“Black food and music have transformed American culture,” says Intouch inclusion and diversity manager Adrienne Bradford. “For many, the joyful combination of the two provides the foundation for the way we celebrate and acknowledge the richness of Black culture and history.”
So in that spirit of celebration, and to honor Black History Month and Black American culture, our Inclusion and Diversity (I+D) team gave Intouchers the gift of a cooking class conducted by self-described food enthusiast and world traveler Sadijah Amiyah, AKA, Chef Sadie.
The mouth-watering savory menu featured sweet-and-spicy BBQ chicken wings, southern-style macaroni and cheese (BAKED, not just tossed into a pot and stirred), and braised collard greens. We also learned how to create a delicious cocktail made with a Tennessee whiskey brand called Uncle Nearest, whose founder, Nearest Green, was the first African-American master distiller.
Probably the most surprising thing we learned in the class was that in New Orleans, where Chef Sadie is from, “mac and cheese” may look a little different from what many of us are accustomed to. The more common pasta component – elbow macaroni – is missing. “In New Orleans,” she said, “people eat their mac and cheese with spaghetti noodles.” None of us saw that coming. The idea, Sadie told us, is that spaghetti soaks up the cheese flavors better than elbow macaroni does.
Side note: Did you know that Thomas Jefferson’s enslaved chef James Hemmings delighted Jefferson’s guests with his own version of the mac-and-cheese recipe Jefferson brought back from Europe?
Black Intouchers Connect, one of Intouch’s Belonging Communities, also helped to curate a well-rounded playlist for the 90-minute event that featured a range of artists, including Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Prince, Common, Mary J. Blige, Gil Scott-Heron, Sly & the Family Stone, Sam Cooke, Nas, and many more. And speaking of more, we’re not done with this month, and the I+D team has more coming up for Intouch employees to learn and celebrate. Stay tuned!
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