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Black History Month done right: Stony Brook University CulinArt dining celebrates with award-winning program of guest speakers, chefs, recipe contests and more

A series of educational and culinary events creates an intentional, thoughtful monthlong experience of learning, diversity and delicious food in which family recipes tell a complex cultural story.

Stony Brook University’s Black History Month has been a success thanks to collaboration between the CulinArt dining team, the Black History Month committee and the Faculty Student Association. A series of educational and culinary programming reflected the theme Sankofa! Owning Your Own Narrative. Sankofa is an Akan language of Ghana that translates to “return and get it,” (meaning going back to your roots then going out into the world).

Filmmaker Spike Lee kicked off the month with a lecture that touched on politics, parenting and the challenges of growing up as an African-American. “When I decided to make films, I wanted to show the truth,” Lee said.

From there, events featured a strong focus on food and community, including guest chef Lindsey Romain with a Soul Food menu including smothered pork medallions, honey butter cornbread, braised collards and more.

The Southern culinary traditions continued with guest chef Mavis-Jay “MJ” Sanders, a food truck owner and advocate for food justice in black and low-income communities. Sanders prepared chicken thighs in red-eye gravy, greens and herb grits.

A Stony Brook student, Reginald Ligonde, won the Black History Month recipe contest with his family’s mac ‘n cheese recipe, which was featured in the dining halls. To kick off the recipe contest, Dr. Jarvis Watson, interim chief diversity officer at Stony Brook, shared a family recipe, Southern banana pudding. Check out the culturally vibrant scenes and plates (and get some yearlong menu ideas as well!)

Contact Tara at [email protected]

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