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Journey Through Food: Celebrating Black History Month


In what has become a highly anticipated yearly dining adventure, Campus Executive Chef Tracey MacRae and UW Dining staff are offering a month’s worth of African-originated cuisine during February’s Black History Month, 2018.

Chef Tracey, who has been an integral part of UW Dining since 2002, brings a philosophical perspective to this multi-daily process we call ‘eating.’ “Food is much more than nourishment,” she says. “It is the vehicle through which we communicate sentiments, express our creativity and create memories. And it is in the sharing of food with others that keeps us connected.”

She expands on the concept of connection: “Food connects us to the past, to our memories, to our families, maybe to a grand-grandmother never met, to our friends, sometimes and often to unknown people. It can connect us to far-away lands never visited. It connects us to our stomachs, to our bodies, to our living energy, and to our senses. It enables us to experience and share beauties of this life.”

With those words in mind, here is what’s happening as “Journey Through Food” enters Week Two of Black History Month at The 8 and Local Point:

Week Two: North Africa
Inland desert meeting Mediterranean coast to feature spicy and aromatic flavors of preserved lemons, olives and cinnamon. Savor Egypt’s comfort food—koshari—pasta topped with a spicy tomato sauce and fried onions. Also featured are chicken tagine with couscous, cream Moroccan rice pudding and, of course, baklava.

Week Three: East Africa
Blends of garlic, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, clove and turmeric are brought together in varying combinations: Somali beef suqaar (spicy, sautéed beef), nyama choma (Kenyan short ribs), doro wat with injera (spicy Ethiopian chicken stew), topped off with spicy chai and banana-toasted coconut cake.

Week Four: African-American Soul Food
Mouth-watering classics: Memphis-style pulled pork, stewed black-eyed peas with rice, smothered port chops, slow-cooked greens and hush puppies, red beans with corn bread and traditional Southern-style sweet tea.  

Foods this distinctive and appealing don’t just appear at the restaurants’ serving areas. Chef Tracey is quick to praise her co-workers. “I have been blessed to have such an amazing group of chefs, managers, cooks, and students that have taken the little tome of recipes I produced for Black History Month and made it a tradition on campus over the past 3 years,” she says. “The level of pride, caring and love that has gone into the celebration of Black culture moves me beyond words. I am full of gratitude and so proud to represent such a committed and dedicated staff.”

Plus, the dishes are delicious.