For Hannah Drake, it all started with a trip to Dakar, Senegal.

The author, poet, mother, and native Kentuckian was transformed by the communal experience of simply preparing and eating food with other women.

So occasionally, she gathers a group of women for dinner. All the women have to do is bring a dish, along with their mother or sister. The goal: To cook and eat a meal with their loved ones.

These are the kind of experiences Hannah Drake wants to foster. For her, it’s never really about the food. It’s about the stories.

Her dinner project is called Stories From The Hem Of My Mother’s Apron. She’s afraid there’s a generation of African Americans who aren’t cooking and documenting recipes. And she doesn’t want them to become a storyless generation. Drake sees food as a way to bridge a missing link to Africa as well as pass down recipes, culture, and stories to the next generation.

Get a glimpse into Drake’s kitchen on a Saturday afternoon as she connects with her daughter over cooking. Find out what Drake and her daughter learned about food and fellowship on their first trip to Africa, and why cuisine has a narrative and links us to home—wherever that may be.

Roxanne Scott, a reporter based in Louisville, KY, reported and produced today’s episode. She’s reported and produced pieces everywhere from The Bronx to the DR Congo for outlets such as the BBC, NPR, and Public Radio International.

Resources and credits:

Learn more about thought-provoking and community-building dinner series here and here.

Learn more about the African Heritage Diet here and here.

Visit Hannah Drake’s website.

Music for this episode is by Brakhage and Podington Bear.

Read Manchild in the Promised Land by Claude Brown.