Monday, January 7, 2019

Happy Birthday Zora Neale Hurston

We celebrated Zora Neale Hurston in a most honorable way.
Last night, I discovered Our Mothers' Kitchens, an organization committed to bridging culinary and literature together while also mentoring young black girls in and out if the kitchen. Yoga teacher/herbalist/community educator Shivon Pearl Love and artist/poet/health educator Khaliah D. Pitts have created this outstanding vision:
Using the works of Vertamae Smart-Grosvernor, Ntozake Shange, Zora Neale Hurston and Alice Walker, Our Mothers’ Kitchens seeks to introduce young women of color to the ways in which these Black female authors intersect food and language as a means of liberation, expression and cultural preservation. Continuing the use of traditions from the African diaspora, where art and life are one, Our Mothers’ Kitchens takes vital steps towards building optimal health, self-awareness and cultural connection through the ritual and art of cooking and storytelling.
At Duafe Holistic Salon, Our Mothers' Kitchens hosted a special catered dinner that honored birthday girl, Zora Neale Hurston. This was the second of four in the "In Search of Our Foremothers" series (the first being Ntozake Shange R.I.P.). These authors words' are the foundations for the menu items and the parties are "thrown" on/around their birthdays.
In the Zora feast-- all plant based vegan-- the appetizer, salad, entree, dessert, and beverage specifically draw on excerpts vividly detailed in Mules and Men, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and Dust Tracks on a Road.
Guests were invited to pick selective quotes and bring an item for "Zora's Alter."

I chose a beautiful quote about writing from Zora's autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road.

The Black Eyed Peas Collard Wrap was inspired by Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters while the delicious "Homemade Cola" (made with ginger, star anise, and other spice kicks) delivered the first taste of Their Eyes Were Watching God.

"The String Beans and Potatuhs," also created with Their Eyes Were Watching God in mind, contains crisp beans and fork tender potatoes, amazing alongside the endless refills of "Homemade Cola."

Their Eyes Were Watching God then embodies the flavorful entree: a generous portion of "Mulatto Rice" and "Janie Cakes" with molasses and rosemary. The incredibly savory rice was prepared in black eyed peas stock (which I must obtain the recipe for), smoked paprika, turmeric, and other feel good ingredients. The "Janie Cakes" were light and tasty, pieces of yellow corn like surprises in every bite. 

I especially loved dessert--a moist and succulent slice of gingerbread adorned with pretty colored flowers and sugared pineapple. Definitely made me dream the way Janie dreamed. Mules and Men set the final kitchen influence of the evening.

Fashionable schoolteacher Aura (whom I sat across from) pictured with Our Mothers' Kitchens co-creator Shivon Pearl Love (on the right).

Khaliah D. Pitts, the other gracious co-hostess/co-founder, closed an intimate night with a tender poem, Zora in heart and spirit.

The Zora Library. 

I never knew a book of Zora's letters existed. It's definitely on my Books to Read 2019 Edition. 

The Zora "Altar" contained her books, a finger puppet, cowrie shells, flowers, and mugs, sacred items of the diners.
The fun, educational tribute to a humorous, talented, sassy, down-to-earth Zora provided sweet sustenance for those in attendance. We came together to read Zora aloud, blend our personal stories with hers, and discuss other great conversation points around a table, safe in body, mind, spirit.


  1. I'm certainly going to check out that site! Loved seeing all the pics, too! The food looks and sounds AMAZING!

    1. It's such a great mission too! Very wonderful organization run by two great women leaders!