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Jessica B. Harris

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Information about Jessica B. Harris

Profile image of Jessica B. Harris

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Culinary Historian
English Professor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Okra
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Winter
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Senegal, West Africa, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, Paris, France, New Orleans, Louisiana
Favorite Quote:
Cool.

Birthplace

Born:
3/18/1948
Birth Location:
New York, New York

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Culinary Historian
English Professor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Okra
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Winter
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Senegal, West Africa, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, Paris, France, New Orleans, Louisiana
Favorite Quote:
Cool.

Birthplace

Born:
3/18/1948
Birth Location:
New York
See how Jessica B. Harris is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Educator and culinary historian Jessica Harris was born in Queens, New York on March 18, 1948. Harris attended the United Nations International School from 1953 until 1961, and then went on to the High School of the Performing Arts, where she graduated in 1964. After high school, Harris attended Bryn Mawr College, earning her A.B. degree in French in 1968. While there, she spent her junior year abroad in Paris. She returned to France in 1968, attending the Universite de Nancy for a year, and then earned her master’s degree from Queens College in 1971. Harris earned her Ph.D. from New York University in 1983.

After returning from the Universite de Nancy, Harris began working as a lecturer in the department of romance languages at Queens College in 1969. She has remained there throughout her career, now working as an associate professor in the English department. Harris has also devoted her career to cuisine, writing on foods from around the world, often with a focus on African and Caribbean flavors. She has written several books, including The Welcome Table: African-American Heritage Cooking and Iron Pots and Wooden Spoons: Africa’s Gifts to New World Cooking. She has also contributed to numerous other books as well as written articles for Food & Wine and The New Yorker among others.

Harris has been honored numerous times for spreading the word of African and Caribbean cuisines around the world. Some of her awards include an appreciation award from Walt Disney World Epcot Center, the Heritage Award from the Black Culinarians, and the Food Hero award from Eating Well Magazine. She has also appeared on numerous televisions programs, including Good Morning America and The Today Show.

See how Jessica B. Harris is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jessica B. Harris' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jessica B. Harris lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jessica B. Harris talks about her maternal ancestry, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jessica B. Harris talks about her maternal ancestry, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jessica B. Harris talks about her maternal great-grandfather
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jessica B. Harris talks about her mother growing up in a family of ten children
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jessica B. Harris talks about her maternal grandmother's experiences on the SS America in the 1950s
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jessica B. Harris talks about her mother's education and work
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jessica B. Harris talks about her paternal ancestry
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jessica B. Harris describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jessica B. Harris contrasts her maternal and paternal families
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jessica B. Harris describes her father's educational experiences in Tennessee and New York
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jessica B. Harris describes her how her parents met in Brooklyn, New York, New York
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jessica B. Harris talks about her father's employment and real estate interest
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jessica B. Harris recalls her family's purchase of a house in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jessica B. Harris describes her earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jessica B. Harris describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Jessica B. Harris describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jessica B. Harris talks about attending the United Nations International School in New York, New York
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jessica B. Harris talks about her friendships from United Nations International School in New York, New York
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jessica B. Harris explains how her love of travel and cosmopolitan outlook developed at the United Nations International School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jessica B. Harris talks about her teachers and activities at the United Nations International School in New York, New York
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jessica B. Harris reflects upon changes to the United Nations International School after its relocation
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jessica B. Harris reflects upon portrayals of Africa during her childhood in the 1950s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jessica B. Harris reflects upon her friendships from the United Nations International School and their influence on her cultural perspective
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Jessica B. Harris talks about her transition to the High School of Performing Arts in New York, New York
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Jessica B. Harris describes her friendships and diction class at the High School of Performing Arts in New York, New York
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Jessica B. Harris describes her experiences at High School of Performing Arts in New York, New York, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jessica B. Harris describes her experiences at High School of Performing Arts in New York, New York, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jessica B. Harris talks about her transition to a less sheltered life when she started attending High School of Performing Arts in New York, New York
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jessica B. Harris reflects upon her career options growing up
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jessica B. Harris explains her decision to attend Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jessica B. Harris talks about being admitted to Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jessica B. Harris recalls learning about the underpinnings of racism at Bryn Mawr College
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jessica B. Harris talks about her experiences studying abroad in Paris, France in 1966 to 1967
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Jessica B. Harris describes a racial incident she experienced while studying abroad in Paris, France
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Jessica B. Harris describes the longstanding friendship she formed with her host family while studying abroad in Paris
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Jessica B. Harris reflects upon her experiences and activities at Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jessica B. Harris recalls her graduate studies at Nancy-University in Nancy, France
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jessica B. Harris describes teaching French in the SEEK Program at Queens College in New York, New York
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jessica B. Harris talks about her departure from and return to the SEEK Program at Queens College in New York, New York
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jessica B. Harris talks about her theater writing in the 1970s
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jessica B. Harris talks about her experiences as a journalist and her friendships with African American writers
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jessica B. Harris talks about her travels to Senegal in the 1970s and travel writing
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jessica B. Harris talks about writing her first book
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Jessica B. Harris recalls the impetus for her first book
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Jessica B. Harris talks about writing her first cookbook 'Hot Stuff: A Cookbook in Praise of the Piquant'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Jessica B. Harris recalls learning about the culinary history of chilies for her first book 'Hot Stuff: A Cookbook in Praise of the Piquant'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Jessica B. Harris talks about the origin of her second book 'Iron Pots & Wooden Spoons'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Jessica B. Harris talks about her cookbook, 'Iron Pots & Wooden Spoons' and the connection between food and the African Diaspora
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Jessica B. Harris talks about her cookbooks 'Sky Juice and Flying Fish' and 'Tasting Brazil'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Jessica B. Harris describes connections between food, religion and culture in the Caribbean and Brazil
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Jessica B. Harris describes the influence of the African Diaspora upon North American culture and cuisine
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Jessica B. Harris talks about African history that frames 'The Africa Cookbook: Tastes of a Continent'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Jessica B. Harris reflects upon the history and cultural connections discerned by studying food
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Jessica B. Harris talks about her travels to Haiti and perspective on Haitian culture
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Jessica B. Harris describes the impetus for her book 'Beyond Gumbo: Creole Fusion Food from the Atlantic Rim'
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Jessica B. Harris reflects upon the international aspects of a Creole identity
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Jessica B. Harris talks about the motivation for her book 'A Kwanzaa Keepsake'
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Jessica B. Harris reflects upon the symbolism of the table for African American culture
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Jessica B. Harris describes her hopes for the African American community, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Jessica B. Harris describes her hopes for the African American community, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Jessica B. Harris reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Jessica B. Harris reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Jessica B. Harris describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Jessica B. Harris reflects upon the importance of conversation
  • Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Jessica B. Harris narrates her photographs