Hiding mangos in tinfoil, stuffing guinep in bras, freezing jollof or doro wot for the long journey ahead, and more… This just a small glimpse into the hilarious missions Black Foodies have gone to to bring a taste of home back to America. In partnership with Oja Express,( an online service making African/ Caribbean ingredients accessible by delivering groceries from your local African/Caribbean grocery stores to your door) we polled the Black Foodie audience to crowdsource the best food missions.
See the links below to catch the Black Foodie responses:
As a daughter of the diaspora the responses hit close to home. I vividly remember preparing for my first trip to Ethiopia and having my parents designate a suitcase solely for ingredients, spices and coffee. My suitcases went over the weight limit but with a lil finessing and prayer I made it through! I actually still have a suitcase filled with Ethiopian spices from my last trip!
For all the times in between trips to the motherland, the local mom & pop African/Caribbean grocery stores have held us down. The Black Foodie responses of how far folks were willing to go to bring back food from their homelands, confirmed that access to the ingredients and foods we grew up on is so essential. Food connects us to home like nothing else, the joy, memories all come rushing back when we have a taste of the dishes we grew up on. And those feelings just can’t be replicated with out the right fruits, vegetables, & spices!
Celebrity Haitian American Chef Lemaire, explains…
“As a Haitian chef, I find it very important to have access to ingredients from my country. With these ingredients, I create authentic dishes and am able to introduce it to a new audience. But I also give other Haitian Americans flashbacks to their home with my take on traditional dishes.”
Whether you’re a big time chef like Chef Lemaire, or just a foodie who craves a taste of the foods you grew up on, we can all agree that food plays an essential role in preserving our connection to home. The local mom & pop African/ Caribbean grocery stores have been the lifeline for all of us who couldn’t take a trip back home and helped us recreate a piece of home in our kitchens everyday.
This is why we’ve teamed up with OJA Express to recognize & celebrate the mom & pop African/ Caribbean grocery stores. We have 10 slots for grocery stores across the USA. Stay tuned to see how you can show some love to your local shop and nominate them for an award.