Hi everyone! Once in a while we need a little hand. This summer my forthcoming book, The Cooking Gene, to be published by HarperCollins in 2016 is being written and research continues right up to the last day before I turn it in.

We have archives to visit, copies to make, documents to scan and oral history interviews to conduct.


This project has been supported by awesome people for the past three years. Every now and then we need a helping hand. Find the PayPal button in our menu. Give what ya can. 1-5-10-20-36 or more, that’s up to you. We don’t take a dollar for granted.

This book is going to help a lot of African Americans searching for their roots and looking to ask the question, “How did the journey of our food, shape us?” This book is about racial healing and reconciliation and bringing people together to mend the wounds of the past. It is uncompromising in its search for truth but open to making a way for understanding. We are a world desperately in need of healing, our pain is injustice, disease, inequality, prejudice and misunderstanding. I hope this book, like it’s project namesake, will offer a lens on culinary justice, healthier living, equality and balance, openness and acceptance and creating a common appreciation for the heritage we share at the table.


21 Soul Food Life Hacks #2

1. Never throw out water melon rind. It makes a delicious pickle. Same goes for thick collard stems.
2. Make your family reunions more memorable–support African American caterers and restaurants!
3. Eat your okra and sweet potato leaves!! Growing them this summer? Okra leaves are spiny buy after a quick dip in hot boiling water you can cook them like spinach. Shred sweet potato leaves and cook them like any other greens.
4. Red pepper, mint, lemon balm, water and vinegar make a great anti-squirrel spray in the garden. They are all still booming, so use em. Steep for a few days and spray.
5. Another way to shuck cooked corn on the cob: https://youtu.be/vbkSmOjvhEc
6. Summer alternative to “Red K….Aid” Make a pitcher of Roiboos or Hibiscus tea, sweeten lightly with coconut sugar, agave syrup, honey or nothing at all! Add slices of lemon and lime for zing!


7. Have a barbecue potluck. Now is the time to create your own version of this Southern staple. Try eastern Carolina bbq with red pepper and cider vinegar, or western Carolina with a tomato based dip. Move down to South Carolina for a mustard based sauce and barbecued pork, chicken or turkey, or try Alabama white bbq sauce with chicken wings. Sauce Beautiful from the Mississippi and Alabama Black Belt over ribs is incredible, and Memphis bbq can be served with or without sauce…but dry rub to sauce it’s an incredible flavor. Kentucky bbq centers on lamb and mutton, Kansas City slathers on the tomato and molasses while Texas bbq brings sausage, brisket and beef ribs!! You and your family, neighbors or friends will have a blast.
8.  Rice or potatoes that have cooled down are reportedly better for your blood sugar levels.
9. Grill your okra!! http://www.southernliving.com/m/food/10-best-okra-recipes/classic-okra-recipe-peppery-grilled-okra-with-lemon-basil-sauce
10. If you have leftover corn on the cob, make it into a salad with sun dried tomato dressing, fresh tomato, and thinly sliced okra.
11. Invest in coconut sugar. It’s a rich brown natural sugar from the sugar palm from Southeast Asia. It’s delicious, blends well in sauces and beverages, and has lots of nutrients and vitamins.
12. When you bbq throw a couple of boneless, skinless chicken breasts on to use on salads for lunch during the week.
13. Aspirin, eggs and milk are great tomato foods in the garden.
14. Green grape or cherry tomatoes make great mini fried green tomatoes.


15. It’s peach time, time to make freezer peach preserves: http://southernbite.com/2014/06/25/peach-freezer-jam/
16. Make an easy peach vinaigrette dressing: take two tablespoonfuls of peach jam, 1/4 cup of water, 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar, a pinch of red or black pepper, kosher salt, a pinch of fresh chopped rosemary and 1/4 cup of light olive oil and whisk together. Makes for a great summer salad.


17. Need a starch for dinner but don’t want it to be hot and overly filling? Try a cold rice salad.
18. Buttermilk Soup with Tomatoes, it’s cold and its perfect for summer: http://www.thekitchn.com/easy-breezy-chilled-buttermilk-56177
19. Fresh hot red pepper steeped in honey makes a nice drizzle for grilled chicken.
20. Leftover crabs from a crab feast? Learn to make crab rice: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ol-fuskie-fried-crab-rice-recipe.html
21. The secret ingredient for summery recipes is always preserved lemon 🙂 http://www.daringgourmet.com/2014/04/08/how-to-make-preserved-lemons-moroccan-middle-eastern-cooking/ . A little chopped preserved lemon in potato salad, macaroni salad, etc will win you serious points.

If you enjoyed these tips, please consider donating 5$ or more to Afroculinaria via our PayPal button. If only a fraction of our subscribers did this we would be ready to hit the archives. Please help us stay afloat!

Michael 🙂


Please help my Papa out!–Zeke

8 comments on “Summer Campaign & 21 New Soul Food Hacks

  1. I just made a (small) donation. Good luck to you Michael! You deserve a MacArthur Genius fellowship– I predict stuff like that will come your way in the course of your life. 🙂


  2. Zeke is a precious baby!!! Thanks for sharing that sweet face with us!


  3. Robin M.

    My donation is much smaller than I wish it could be. I learn so much from reading your blog, Michael. Many thanks to you, and I’m so excited to buy your book when it comes out! (Also, Zeke is the cutest!)


  4. Zeke’s adorable!


  5. Pingback: Two Weeks of Links | MetaCookbook

  6. How much do you need, Michael?
    I.e. what’s a good donation level to be helpful to.the publishing project.. pm us…grateful for your good work.

    Shalom & Blessings,
    Ama & Nate
    Farming in Vt


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