I first learned of Kwanzaa after graduating from college, when a Nigerian-American friend invited me over to her family’s dinner to celebrate the occasion. Years later, I would celebrate Kwanzaa in my home and use it as an opportunity to explore cuisines from the African diaspora: Caribbean, South American and Southeast Asian while contemplating on one of the daily principles. This year, our Kwanzaa could be influenced by Senegal because of the beauty of Pierre Thiam’s cookbook, From Senegal: Modern Senegalese Recipes from the Source to the Bowl.
Nicole Taylor’s The Up South Cookbook is a direct challenge to rethink the definition of Southern cuisine. As a proud southern belle in New York City, Taylor’s expanding knowledge of cultural food influences her to adapt traditional recipes. She also shares classic recipes seldom recognized outside their region, such as the Southern Rice Pilaf (see recipe below). Her recipes are globally diverse, but they’re undoubtedly Southern. In the following interview, Taylor discusses New Yorkers’ perception about Southern food and global influences.