What’s Cooking at YPL for Black History Month?

On Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 3 PM, members of our YPL staff will be teasing your taste buds with 6 Soulful Recipes for our Black History Month Potluck. We have chosen a variety of dishes that hail all the way from Ghana to America’s Deep South. Watch us prepare this scrumptious buffet via Zoom. You can pick up the recipe books and some select spices at your YPL branch. If you have any questions, please call (914) 375-7966 and ask for Ana or Eileen, who will be happy to help! 

Don’t forget to check out some of our favorite cookbook titles below!


Soboro African Drink


Fresh ginger 
Hibiscus leaf 
Skin of 1 pineapple
Dried chili peppers
Grains of Selim (or Hwentia)

Instructions: Add ingredients to water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain; add sweetener and ice if you like it cold. Enjoy!



1lb (2 cups) black-eyed peas
½ of a large red onion (or 1 medium)
50 grams ginger root
2 chili peppers
½ of 1 Maggie shrimp tablet (optional)
Oil for deep frying
Salt to taste

Instructions: Soak black-eyed peas and peel them. Add to a blender with 1⁄4 cup water, onion, ginger, peppers, and salt. Blend until smooth. Heat oil and drop spoonful of batter.

Southern Collard Greens


1 bunch of collard greens
1 tablespoon olive oil
1⁄2 onion diced
3 garlic cloves diced
3 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 fully-cooked smoked turkey neck (can also use smoked turkey wings)
Seasoning (optional: salt, pepper, vinegar, hot sauce)

Instructions: Remove stems from the collard green leaves. Wash the collards several times in cold water to remove any dirt and grit. Rinse well and set aside.
Pour one tablespoon of olive oil into a large pot and sauté the chopped onions and garlic until tender. Add the chicken broth, red pepper flakes, and turkey neck and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for about 20–30 minutes.
Add the collard greens. Simmer covered for about 45–60 minutes or until your desired tenderness is reached. Season to your preference (salt, pepper, hot sauce, etc.).



1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Instructions: Mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients in two separate bowls. Pour in a greased 8×8 pan, and bake at 400 degrees for 20–25 minutes.

Southern Fried Chicken

1 whole chicken, cut into 10 pieces
1½–2 teaspoons salt (adjust
to taste)
1⁄2 –1 tablespoon hot sauce
3–4 cloves garlic, crushed
2–3 teaspoons creole seasoning
(mixture of paprika, onion powder, garlicpowder,
white pepper, cayenne pepper, dry thyme, oregano, and parsley)
4 cups buttermilk

(Chicken Coating)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons creole seasoning
1 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)

Instructions: Season the chicken pieces with salt, garlic, hot sauce, half of the creole seasoning; add the buttermilk. Marinate for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator.
Whisk the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, and rest of the creole seasoning and coat the marinated chicken, shaking off any excess flour. Let the chicken rest for about 10–15 minutes while heating the oil to 375 degrees F.
Using tongs, place the chicken in the hot oil in small batches. Fry the chicken until golden brown, turning every 10–20 minutes. Drain the chicken pieces on paper and transfer them to a wire rack. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces.



1 (1 pound) sweet potato
1⁄2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1⁄2 cup milk
2 eggs
1⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust

Instructions: Boil sweet potato in skin. Cool under cold water, remove and discard the skin, and break apart in a bowl. Add butter, then stir in sugar, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Pour filling into an unbaked pie crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 55–60 minutes.

Titles to “Checkout”

Smithsonian Magazine Highlight: 

“How Enslaved Chefs Helped Shape American Cuisine”