People who work up an appetite celebrating Black History Month in Pasadena on Saturday can assuage their hunger with a traditional African feast.
Habeebah Amir-Hameed and 10 students in her Authentic African Cooking Class are stewing, steaming and baking a variety of Nigerian dishes to serve at Jackie Robinson Park Saturday evening. The multicourse meal, which costs $5 per person, will conclude a day full of activities, including a parade, kiddie rides, gospel rap music, jazz entertainment and free body fat screenings.
Although much of Black History Month has been filled with events honoring the civil rights movement and dealing with contemporary political issues affecting the black community, "food is also something that can reacquaint African-American people with a portion of their culture," said Amir-Hameed, 51, of Altadena. "We lost a lot of our culture in this country."
Amir-Hameed, originally from Philadelphia, learned how to prepare African cuisine only two years ago. Her business took off from there. She began teaching five-week courses in Nigerian cooking, and soon opened up a catering service complete with entertainment, authentic costumes, African decor, and 12 chefs able to prepare courses from 17 regions of Africa.
Saturday's feast, which begins at 6:30 p.m. in the park's multipurpose room, will feature peanut butter soup; spinach cooked in tomato sauce; yams seasoned with fish; green peppers and onions; jellos, a rice dish; a Ghanaian version of carrot cake; navy bean pie, and traditional African drinks made from apple, lemon and ginger, or pineapple, grapefruit and ginger.
To reserve a place at the table, call the Jackie Robinson Center, (818) 791-7983. Tickets also may be purchased at the door. But beware: Amir-Hameed said she and her students are making enough for only 200 guests.