S3:E4 | 12.5.2019

Tracing Jambalaya

Reporter Kayla Stewart attempts to trace Gulf Coast dish Jambalaya back to its rumored roots in West Africa’s Jollof Rice. Kayla’s journey to find a connection between the two dishes takes her from her mother’s Houston kitchen to the streets of Accra. But instead of a link, she finds that the history of African American food ways cannot be separated from the influences of slavery and colonialism.

About this Episode

Reporter Kayla Stewart attempts to trace Gulf Coast dish Jambalaya back to its rumored roots in West Africa’s Jollof Rice. Kayla’s journey to find a connection between the two dishes takes her from her mother’s Houston kitchen to the streets of Accra. But instead of a link, she finds that the history of African American food ways cannot be separated from the influences of slavery and colonialism.

Go Deeper

This story was produced in partnership with Civil Eats, a nonprofit news magazine covering food and agriculture. Civil Eats is publishing a print version of this story, which is available to read here.

Kayla’s story comes to us from Feet in 2 Worlds, a project that brings the work of immigrant journalists and journalists of color to public radio, podcasts and online media. You can read her reporter's journal here.

If you’d like to read more about Gwendolyn Midlo Hall’s work, you can access the Afro-Louisiana History and Genealogy database. And you can dig through the Transatlantic Slave Trade Database on the Slave Voyages website.

About the Reporter

Kayla Stewart is a freelance journalist and a graduate student in the Global Journalism program at New York University. Originally from Houston, TX, she is based in New York City. Kayla has contributed to Heated by Medium by Mark Bittman, World Politics Review, Civil Eats, Latino USA, Zora, Houstonia Magazine, and others.

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