarian, paleo and gluten-free options. Try one of two sandwiches: Dutch frikadella slap chip roll or the Durban curry roti wrap; or, enjoy Bunny chow, a traditional South African curry bread bowl.  



Braai means "barbecue" or "grill", which is a food custom practiced widely in South Africa.  At this New York Bar and Grill you will find fresh, simple and flavorful dishes infused with South African, Portuguese, German, French, Dutch and Indian influences.  Start with an arugula salad tossed in Rooibos herb dressing; then enjoy small starters known as "mini sosaties" of traditional skewered meats marinated in Cape-Malay spices; and, for your main course enjoy a selection of South African spiced meats with sides of truffle-coconut polenta dressed in various glazes and sauces such as mint and blackberry peri peri (South African Bird's Eye Chili). 








Eastham, MA 

Karoo was founded by Chef Sanette Groenewald's, an Afrikaan (descendants of Dutch and British settlers of South Africa), who came to the US over 10 years ago.  Karoo is a Khoisan (native South African) word meaning "land of thirst."  While dining at Karoo you can choose from a variety of starters, salads, sandwiches, entrees, desserts, and a kids menu. Start your meal with snail rangoons, peri peri wings or vegetable pakoras then move on to a meal of Pap (African grits) and Chakalaka (spicy African vegetable relish), or Bobotie--a South African national dish of curried meatloaf baked and served with rice and chutney.

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.


Butter Bean Hummus   

This simple whipped hummus combines butter bean roots in the South with North Africa's hummus heritage for a globally inspired spread. 

Sambals are spicy, chili-based condiments used in South African cuisine.  This sambal pairs the coolness of cucumbers with jalapeņo heat, for a perfectly balanced accent to any dish.

Summer Radish Sandwich 
This zesty summer sandwich can be made using store-bought hummus and pickles, or it can be all your own by using the Butter Bean Hummus and Cucumber Sambal above!  

 Frozen Coconut Milk Bars 
Frozen coconut milk makes incredible ice cream, and it's the perfect base for these creamy tropical treats!