Tracing the African Diaspora in Food

A new series on Netflix ‘High on the Hog’ aims to chart the history of Africa’s influence on American food. Based on a book by the same name written by Jessica B. Harris, the show looks to the countries and cuisines of Africa, and the ways in which their traditions have shaped the culinary landscape of America. The initial episode takes place in Benin, a place that Harris first visited in the early seventies, during a research trip for her doctoral thesis on Francophone theatre in West Africa. The region figures prominently in her books. It was important for Harris to ground the narrative of her book in Africa, to root the culinary story of a diaspora. The series follows suit.


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