Jessica B. Harris, PhD, renowned on her work as an African Diaspora food anthropologist, culinary historian and prolific author of numerous cookbooks will be featured on Tuesday, July 15 at 7:30pm at Renaissance House, 31 Pennacook Avenue in Oak Bluffs.
Dr. Harris, author of "High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey From Africa to America," will explore how foods can teach history.
The Renaissance House Salon Series is FREE to the public and is sponsored by the Helene Johnson and Dorothy West Foundation For Artists In Need. Dessert is served after each salon.
Dr. Harris is the author of 12 critically acclaimed cookbooks documenting the foods and foodways of the African Diaspora including Iron Pots and Wooden Spoons: Africa's Gifts to New World Cooking, Sky Juice and Flying Fish Traditional Caribbean Cooking, The Welcome Table: African American Heritage Cooking, The Africa Cookook: Tastes of a Continent, Beyond Gumbo: Creole Fusion Food from the Atlantic Rim. Dr. Harris also conceptualized and organized The Black Family Reunion Cook Book. She was the inaugural scholar-in-residence in the Ray Charles Chair in African-American Material Culture at Dillard University in New Orleans where she established an Institute for the Study of Culinary Cultures. Dr. Harris has been a professor of English at Queens College/C.U.N.Y. for more than four decade. She is the host of the web radio show My Welcome Table on Heritage Radio Network.
“Jessica Harris has been a guest lecturer at Renaissance House since 2002. She has graced our salons from galleys from her soon to be published works for the past 12 years. She was an early believer in Renaissance House,” said Abigail McGrath, founder of Helene Johnson and Dorothy West Foundation and Renaissance House: Retreat for Writers & Artists. “Jessica is a new age Renaissance woman. She writes with the intelligence of an academician, the emotions of an actress, the values of a saint and the tenderness of a mother. We are eternally grateful to her.”
During 2014, the Renaissance House Salon Series spotlighted the work of Martha’s Vineyard’s writers. It featured John Hough,Jr., author of novel Little Bighorn; MacArthur Fellow Patricia Williams, Columbia Law professor and “Diary of a Mad Law Professor” columnist for The Nation magazine; Jan Pogue, founder of Vineyard Stories book publishing and former reporter and editor for Philadelphia Inquirer and USA and “Three Good Lookin’ Poets” Dan Waters, Mike West and Justin Ahren. Two acclaimed Renaissance House Poets in Residence, Afaa Michael Weaver and Jacqueline Jones LaMon, showcased their work. On July 5, Renaissance House hosted a public reading of Frederick Douglass speech “What Does the Fourth of July Mean to A Negro?” at the Inkwell Beach in Oak Bluffs.
The Renaissance House Salon Series is a special highlight of the Renaissance House Retreat, which provides writers and artists with a subsidized retreat away from life's responsibilities and the space in which to create new works of art. Renaissance House is one of the few retreats designed for issue-oriented writers, writers of color and writers of social justice.
Renaissance House is an annual writers retreat sponsored by the Helene Johnson and Dorothy West Foundation, both of whom were women writers of the Harlem Renaissance. The inspiration was Harlem Renaissance writers Helene Johnson and Dorothy West. West was the author of the award-winning novel and film “The Wedding”. Both West and her poet cousin Johnson (McGrath’s mother) were writers during the Harlem Renaissance.
Renaissance House provides artists with a subsidized retreat away from life's responsibilities and the space in which to create new works of art. The Renaissance House Salon Series programs are free and open to the public. Please RSVP for a reservation. For more information call Renaissance House at 917-747-0367 or email Renaissancehse@
Visit Renaissance House at the website at http://www.renaissance-