Jessica B. Harris – A culinary history of the African Diaspora

Jessica B. Harris – A culinary history of the African Diaspora

Jessica B Harris

Jessica B. Harris is the author of eleven cookbooks documenting the foods and foodways of the African Diaspora. A culinary historian, she has lectured on African-American foodways at The Museum of Natural History in New York City, The California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, The Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, as well as at numerous institutions throughout the United States and abroad. Harris has been honored numerous times for spreading the word of African and Caribbean cuisines around the world.

Jessica B. Harris is a tenured professor of English at Queens College/ CUNY, Harris holds degrees from Bryn Mawr College, Queens College, The Université de Nancy, France, and a doctorate in Performance Studies from New York University where her dissertation focused on the French-speaking theatre of Senegal.

In Fall of 2007, Dr. Harris took a leave from her over 38 year tenure at Queens College to become the first scholar to hold the Ray Charles Chair in African-American material culture at Dillard University in New Orleans. The Chair has a specialty in the Food and Folklore of the African diaspora. At Dillard, she has established an Institute for the Study of Culinary Cultures in June of 2008. In fall of 2009, she returned to her position at Queens College, but she remains a consultant to the Ray Charles Program in African American Material Culture and its Institute for the Study of Culinary Cultures.

Hot Stuff: A Cookbook in Praise of the Piquant, Iron Pots and Wooden Spoons: Africa’s Gifts to New World Cooking, Sky Juice and Flying Fish Traditional Caribbean Cooking, Tasting Brazil: Regional Recipes and Reminiscences, The Welcome Table: African American Heritage Cooking, A Kwanzaa Keepsake, The Africa Cookbook: Tastes of a Continent Beyond Gumbo: Creole Fusion Food from the Atlantic Rim, On the Side, The Martha’s Vineyard Table , and Rum Drinks: 50 Caribbean Cocktails from Mojito to Rum Daisy. She is currently working on a narrative history of African Americans and food tentatively entitled High on the Hog to be published by Bloomsbury in 2011.
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Video: CUNY TV One to One- Interview with Jessica B. Harris- “High On The Hog”

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Video: Jessica B. Harris: 2011 National Book Festival
Library of Congress

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