Black Joy Through Food is a Sweet July series in collaboration with Black Women Photographers. This photo essay is shot and written by Haile Cole.
Black food and joy are about connection. This is especially true during the holidays. Here’s a look at two families’ experiences during dinner prep and mealtime. The first family, Omar, Kyle and Eva, finds that mealtime offers an opportunity to bond by working together. The second family—the Nash’s— finds that coming together at mealtime is an important way to slow down and touch base with one another amidst the hustle and bustle of their daily lives.
For Omar (pictured in the red and black plaid sweater), cooking as a family is an important part of gathering for a meal. “Cooking is a good way to bond and spend quality time. The act of doing it together and working on something together is a really cool family bonding experience.”
For this meal, Kyle enjoys sharing a taste of home. Eva helps peel and wash potatoes as they prepare Kyle’s recipe for curry chicken, Trinidadian style.
“Cooking is how I show love,” says Kyle. “If I want to let someone know that they mean a lot to me, I will cook for them.”
With all hands on deck, even Kylie, the family pet, is included in the holiday fun.
Giving thanks for the food and for one another before a meal is also an important moment of connection for Omar, Kyle and Eva.
For the Nash family, sitting around the dinner table is where the family works through important issues together, through prayer and conversation.
The Nash family lines up together to help each other prepare their plates. To them, cooking and food brings folks together. Often, food is the thing that gets family and friends to come and visit, especially around the holidays.
“Mealtime is when we put our arguments aside, laugh together, and share with each other,” says Cyrus, the Nash’s 15-year-old son.
Mealtime allows for connection and togetherness even in physical absence. Although returning home soon for her holiday vacation, the Nash’s oldest daughter Justus is away at college. They keep her picture on the dinner table so that she is still there despite the physical distance between them.