10 Black Food Culture Trivia Questions and Answers to Inspire Your Team’s Taste Buds

Celebrating and learning about Black food culture is a great way (a delicious way!) to engage your team during your Black History Month celebrations. Trivia games are particularly useful in the age of remote work–your virtual meetings need something extra to get people’s interest.

10 Black Food Culture Trivia Questions and Answers to Inspire Your Team’s Taste Buds

Everyone loves soul food, but Black cuisine has a far richer history than the average person knows about. Trivia questions about Black food history not only bring out the competitive spirit in your team, but also serve as a gateway to understanding African American foodways and their pivotal role in shaping American culinary landscapes.

10 Black Culinary Trivia Question and Answers

  1. What traditional African dish is considered a precursor to modern-day Gumbo?

   – A. Jollof Rice (Try our Jollof Rice Virtual Experience!)

   – B. Ugali

   – C. Ful Medames

   – D. Fufu

 

Okra, introduced to America by enslaved West Africans, was originally termed “ngombo.” Over time, this term evolved into “gumbo,” initially referring to the vegetable itself, and subsequently to the well-known dish that incorporates it.

 

  1. What is the origin of the name ‘Hoppin’ John’ for the black-eyed peas and rice dish?

   – A. A famous chef named John

   – B. A folk character in Antebellum South

   – C. A brand of spices used in the dish

   – D. A traditional dance performed while cooking

 

There are various tales about the origins of the name “Hoppin’ John.” One story tells of an elderly man known as Hoppin’ John, who sold peas and rice on Charleston’s streets. Another suggests that the name comes from the excitement of slave children hopping around the table, eagerly awaiting the meal. However, most food historians believe the name likely stems from the French term for dried peas, “pois pigeons.” (Love black-eyed Peas? Try our Passport to Italy & Spain Virtual experience!)

 

  1. Gullah cuisine, known for dishes like shrimp and grits (Explore Shrimp and Grits history with us here), originates from which region of the United States?

   – A. Louisiana

   – B. Georgia

   – C. South Carolina Lowcountry

   – D. Texas

 

The Gullah-Geechee people are descendants of enslaved Africans who were brought to South Carolina’s Lowcountry and the Sea Islands of Georgia from regions such as Sierra Leone and Liberia.

 

  1. The Creole dish Jambalaya is primarily associated with which city?

   – A. Atlanta

   – B. New Orleans

   – C. Charleston

   – D. Miami

 

The precise beginnings of the dish remain somewhat unclear, but the prevailing theory is that it emerged from the blending of diverse ethnic groups in the port city of New Orleans.

 

  1. Barbecue ribs are a specialty in which African American culinary region?

   – A. The Lowcountry

   – B. The Deep South

   – C. The Midwest

   – D. The Northeast

 

Ribs didn’t become a barbecue staple until early 20th century. This development was influenced not by the allocation of leftover pig parts to slaves on plantations, but by the advent of industrial meatpacking, the introduction of mechanical refrigeration, and the emergence of commercial barbecue stands.

 

  1. The Caribbean Dish Callaloo is typically made using what kind of greens?

   – A. Collard Greens

   – B. Kale

   – C. Amaranth 

   – D. Spinach

 

Callaloo, also known as amaranth, is a versatile plant with tender leaves and grains. Its leaves have a unique flavor, slightly bitter with a hint of nuttiness, similar to spinach. The grains from the plant can be used in various ways, either toasted or boiled. This plant has been a staple in diets across the Americas, Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean for over 9,000 years.



  1. What is the name of the spice blend used in Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine which contains chili peppers, cumin, coriander, cardamom, and many other herbs and spices?

   – A. Zhug

   – B. Berbere

   – C. Chaak

   – D. Zataar

 

Berbere is a quintessential spice blend in Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine, known for its vibrant red hue and complex, fiery flavor. This iconic blend typically includes a mixture of chili peppers, garlic, ginger, dried basil, korarima, rue, white and black pepper, and fenugreek. However, recipes can vary by region and household. This spice blend is a key ingredient in many dishes, including the famous Doro Wat, a spicy chicken stew.

 

  1. Which dish is considered a quintessential soul food dessert?

   – A. Apple Pie

   – B. Red Velvet Cake

   – C. Sweet Potato Pie

   – D. Pecan Pie

 

While pumpkin pie is widely popular across America, especially at Thanksgiving, sweet potato pie is hands down the winner for most Black families. 

 

  1. Collard greens in soul food cooking are often flavored with what meat?

   – A. Chicken

   – B. Pork (such as ham hocks)

   – C. Beef

   – D. Turkey

 

Collard greens, a staple in soul food cuisine, are traditionally simmered with pork, particularly ham hocks, which infuse the greens with a rich, smoky flavor. This method of cooking collards is rooted in the Southern United States, where the use of pork, especially the less expensive cuts like ham hocks, was popularized due to its affordability and ability to impart deep flavors. The slow cooking process tenderizes the tough leaves of the collards while the pork adds a savory, hearty depth, making it a beloved comfort food dish in many households.



  1. Michael Twitty, a culinary historian, focuses on the intersection of food in which two cultures?

   – A. African and Caribbean

   – B. African American and Jewish

   – C. African and European

   – D. Caribbean and Southern

 

Perhaps the most well-known group of African Jews, the Beta Israel community in Ethiopia, has a history that dates back centuries. They have maintained a distinct Jewish identity despite being isolated from other Jewish communities. In recent years, there has been increasing interest in Jewish history and practices among various African communities, leading to religious conversions and the formation of new Jewish groups. This phenomenon is part of a broader exploration of identity and heritage in the African diaspora.

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