This Netflix Series ‘High on the Hog’ Explores How African Food Transformed Food Culture In The U.S.
10th July 2021 by BOTWC Staff
10th July 2021 by BOTWC Staff
This show is MUST SEE TV!
A new Netflix series, “High on the Hog,” explores the way African food transformed the United States, Today.com reports.
“High on the Hog,” is a cultural exploration that fuses food, history and travel to explore and celebrate the nuanced history behind African food and its contribution to America. Based on the 2011 book of the same name by legendary food historian Jessica B. Harris, the new series is a deep dive bridging the gap between Africa and America for Black folks through food. Writer, chef and sommelier Stephen Satterfield serves as host in his first ever TV hosting appearance, giving viewers the context and foundation needed to truly understand the importance of Black cuisine.
“We have, for many years, been overdue for a serious look at the contributions that Black folks have had to food culture in the U.S. Ultimately, what we’re talking about is a chronicle of our identity. So often, in our country, the role and impact of Black people has been erased from the story. And we know that these stories have immense power,” Satterfield told reporters.
The four-part series chronicles Satterfield as he travels from Benin, West Africa and around the U.S., from South Carolina to Texas, New York, and Philadelphia, exploring the Black history of food in America. Interviews with notable chefs, historians, and cultural influencers give layers to the series, including gems like the difference between yams and sweet potatoes, the history of Black caterers in Philadelphia, how a Black chef helped popularize mac and cheese, and how rice plantations, built on slave labor, helped build America.
“They brought rice. The yams. Peas. Beans. Black-eyed peas. Fava beans. All those things that now join us are things that came with us. This is how our food, and their food, conjoin,” Harris tells Satterfield in episode one.
Harris said she immediately was behind creating a show based off of her book and contends that it’s long overdue.
“We’ve set the table and often cooked the meal and harvested the food. So at this point, it looks as though we may be getting a place at the table, and we certainly deserve it. And it’s been a long time coming,” Harris said.
Filmmakers Karis Jagger and Fabienne Toback serve as executive producers alongside Roger Ross Williams who served as director. Toback spoke to Variety about the inspiration behind creating the series.
“Writer Jeff Gordinier sent me the book. It was this beautiful connection to our love of food, and it made perfect sense. When I read ‘High on the Hog’ there was so much information that I had no idea about. And as a Black American, I thought, ‘If I don’t know about this, how many other people don’t know about this history,’” Toback said.
Both Jagger and Toback immediately knew they wanted to bring on Satterfield. They hope that viewers take away not only the contribution of Black people to American cuisine but also the history and activism rooted in the story. A story they hope gets passed down for generations to come.
“There’s also a really beautiful thing of passing the torch and I think that was part of the beauty of having Stephen. There was a passing of the torch from Jessica to Stephen and you see it with BJ Dennis and the greens, and in every episode, there’s a feeling that the next generation needs to take the story to the next generation. So, Stephen will pass the torch on, hopefully to my son, and on and on and on,” Jagger said.
Satterfield echoed those sentiments, also noting that the series to him isn’t just about food, but more about how Black people in America overcame through food.
“I love food. It really brought me to a place of deeper curiosity. I really began to see it as a way to better understand the world around me. And really the story of human beings...For African American people, the foundational relationship that we have with this country is one of servitude and forced labor. And that is rooted in agriculture, right? That is rooted in rice and the food that we eat. And so it is at times a difficult story to tell. But it is a true and necessary story to tell. And I think that the overarching theme and the vibe of the show is about our resilience,” said Satterfield.
You can stream “High on the Hog'' now on Netflix. Everyone needs to go watch it ASAP!Photo Courtesy of Netflix