It’s been nearly two years since Eat The Culture (ETC) launched to empower Black content creators, storytellers and tastemakers. Founded in August 2021 by Meiko Temple, a prominent food creative at Meiko and the Dish, the collective is quickly growing.
Whether that’s through events, membership, or even through themed cookbooks, there’s no stopping this energetic squad. With Black History Month celebrations underway, 26 of the collective’s creators are coming together once again to host a virtual potluck with roundtable discussions.
Growing Eat The Culture
ETC was founded on the premise of having a Black centered collective rooted in collaboration. Unfortunately, the members of this community have encountered countless instances of failed partnerships with predominantly white media outlets. And so they decided to create their own table. This has included mentoring and providing resources to Black food creatives, hosting fireside chats with Black tastemakers, love letters to Black cookbooks, and numerous other empowering initiatives.
Marta Rivera Diaz, an ETC board member and founder of Sense & Edibility, has fiercely advocated for the collective’s success. “I get so amped and impressed by how much better we’re getting as a collective, as a founding group. As content creators, we reach our people and provide resources we’ve never seen. And we are giving it for free,” shares Diaz. Despite leading many initiatives over the past two years, the collective still has no income stream. Instead, all programming is managed voluntarily by group leaders.
While their programming may come off as polished and effortless, doing this solely on a volunteer basis is a challenging trek. However, the collective genuinely sees the vision and is willing to make all sacrifices to push the organization further.
“For me, really, it’s about building community with each other and being able to connect… We are trying to dismantle narratives and show that Black people are willing to support each other. Whether members are trying to get money or even just accolades,” shares Stefani Medley, an ETC board member and the founder of Savor & Sage.
Medley joined ETC during its founding stages and shares, “Since I’ve started working with the collective, I’ve grown… We constantly push each other, stretch ourselves and take different risks, whether that’s getting better at our photography or videos. But, it doesn’t stop there because we offer these lessons to community members as well,” says Medley. ETC is composed of seven board members and offers free membership to any Black food creator interested in growing or starting a platform.
Launching the Virtual Potluck
As the dynamic troop continues to push boundaries, they are getting ramped up for exciting initiatives happening during Black History Month. On February 1st, they launched the Virtual Black History Month Potluck. The event taking place on social media will include exclusive recipe drops from contributors and highly anticipated conversations with Cuisine Noir Magazine on Thursday, February 9 at 5 pm PT during a Facebook live and, separately, KJ Kearney of Black Food Fridays on Friday, February 24.
What makes ETC’s Virtual BHM Potluck special is this year’s theme. “We are looking back to move forward,” shares Diaz. The ETC food content creators are tasked with digging deep into the history of their ancestors. Specifically ancestors from West African regions.
“There’s an African proverb that says, ‘once you carry your own water, you’ll remember every drop.’ So we’re learning from ancestral African ties and how they manifest or reveal themselves through recipes here in the United States due to their descendants,” says Diaz, who is based in Texas.
ETC anticipates participants will leave their BHM events feeling empowered and energized to deepen their relationships with food further. Medley has enjoyed participating in the learnings and unlearning associated with this year’s virtual potluck theme. “We are using recipes originating in West Africa and looking at how those recipes evolved traveling down the Transatlantic Slave Trade. For example, investigating how recipes changed when they got to South America or even the Caribbean.”
Just as much as the recipes will be rooted in deep research, they will equally present bold flavors. Recipes will feature dishes like tender dibi lamb from Be Greedy Eats and deeper dives into classics like rice and peas from Big Delicious Life.
While reflecting on how far the collective has come, Diaz shares, “I’m extremely proud that we are continuing to grow. We are gathering together, feeding off of each other’s vibes and energy, and putting out to the world something that I don’t think that they ever expected from Black content creators.”
Eat The Culture’s Virtual Black History Month Potluck will take place throughout February. To stay updated on all their BHM initiatives, visit their social media.
Meanwhile, here are the rest of the recipes from Eat the Culture’s virtual potluck to make this month and all year long.
African Okro Soup by Jasmine Woodard, Dash of Jazz
Caruru Baiano (Brazilian Shrimp Okra Stew) by Aline Shaw, Brazilian Kitchen Abroad
Okra Gumbo by Marwin Brown, Food Fidelity
Poulet Creole (Haitian Stewed Chicken) by Kenneth Temple
Pollo Guisado (Chicken Stew) by Adrianna Ruff, A Girl Called Adri
Waakye (Ghanaian Rice & Beans) by Jazzmine Woodard, Dash of Jazz
Hoppin’ Johns by Brittany Fiero, Her Mise En Place
Guyanese Cookup Rice by Shani Walker, Coined Cuisine
Jamaican Rice and Peas by Jessica Lawson, Big Delicious Life
Thiakry by Heather, Sweet Precision
Trinidad Sweet Rice by Renz, This Bago Girl
Southern Rice Pudding by Shani Whisonart, Begin With Butter
Jerk Chicken Wings by Tatanisha + Derrick, This Worthy Life
Brisket Burnt Ends by Meiko Temple, Meiko and the Dish
Monfongo by Tamara Johnson, Razzle Dazzle Life
Fufu by Michelle Blackwood, Healthier Steps
Haitian Tomtom (Haitian Okra Sauce with Crab and Breadfruit Fufu) by Mireille Rock, Global Kitchen Travels
Ugali by Kanyi, Kanyi’s Kitchen
Maafe (West African peanut stew) by Artney, Pretty Brown Eats
Peanut Butter Soup by Britney Brown-Chamberlain, Britney Breaks Bread
Puff Puff by Jen Sim, Sims Home Kitchen
Chocolate Beignets, by Chenée Lewis, Chenée Today
Jollof Rice by Hammed Adewale, The Prince Eats
Jambalaya by Geo Banks Weston, Geo’s Table
Charleston Red Rice by Marwin Brown, Food Fidelity