A Taste of African Heritage: The African Heritage Community Cooking Program

Oldways' new cooking class program, A Taste of African Heritage, brings the African Heritage Diet Pyramid to life, showing people how to eat and cook healthfully, traditionally, and enjoyably through hands-on experience. The program is also an introduction to the rich cultural history of African heritage foods, and a guide to adopting this traditional way of eating for better health in modern day life.

A Taste of African Heritage is more than just a series of cooking classes. It is a new kind of wellness program designed to reconnect participants with vibrant ways of eating and living that once promoted the health of African American ancestors everywhere.

How Does A Taste of African Heritage Work?

A Taste of African Heritage (ATAH) is a six-lesson nutrition and cooking program. Most programs run over the course of six weeks, offering one class per week. Each lesson is 1 hour and 45 minutes long, and covers a specific food group from the African Heritage Diet Pyramid.

Lesson 1: Traditional Herbs and Spices
Lesson 2: Greens
Lesson 3: Whole Grains
Lesson 4: Beans and Rice
Lesson 5: Tubers and Stews
Lesson 6: Fruits and Vegetables

  • Class schedule: 1 class per week, for 6 weeks

  • Number of recipes per class: 2–3

  • Class components: Each class is divided up into 1) an intro, 2) an historical and nutritional discussion, 3) a cooking lesson, and 4) a time to eat together and reflect. 
  • Tracking success: Using confidential lifestyle and physical health evaluations, instructors and students track their success to make sure that A Taste of African Heritage helps its participants make lasting changes for their health and wellbeing. 


Who Is A Taste of African Heritage For?

A Taste of African Heritage is designed for people of all ages and interests, including:

  • Anyone who wants to add more flavor and nutrition to their life.
  • Anyone interested in learning more about African heritage and culinary history.
  • Friends wanting to get healthy or to start a cooking club together.
  • Teens and preteens just learning how to cook.
  • Seniors craving the foods of their childhoods and a taste of the old ways.

If you’d like to know if A Taste of African Heritage classes are being offered near you, please contact Sarah McMackin at sarahm@oldwayspt.org.

Who Can Teach A Taste of African Heritage?

A Taste of African Heritage is an excellent program for anyone working in nutrition, education, food service, faith-based initiatives, community outreach work, or public health and wellness. Lesson plans have easily-followed, step-by-step guides for preparing and teaching, and we like to think of the recipes as “Level 1 Cooking” – as simple as they are delicious.  

As we launch and learn from the program’s first year in 2013, we are recruiting teachers who can help us track student success, from the following professions:

  • Dietitians, Nurses, Physicians, and other Healthcare Professionals
  • Faith-based Leaders, Health Ministers, and Wellness Educators
  • Chefs
  • Community Outreach and Public Health Professionals  

What Do I Need To Teach A Taste of African Heritage Classes? 


To participate, all you need to do is:

  • Make a commitment to teach one ATAH class per week for 6 weeks.
  • Make a commitment to help students track their success.
  • Secure a kitchen within your organization or community that has:
  • a stove or hotplate with 3 burners
  • a few pots and pans
  • a chopping knife and cutting board
  • Shop for each week’s cooking lesson ingredients.
  • Manage student evaluations and health assessments.
  • Keep a simple teacher’s evaluation log that will help us to continually optimize the program.

Interested in teaching A Taste of African Heritage classes in your community? We are now recruiting teachers! Let us know about your interest on our Teacher Sign-Up Page.  


We'd love for you to join us! 

Photo by Tambra Raye

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