Kwanzaa is celebrated in the African American community as the harvest or fruit festival. Established by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966, it was a means to unite African Americans who were separated during the Watts riot. Drumbeats and music are often accompanied with some great food.
Different families have their own unique style of celebrating Kwanzaa. The foods prepared are African in origin. Numerous dishes are made using African ingredients or American ingredients that were brought in by the Africans when they moved over to America. The celebration lasts for seven consecutive days from December 26 to January 1. Seven different principles are discussed on each day.
Harvest festival automatically means lots of fruits and vegetables on the dining table. The African-Americans consume customary kiko, a dish made by mashing black-eyed peas and cooking them in banana leaves. Yams are a main component in African diet. They mash yam thoroughly, roll them into balls and consume them. This is called fufu. Mafé is another popular dish. Here goat meat is cooked along with sauce and peanuts to form a thick stew.
Kwanzaa also signifies fresh vegetables. Seeds and condiments are used in abundance to extract the beautiful flavor and aroma of these dishes. Sesame seeds and sweet potato are used extensively. Fresh fruits are served as deserts. Fruit salads are also consumed. A traditional Kwanzaa stew is prepared by mixing all the harvest vegetables. Even sweet potatoes are included. Broccoli, corn and numerous spices are added to prepare a mouth watering aromatic stew.
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