Cooking Up Culture: AP English students pair with culinary class for Black History Month

Cross-Curricular Experience for Black History Month


This February, AP and Dual Credit English IV classes joined Culinary Arts classes to learn more about traditional African foods. The collaboration grew out of Carolyn Harrod’s English classes, which were reading Purple Hibiscus (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie) and Homegoing (Yaa Gyasi), which are set in Nigeria and Ghana. Having a chance to sample real African yams and some plantain foo-foo gives students a deeper understanding of African cultural concepts.


Mary Higby’s culinary students learned about the history of the African yam (which is quite different from the American yam, or sweet potato), then prepared the yam according to traditional methods. Students then made plantain foo-foo from plantain flour to dip in a traditional African stew base.


Students from both classes benefited from this learning experience. Our English students shared experiences from the novels they read with our culinary students, who prepared the food to share.