Diaspora Food Culture Recipes

Fruit Salad for the Karamu (the Kwanzaa Feast)

If you are looking for something healthy, sweet, and emblematic of the Diaspora to serve ar your Karamu feast for Imani Day/January 1st try this play on fruit salad:

Image Credit:  Carlos Juliao (b. 1740) /Market Woman or Hawkers, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, ca. 1770s,  as shown on http://www.slaveryimages.org, compiled by Jerome Handler and Michael Tuite, and sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library.

Tropical Fruit Salad A La Diaspora


1 ripe papaya, peeled, seeded and cubed

1 ripe but firm mango, peeled, seeded and cubed

1/2 ripe pineapple, peeled, corded and cubed

1 cup of cubed, seeded watermelon

1 cup of cubed, seeded canteloupe (

1 tablespoon of fine dried coconut

2 bananas, sliced (optional)

2 tablespoons of agave nectar

2 tablepoons of orange juice

1 tablespoon of Madagascar vanilla

a pinch each of allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg and cloves

a pinch of dried chili (optional)

You got it–mix it all up, combine and let it set in the refrigerator until nice and chilled!

The story you can tell with the salad.

The watermelon and muskmelon originated in Africa.  Bananas, mango and coconuts came to Africa with the early trade from Asia as did cinnamon and nutmeg.  Europeans and Africans introduced bananas, mangoes, coconuts and nutmeg to the plantations of the New World.  From the Americas to Africa came the papaya, pineapple and many other fruits, and spices like allspice and vanilla which became a major crop of Madagascar. Cloves symbolize the plantations of Zanzibar and Pemba in East Africa where for over 1,000 years enslaved Africans left to be exiled to hard labor in Asia and the Middle East.  The chilies represent the hot taste in the African diet and their introduction from the New World and subsequent diversification by Africans over several centuries.

Who knew you could serve our entire history in a fruit salad?


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