Once again, Campus Executive Chef Tracey MacRae and UW Dining staff are bringing us a month’s worth of African-originated cuisine during February’s Black History Month at Local Point and Center Table.
Chef Tracey, who has been a part of UW Dining since 2002, is happy to talk about the relationship of food to many aspects of life. “We don't just use food to satisfy our own needs but to show an emotional connection with others,” she says. “From mother's first milk to our grandmother's homemade stew, food is a way we connect and show love for others. Because we apply so much emotional importance to food in the moment, it only makes sense that it would also become an important part of our memories.”
She adds that food has the ability to activate multiple senses—smell, sight and, of course, taste—to help us remember some of life's most meaningful and magical moments, whether large or small. “In executing these menus year after year,” she concludes, “we are creating emotional connections and memories with the power of food.”
With those words in mind, look what’s coming to Center Table and Local Point during Black History Month:
Week One: Caribbean
Experience Bammy shack-style jerk chicken with coconut rice and beans, ropa vieja (stewed beef, Cuban style), sweet potato pudding and tostones (traditional twice-fried plantains). Wash it down with bubbly (non alcoholic) ginger beer.
Week Two: North African
Inland desert meets the Mediterranean coast where spicy and aromatic flavors of preserved lemons, olive and cinnamon hold sway. Savor koshari, Egypt’s comfort food (pasta topped with a spicy tomato sauce and fried onions), chicken tagine with couscous, creamy Moroccan rice pudding and, of course, baklava.
Koshari is Egypt’s comfort food, pasta with spicy tomato sauce and fried onions
Week Three: East African
Enticing blends of garlic, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, clove and turmeric come together in different combinations. The result? 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 pork chops, slow-cooked greens and hush puppies, red beans with corn bread and traditional Southern-style sweet tea.
I am grateful to and moved by the dedicated staff who produce these recipes with genuine thought, care and, of course, . . .love. Special thanks to Local Point and Center Table: Dale Askew, Matthew Lasof, John Mehl, Benton Litteneker, Lance LaFave, Joyce Bumgarner and all the talented cooks and support staff for keeping the tradition thriving. And, much appreciation to Yaddi Bojia for the wonderful and creative poster design.