Portrait of Jessica B. Harris with a stack of books
Portrait of Jessica B. Harris with a stack of books

Jessica B. Harris

Jessica B. Harris, Ph.D. is a culinary historian and the author of 13 books related to the African diaspora, including Vintage Postcards from the African World (University Press of Mississippi), My Soul Looks Back (Scribner) and High on the Hog (Bloomsbury USA). She is the 2020 recipient of the James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award.
Merguez is a Maghrebi (Northwest African) lamb sausage spiced with cumin, coriander and fennel seeds as well as harissa. In this installment of Diaspora Dining, Jessica B. Harris' series on foods of the African diaspora, the author and historian recalls visits to Morocco, and offers her recipe for tzatziki (with plenty of mint), the Greek yogurt sauce she loves with merguez. While you're cooking the sausages, tossing in some peppers, onions and scallions makes for a delicious addition.
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In this installment of Diaspora Dining, Jessica B. Harris' series on foods of the African diaspora, the author and historian offers a summer salad that is simply delicious, but not for the fainthearted. Minced fresh garlic gives this salad, inspired from a visit to Guadeloupe, its special flavor.
In this installment of Diaspora Dining, Jessica B. Harris' series on foods of the African diaspora, the author and historian offers her version of one of New Orleans' classic tipples. Rum, both dark and white varieties, is what gives this cocktail its hurricane-like kick.
In this installment of Diaspora Dining, Jessica B. Harris' series on foods of the African diaspora, fresh summer fruit stars in a salad that's perfect for serving at your Juneteenth barbecue. 
In this installment of our series on foods of the African Diaspora, Jessica B. Harris celebrates her love for salads and one of her tastes of home.
Jessica B. Harris loves green salads, especially those that she can throw together quickly from whatever she has on hand in her fridge. After crisping bacon, she uses the fat in the pan to make a flavorful hot vinaigrette that she pours over the greens, onion and creamy avocado. The result is a beautiful, semi-wilted, warm spinach salad.
In this installment of our series on foods of the African Diaspora, Jessica B. Harris offers her version of deviled eggs from Guadeloupe.
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Deviled Eggs with Crabmeat
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Jessica B. Harris looks to the Creole cooking traditions of the Caribbean Island of Guadeloupe for these deviled eggs, adding crab meat to the filling. Harris calls this recipe a winner and the only problem is keeping them from disappearing from the table too quickly.
In this installment of our series on foods of the African Diaspora, Jessica B. Harris offers her version of an historic creole nut cake from New Orleans.
In this installment of our series on foods of the African Diaspora, Jessica B. Harris offers her version of deviled eggs from Guadeloupe.
Deviled Eggs with Crabmeat
Rating: Unrated
New!
Jessica B. Harris looks to the Creole cooking traditions of the Caribbean Island of Guadeloupe for these deviled eggs, adding crab meat to the filling. Harris calls this recipe a winner and the only problem is keeping them from disappearing from the table too quickly.
In this installment of our series on foods of the African Diaspora, Jessica B. Harris offers her version of an historic creole nut cake from New Orleans.
New Orleans Nut Cake
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Molasses-flavored whipped cream connects the past and the present in this New Orleans cake.
In this installment of our series on foods of the African Diaspora, Jessica B. Harris offers her version of Morocco's favorite beverage.
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Ataya Maghrebi nana, as this tea is known in parts of Northwest Africa (Maghreb) and West Africa, is a cultural culinary totem. Made with green tea, dried lemon verbena and fresh spearmint, the aromatic mix is refreshing and transporting. In Morocco, the tea is poured from a pot that is held in the air so that the tea is aerated; the sound of the pouring tea is thought to add to the pleasure of drinking. Also, the pot is refilled with boiling water three times to give three different strengths of the beverage. This is a simplified version of the traditional recipe. Read more about this tea and its significance here.
Gingerbread Cake
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Full of warming spices like ginger and cinnamon, this gingerbread cake recipe is perfect for the holidays. Serve topped with whipped cream for an extra-festive treat. Read more about this cake and its surprising connection to Malcolm X here.
In this installment of our series on foods of the African diaspora, Jessica B. Harris shares a delicious recipe for gingerbread that's perfect for year's end.
In this installment of our series on foods of the African diaspora, Jessica B. Harris, Ph.D., shares four delicious recipes for the 6th night of Kwanzaa.
Garlic-Pecan Green Beans
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The addition of toasted pecans gives this French way with string beans a bit of crunch and sweetness as well as a touch of the American South. Try using slender haricots verts for a different twist. This recipe is perfect for a Kwanzaa celebration; read more in "Why the Karamu Feast Is My Favorite Part of Kwanzaa—and a Simple Menu to Celebrate".
Inspired by a traditional Moroccan salad, which consists of oranges and radishes, this version adds romaine lettuce and a classic vinaigrette. Fresh orange juice adds acidity and brightness to the vinaigrette. Pomegranate seeds bring color and crunch. This recipe is perfect for a Kwanzaa celebration; read more in "Why the Karamu Feast Is My Favorite Part of Kwanzaa—and a Simple Menu to Celebrate".
Herbed Chicken Thighs
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Whether it's fried, boiled, roasted, baked or sautéed, chicken is eaten throughout Africa and the diaspora. In this recipe, chicken thighs are marinated in lemon juice and olive oil before being coated in herbs and broiled. The herbs will take on a slightly blackened color, so don't fret about the appearance. This recipe is perfect for a Kwanzaa celebration; read more in "Why the Karamu Feast Is My Favorite Part of Kwanzaa—and a Simple Menu to Celebrate".
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Plantains are a common ingredient in West African cooking. From street snacks to stews, plantains can be enjoyed at every stage of their maturing process. Green plantains can be used for chips, while yellow ones serve as a starchy side. Here, we use super-ripe black ones where the starch has turned to sugar making them perfect for dessert. Serve these plantains warm for a dessert that all will love. This recipe is perfect for a Kwanzaa celebration; read more in "Why the Karamu Feast Is My Favorite Part of Kwanzaa—and a Simple Menu to Celebrate".
Moyo de Poulet Fumé
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Combining smoke and heat, this dish is easy and quick to assemble. If you like fiery food, cut long slits in the peppers to release their juices. Four jalapeños, which are more readily available, may be substituted for the habaneros (also called Scotch bonnets), but the habaneros contribute a flavor all their own. Smoked chicken is available in specialty meat shops. Serve hot over rice.
Rice & Okra
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In this dish, the okra is steamed, not boiled, and has none of the gummy properties for which it is known. You can use fresh or frozen okra. If you're using frozen okra, partially thaw it before slicing and add it directly to the boiled rice in the colander before steaming. There is no need to brown it.
Crabe Beninoise
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A popular way to prepare crab in Benin, crabe Beninoise is light and fluffy. If you are cooking fresh crab, you will need about 8 pounds of live crabs. Once you have removed the meat from the shells, save at least six shells to use as baking containers. Serve hot with rice and sliced tomatoes.
In this installment of our series on foods of the African diaspora, Jessica B. Harris, Ph.D., shares the dish that means Thanksgiving to her.
Rutabagas are the star in this creamy side dish. A pinch of sugar balances the vegetable's slightly bitter taste while bacon adds smoky flavor. Serve this easy side dish for Thanksgiving. Read more about this recipe.
In this installment of our series on foods of the African diaspora, Jessica B. Harris, Ph.D., notes that curry is the connection in this simple dish from Kenya.