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'Celebrating our stories': New magazine is devoted to Black women in food

"I truly believe that Black women are the architects of kitchens and cuisines in this country throughout history and in many countries throughout the world."
/ Source: TODAY

In so many ways, Black women have shaped America's culinary landscape, but even with the dozens of magazines covering food and wine, there hasn't been one about Black women in the industry — until now.

The first issue of For the Culture, a biannual magazine launched by a Black woman, and written, photographed and illustrated all by Black women, is available to purchase online now. Its creator, pastry-chef-turned-food-writer Klancy Miller, sat down with TODAY's Sheinelle Jones, along with several stars of the first issue to discuss the project.

Dr. Jessica B. Harris appears on the cover of the first issue of For the Culture food magazine.Kelly Marshall / For the Culture

"I worked in Paris at a bakery in a restaurant, and I loved it, but I also realized that I wanted to work outside of the restaurant," Miller told Jones.

Noticing the dearth of food and wine stories focused on Black women prompted her to try something new.

"I've never seen a lot of focus on Black people in general, but specifically Black women," Miller said. "I truly believe that Black women are the architects of kitchens and cuisines in this country throughout history and in many countries throughout the world. So I wanted to create a publication that would center our experiences, our expertise and our voices in relationship to food and wine."

In the first issue, an illustration by Simone Martin-Newberry accompanies "A Recipe for Okra Soup," a poem by Alisha Sommer.Simone Martin-Newberry / For the Culture

"There's a quote that Toni Morrison has said which is, 'If there is a book that you want to read, write it,'" she added. "I felt like this is something I want to read."

A little over a year ago, Miller started a crowdfunding campaign and asked for submissions to the magazine. The first issued featured 35 contributors and culinary historian, cookbook author and professor Jessica B. Harris on the cover.

A photo of Doro Wot and Dulet with a side of sour cream accompanies an article called "Cooking in the Motherland" by Hirut Haleff.Hirut Haleff / For the Culture

"I want people to feel inspired to learn something about a person they didn't know about before," Miller said of her hopes for the publication. "If you have never made a Somalian meal, I hope you'll try one of the recipes. So I want people to feel like their curiosity is being sated."

Krista Scruggs, a Vermont-based farmer and owner of Zafa Wines, profiled in the first issue sees the magazine as a teaching opportunity.

"What this does is just educate people that (Black women) are nuanced in every way, from food into wine," she said. "I think it is finally us having space and holding space when everyone else has but us, or that we better fight harder to have our voices heard."

Mashama Bailey, award-winning executive chef and partner of The Grey restaurant and market in Savannah, Georgia, also featured in the magazine, told Sheinelle being a Black woman in food has felt "lonely" at times. "I don't think that there are many of us, and it's really been an eye-opening journey to meet people."

The Grey chef Mashama Bailey is featured in the "Questionnaire" portion of the magazine's first issue.Chia Chong / The Grey

Home cook and food blogger Angela Davis, aka The Kitchenista, is especially proud to be in the issue because of her 6-year-old daughter.

"To flip through this magazine, and it was just picture after picture of Black and brown women, and food … it's nice it's been it's all about us," she told Sheinelle.

Angela Davis aka The Kitchenista is featured in a conversation with chef Kia Damon entitled "Give Food Bloggers Their Flowers... Now."Courtesy of Angela Davis

Miller added, "We're celebrating our stories, celebrating each other."

The first issue of For the Culture is available to purchase online, and Miller is working on getting in bookstores soon, as well.