Food Network to launch ‘The Kwanzaa Menu’ television series in December

In each episode of “The Kwanzaa Menu,” the preparation of entrees, side dishes and drinks that represent each pillar of the Nguzo Saba will be featured.

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This Kwanzaa, feast with the Food Network across seven episodes of a new series highlighting the food, history and traditions of the African-American cultural celebration.

“The Kwanzaa Menu,” hosted by food scholar Tonya Hopkins, is the network’s first series centered around the seven-day holiday, each episode exploring one of Kwanzaa’s seven principles through a unique dish, according to Variety.

Kwanzaa holiday concept with decorate seven candles red, black and green, gift box, pumpkin,corn and fruit on wooden desk and background.

“Celebrating Kwanzaa through good food and drink not only allows us to reconnect to the vibrance of our culinary  history that  greatly informs who we are as Black people, our very identities —  but also to take pride in that which has so profoundly shaped American foodways at large, for centuries,” Hopkins told the outlet. 

Kwanzaa, which runs from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1, was founded in the 1960s by Black Power leader Ron Karenga, who sought to provide an annual commemoration of Black pride following the Watts Riots, a string of violent clashes between police and Black residents of Los Angeles.

Kwanzaa celebrations include drumming, dance, music, storytelling, and more. It also includes the lighting of a kinara on each day that corresponds with the seven principles, or Nguzo Saba, in Swahili, as previously reported by theGrio.

In each episode of “The Kwanzaa Menu,” Hopkins, also known as “The Food Griot,” will be joined by a special guest to help guide viewers through preparing entrees, side dishes and drinks that represent each pillar of the Nguzo Saba, according to Variety.

These seven principles include “Umoja,” or Unity; “Kujichagulia,” or Self-Determination; “Ujima,” or Collective Work and Responsibility; “Ujamaa,” or Cooperative Economics; “Nia,” or Purpose; “Kuumba,” or Creativity; and “Imani,” or Faith, per the outlet.

The featured celebratory dishes include crispy akara (black-eyed pea fritters) with savory smoky sesame sauce; cassava with peanut stew; and a hibiscus mulled wine mimosa, Variety reported.

Produced by Best Wishes Studio and a majority-Black crew, the show will be taped at Hopkins’ family residence in Orange County, California, and will include her father, Dr. Thomas A. Parham, and sister, Kenya Parham, as guests, per the outlet.

“To collaborate on this production with my brilliant sister, our family, an all-star (majority Black) crew led by Best Wishes Studio and Food Network is the kind of kismet synergy dreams are made of!” Kenya told Variety. “We know we’ve created a cultural gem with ‘The Kwanzaa Menu’ and are tremendously excited for the world to receive it and celebrate with us!”

“The Kwanzaa Menu” premieres Dec. 26 on 

theGrio’s Tonya Pendleton contributed to this report.

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