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Best 5 African American Cookbooks That Help You Prepare A Kwanzaa Dinner

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In another two weeks, it would be the time to celebrate the greatest Afro-American festival – Kwanzaa - and with it, would come the time to arrange for elaborate Kwanzaa dinners and set up the spirit of Kwanzaa feasts. With it would also come the dilemma of wanting to present the most authentic Kwanzaa recipes, but not being confident enough to present them. Save yourself from such situations by referring to these best 5 African American Cookbooks that help you prepare a Kwanzaa dinner.

•    Kwanzaa: An African American Celebration Of Culture And Cooking – By Eric V. Copage:

This book is more of a culinary celebration, a testimony to the accomplishments of the Afro-Americans through the ages. The book contains more than 125 treasured and traditional recipes, perfect for the Kwanzaa dinners, contributed by people of African descent from all over the world. The book also presents biographies of distinguished African Americans, proverbs and folk tales that illustrate the seven principles of Kwanzaa.


•    Kwanzaa Karamu: Cooking and Crafts for a Kwanzaa Feast – By April A. Brady:

This is another book that comes very handy while preparing Kwanzaa dinners. The book offers 18 traditional and authentic Kwanzaa recipes that range from simple and easy to make salads, side dishes, main dishes and desserts. The book also offers a “Cooking Smart” segment that provides useful hints and safety tips that not only lets you cook safe, but also enjoy it while doing so. The high-quality color photographs that feature in the book bring life to it, making it more interesting. It also provides an additional glossary of Swahili terms that help you understand the festival in its true essence.


•    The Kwanzaa Celebration: Festive Recipes and Homemade Gifts from an African-American Kitchen – By Angela Shelf Medearis:

If you want to more than recipes, then this is the ideal book for you. The book not just offers recipes, but also menus for each night of the weeklong holiday. The recipes are organized by courses. Medearis also offers separate chapters on cooking for a huge gathering or company as well as ideas on homemade gifts. The book is undoubtedly a step-by-step guide to the holiday celebrations, where each night of celebration is described in thorough details. The book also informs you about the foods that were introduced to the Americans by the Africans (like, yams, sesame seeds, hot peppers, etc). It is such unique facts that make the book an interesting collection.


•    Fruits of the Harvest: Recipes to Celebrate Kwanzaa and Other Holidays - By Eric V. Copage:

Kwanzaa literally means “first fruits” and as such, fruits occupy a significant position in this festival. This book reflects this very essence and offers more than 125 authentic Kwanzaa recipes. Starting from a wide variety of salads, soups and appetizers to the main and side dishes to the desserts – this book is a complete guide to Kwanzaa dinners. Jerked Pork Chops and Fresh Papaya Chutney from Jamaica, New-Fashioned Fried Chicken from the Deep South and Tiebou Dienne, a Senegalese herb-stuffed fish steak with seasoned rice are just some of the traditional Kwanzaa dishes. Fried Okra, Antiguan Pepper Pot, Ambrosia Salad, Potato Salad, Garlic-Chedder Grits Souffle, Caipirinha and Sweet Potato Tarts in Peanut Butter Crusts are a few other authentic Kwanzaa recipes described here.  


•    Kwanzaa: From Holiday to Every Day – By Maitefa Angaza:

This book is truly a “meaningful, wonderful guide” on Kwanzaa and its various factors. Whether you are a first-time celebrant or a seasoned veteran, this book has something to offer to everyone. Starting from the planning of festive gatherings to how to involve everyone in the Karamu, from the recipes of traditional dishes to the planning of the Zawadi (gifts), from the seven principles of Kwanzaa to the popular Kwanzaa songs - this single source guides you on all.


Kwanzaa celebrates the spirit of togetherness and communion and without the elaborate Kwanzaa dinners, it really misses its essence. Therefore, lay your hands on any one of these best 5 African American cookbooks that help you prepare a Kwanzaa dinner and conjure up the perfect Karamu at home.

Photo Courtesy: psychologytoday.com

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