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West African Yam Harvest at Emory’s Michael C. Carlos Museum


(image courtesy of Michael C. Carlos Museum)

Next month, Emory University’s Michael C. Carlos Museum is hosting a week-long festival celebrating the yam in the daily lives of West Africans. The event will be held from Tuesday, October 4 through Sunday, October 9, and more details can be found here.

The event will kick off with a talk from Dr. Jessica Stephenson, the museum’s curator of African art, about yam festivals in Nigeria and Ghana and its dietary importance in the daily lives of West Africans, followed by a dance and drumming procession to the Emory Farmers Market.

Noted local chefs such as Miller Union’s Steven Satterfield, Cakes & Ale’s Billy Allin and former Watershed chef Scott Peacock will be on hand throughout the festival week to demonstrate dishes using yams and sweet potatoes, commonly associated to yams.

See the following press release below for more details:

ATLANTA, GA (September 19, 2011)—This fall, as part of the special exhibition programming for Divine Intervention: African Art and Religion, the Michael C. Carlos Museum and Emory Dining and Sustainability Initiatives celebrate the African yam and the Georgia sweet potato harvest with a series of programs focusing on these nutritious, versatile, and delicious fall foods.

The yam festival will highlight the importance of the yam in the ritual and daily life of people in West Africa and its celebration in art and dance. The week-long festival from October 4 through October 9 includes:

• Sweet and savory dishes created by African home cooks and some of Atlanta’s most exciting culinary masters including renowned Southern chef and author Scott Peacock, Steven Satterfield of Miller Union, and Billy Allin of Cakes and Ale.

• A talk titled Those Aren’t Yams, Those Are Sweet Potatoes: Culinary Confusion in the African-Atlantic World by Jessica B. Harris, author of Africa Cooks and High on the Hog.

• A variety of locally grown sweet potatoes and yams available at the Emory Farmers Market for sale.

The Yam Festival kick-off event is on Tuesday, October 4. Jessica Stephenson, Curator of African Art will deliver a lecture and after her talk, dancers and drummers from Giwayen Mata will perform and lead a yam festival procession to the Emory Farmers Market where farmers will offer locally grown yams and sweet potatoes. The festivities will end on Sunday, October 9.

West African Yam Harvest, October 4-9, Michael C. Carlos Museum Reception Hall, 571 South Kilgo Circle, Atlanta, 404-727-4282.

by Gene Lee, Food and More Blog

4 comments Add your comment

Alternative route

September 20th, 2011
4:43 pm

And wild yam is an outstanding alternative to that horse urine concoction PREMARIN for easing menopause symptoms – and no hormones (and no horses have to suffer).


September 20th, 2011
11:22 pm

A yam festival?

I think I’m busy that week.

carla roqs

September 21st, 2011
1:21 pm

i guess it is a good idea. ?? personally, i need the class on the difference between a yam and a sweet potato because i do not have a clue.


September 21st, 2011
3:35 pm

Interesting…..Grasshopper if you aren’t interested…it would be nice if you keep your comments…no one really cares. Can’t wait to hear the drums and watch the dances of my ancestiors!