African Heritage & Health Week happens each year from February 1st-7th. It is a nationally-recognized week dedicated to promoting African Heritage foods and cuisines and invites everyone everywhere to try a new African heritage dish at home or while dining out.

To kick off this special week, The Toledo Blade published a wonderful article in last week’s paper, and the African Heritage & Health program was featured on two NPR affiliate radio shows  – Around Cincinnati and Houston Matters, during which Houston-based teacher, Danessa Bolling, graciously joined us to talk about her class outcomes!).

To help spread the word about this wonderful way of eating, food establishments like Kola Restaurant and Lounge – a new restaurant in the Detroit metro area committed to serving healthy dishes – and Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Memphis, TN will be sharing African Heritage Diet brochures and information.

We have set up an AH&H Week Photo Gallery to share photos of the dishes enjoyed, and a Dine Around Town page to help diners find local African heritage restaurants near them. Please send us a snapshot of your African Heritage Week meal so that we can share it others!

We have over a dozen new A Taste of African Heritage cooking classes starting up around the country in February and two very exciting events are taking place in the nations capitol: In celebration of African Heritage & Health Week, NATIVSOL KITCHEN is excited to share the taste and health benefits of African heritage foods at the US Dept. of Health and Human Services Headquarters for Fed Strive Health Awareness Day. This event, held in Washington, D.C., strives to help influence and improve the health and nutrition of our public health workforce. Tambra Raye Stevenson, NATIVSOL owner and Oldways Advisory Committee Member, will also be presenting on ”Pan African Cuisine: The Healing Secrets of the Continent” at The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, February 20, 2013 from 12:00-1:00pm in the Jefferson Building in the AMED Reading Room hosted by the LOC Cooking Club, the African/Middle Eastern Division. If you or anyone you know are in the D.C. area, please be sure to attend this momentous talk on Capitol Hill!

If you’re looking for an African heritage dish to make at home, two recipes that are especially perfect for these icy winter days are the Senegalese Sweet Potato Peanut Stew (Mafe) and our new Yuca Fries with our Garlicky Dill Mojo Sauce. The Mafe Stew has been one of the most popular recipes in our Taste of African Heritage cooking program—and for good reason! This dish’s savory flavors and hearty ingredients will warm you up from head to toe.

Oldways Senegalese Sweet Potato Peanut (Mafe) Stew
Serves 4

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced

1 large sweet potato, chopped into medium-size cubes
2 large carrots, cut into thin rounds
2 green zucchini, cut into thin half-rounds
1 small can (15oz) diced tomatoes, no salt added

2 cups water

1 teaspoon or small cube of vegetable bullion  powder
1 tablespoon Berbere spice or curry powder
¼ cup natural peanut butter

3 sprigs fresh thyme, minced, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme

Sea salt to taste

Heat the oil in one of the soup pots on medium heat and sauté the onion and garlic until translucent (3-4 minutes). 

While the onions and garlic cook, chop up the sweet potato, carrots, and zucchini. 

Add the sweet potato and vegetables to the pot; saute for 3-4 minutes. 

Add the diced tomatoes, water, “Better Than Bouillon,” and Berbere spice, and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. 

After 10 minutes, add the peanut butter and the thyme to the stew. Let it cook, covered, for another 3-5 minutes. 

 Salt to taste, serve and enjoy!

I hope all this talk has wet your appetite and moves you to join the celebration!  Happy Black History Month and African Heritage & Health Week from all of us here at Oldways.


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