I was introduced to food justice activist (or “cheftivist”) and current MoAD Chef-in-Residence Bryant Terry’s work a few months ago by a friend who gave Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean & Southern Flavors Remixed five stars on Goodreads. The picture of the book, which is beautifully rich in color and featuring the author on the cover in a fly outfit, drew me in, and when I read the blurb, I knew I had to RUN to the library, because it seemed to be everything I’ve ever hoped would exist in the cookbook I fantasize about writing. As soon as I took it home and flipped through the pages, I tried out one of the recipes and immediately ordered the book from Amazon. There’s so much more to say about this treasure of a cookbook–check out my review!
Thanks to the Birmingham Public Library’s Eat, Drink, Read, Write Festival, I actually got to meet Bryant Terry on Saturday, and he was every bit as awesome as I imagined. Actually, the whole event was stellar, featuring local caterers and restaurants, a few of which provided, fittingly, vegan options. Tropicaleo (stay tuned for my review) provided adorable mofongo balls with their signature sauce and a spicy vinegrette.
Silvertron brought Italian-style falafel balls, and Eryka Perry, Owner and Chef of Not Just Catering (and a restaurant in SOHO named Michael’s) brought her killer take on one of Terry’s recipes (substituting purple for yellow smashed potatoes and topping with peas, corn, and chile-garlic oil) along with a tofu curry with mustard greens. Everything was DE.LISH.OUS, and the spice of Perry’s dish lingered on my palate even after Terry’s lecture and cooking demonstration.
Terry’s talk on healthy, just, sustainable food communities was dynamic and inspiring, as was his mantra: “Start with the visceral to ignite the cerebral and end with the political.” For Terry, the rap song “Beef” and the novel The Jungle by Upton Sinclair were two early texts that affected him on a visceral and then on a cerebral level and propelled him to his food activism. Since then, he’s been the recipient of numerous honors and awards because of his work in the community.
His talk seemed to fly by, but it was comprehensive, covering his work as the Chef-in-Residence at the Museum of the African Diaspora, the history of the Communist Party of Alabama as well as the Black Panthers’ Free Breakfast for School Children Program. And then…he signed our book!
All-in-all, great kick off to Eat Drink Read Write 2016!