On November 9, 2017, Nardin Academy High School American History classes joined together with Julie Levin, Nardin Academy Chef, and Nicole Capitumino, Nardin Academy Green Coordinator, to serve up a day of culinary justice to elementary and high school students.
Inspired by the food historian and culinary justice visionary Michael Twitty, the classes, taught by Ms. Joanna Batt, researched culinary traditions of slave communities in the South to spread the little know word that all-American barbecue in fact originally comes from the ingenuity and talent of enslaved African Americans, and that we owe this great food tradition to them.
After coming up with their own historically-grounded recipes echoing 18th century cooking and using produce grown right in Nardin's own Learning Garden, the students prepared the menu for the schools, highlighting regional differences through the dishes.
"It has been so incredible how students have taken to telling the story behind one of America's most favorite, and most delicious traditions: barbecue. Their passion for the project has had them researching 18th century oral histories, digging up local produce, and chopping and sautéing in our own dining hall, all in the name of delivering "food justice," said Ms. Batt.
Through their research, hands-on learning, and story-telling they'll share with the school via the delicious food itself, everyone will gain a greater understanding and unique perspective not just of where America's food comes from physically and historically, but to whom we owe our traditions and why it's important to remember them and include social justice when we sit down to eat.
"This event is a great example of a hands-on, active learning project. Ms. Batt's passion for championing social justice issues in her curriculum is commendable," said Nardin Academy High School Principal Adrienne Forgette.