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    High on The Hog

    Tuscarora’s Interactive Field Trip on the History of Black Cuisine.
    Ryan Kwok
    Okra and rice

    On November 21, 2023,  students from around Loudoun County in the African American studies elective gathered in Tuscarora High School’s cafeteria for an exhibition of historic African cuisine. Led by Deblaree “Dolly” Roach and Valeria Austin, English and social science teachers who opened up the event to students taking African American history who are enrolled at Tuscarora High School, Loudoun Valley High School, Stone Bridge High School, and Riverside High School. 

    “High on the Hog is about how African cuisine shaped America,” Austin stated when discussing the event. First hosted at Stone Bridge High School during the 2022-2023 school year. Approximately 60 students attended the event and gave a variety of oral presentations. Students presented poetry, recipes, posters, and other types of presentations while explaining their food item. Typical food items students researched were Okra and rice, Shrimp and grits, Gumbo, and yam. 

    This year, Tuscarora High School hosted High on the Hog and had approximately 100 students attend. For the event this year, High on the Hog welcomed both African-American history students and culinary arts students to cook up some African cuisine. Events at the event included food tasting, poetry readings, and a celebrity chef appearance. The chief event was a presentation of a lemon pound cake made by one of the students from Tuscarora High School. Students tasted the delicious cake and had a great time. A poem by students called “The Colors” was read. The poem described how it felt to be around an African kitchen and eating African cuisine

    High on the Hog also featured a special celebrity chef, BJ Dennis. BJ Dennis, a cultural bearer and personal chef, originally appeared in the Netflix Docuseries High on the Hog. The show gives the history of how Senegalese food affected typical South Carolina cuisine. Dennis opened up Tuscarora’s rendition of High on the Hog with a speech detailing the history of the food to students and other guests. Dennis also reviewed all the food-tasting presentations and reviewed various original recipes. 

    Austin and Roach congratulate the students on their wonderful presentations and are preparing ideas for High on the Hog next year. Austin stated, “We hope to do High on the Hog at Riverside or Loudoun Valley next year to allow the students to experience different schools and meet a variety of people.” Austin and Roach also like to highlight that Tuscarora is the only school in the county that offers a dual African-American history and African American literature class to their students. As the event continues to be hosted at various schools in the county and the class continues to grow, High on the Hog will become a memorable field trip for all.

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