We’re coming up on one year since lockdowns started, which seems almost inconceivable. On top of that, it’s the dead of winter, and if you’re anything like me, you may also be fighting seasonal depression in addition to the pandemic blues. Needless to say, I’ve been struggling. I’m choosing not to dine out (although I’m still supporting takeout!) for community health reasons, so I’ve decided to take that money and use it in my kitchen. That means I’m investing in everything from cookbooks to pantry items to cookware.
It’s become increasingly important to me to have my space be a celebration of Black joy. Each morning, I light up at the sight of my collection of Black authored cookbooks neatly stacked in the window of my kitchen. Whether I’m brewing a cup of Hella Tea’s Don’t Gimme No Bammer Tea or reaching for my bottle of EXAU olive oil when I’m frying my morning eggs, I’m constantly reminded of the beauty and resilience within my community.
If you’re also spending more time and money on home cooking, I’d like to encourage you to seek out and support Black-owned businesses. And this approach should not just be limited to this month, but all year round. Be it restaurants, recipes, or brands, February should be a part of the journey.
With that in mind, here are some of my favorite Black-owned food and home decor items that you can support—although there are so many more to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a new sauce, a set of colorful wine glasses, or a good snack, I’ve got you covered so scroll ahead to shop them all.
We’re recommending these products because we actually use, and like, them. Things you buy through our links may earn us a commission.
Exau Olive Oil
Founders Skyler Mapes and Giuseppe Morisani make high quality extra-virgin olive oil from Calabria. My favorite, Avus, has the perfect grassy-meets-bitter flavor ideal for frying an egg, toasting up bread in the afternoon, or tossing a salad for dinner.
Inspired by the colored glassware of her grandmother’s Sunday night dinners, Stephanie Summerson Hall created Estelle Colored Glass. Hall describes her product as “jewels for your table”, and she’s right, her lilac stemware collection sits royally in my dining room.
During quarantine, I got into the habit of pre-making pancakes and refrigerating or freezing them. This habit was inspired by my sister’s fiance, who lives an active life and doesn’t always have the time to cook breakfast every morning.
Whether you run a tight schedule during the week or you want to treat yourself to morning pancakes, June Baby’s ancient grain pancake mix is the way to go. With a mix of locally sourced ingredients, all you need to add is butter, milk, honey and eggs at your dietary discretion.
Since working from home, I’ve been trying to recreate that intimate coffee shop co-working atmosphere in my own space. That means stocking up on as many ceramic mugs and cups I possibly can, like these two elegant cups from Goodee, a Black-owned decor shop I love.
Black Girl Baking
Jerelle Guy’s Black Girl Baking is one of my absolute favorite cookbooks and I think everyone should have a copy. Period. From the cover to the first page to the last, you’re transported into Jerelle’s world through beautifully shot photographs and exciting yet approachable recipes. Her plum chai pie recipe is definitely a must-try.
Sister shop to Sincerely Tommy, Raini Home is bringing handcrafted minimalist furniture and objects to Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy neighborhood. I explored the store last week, and was drawn to this pitcher. Use it for orange juice, water, or add in a few fresh flowers to have it double as a vase.
Vegetable Kingdom: The Abundant World of Vegan Recipes
Bryant Terry’s Vegetable Kingdom has over 100 flavor-driven recipes to teach you the basics of creating a delicious vegan meal. With innovative ideas devoted to ingredients ranging from collard greens to beans to scallions, Bryant breaks down his clever techniques so we can incorporate them in our kitchens. I’m excited to try his Dirty Cauliflower recipe which features porcini mushrooms, tempeh, and tamari.
Tea connoisseur and entrepreneur Chantrelle Edward is the mastermind behind Hella Tea. She celebrates her Oakland roots and deep love for Bay Area hip hop by naming her blends after West Coast rap legends, artists, and activists. As a fellow Oakland native, she transported me right back home.
Felton & Mary's
Inspired by the vibrant legacy of Campbell BBQ, the Portland restaurant beloved for their Texas-style barbecue, the Campbells continue their family tradition by selling original spice rubs and sauces. Use the classic rub to spice up meats, fish, or veggies while the sauces are ideal for dipping, glazing, or making a marinade.
Affouet Price’s beverage company, Hibisbloom is based in Portland, Oregon. Inspired by the traditional recipes of her native Ivory Coast, Price created the brand as a way to share Bissap, a glass hibiscus flower beverage that’s commonly enjoyed after work, during happy hours, or even made into popsicles.
If quarantine has taught me anything, it would definitely be to always, “HAVE SNACKS ON DECK!” Yolélé Fonio chips deliver vibrant and bold West African flavors in every bite. I recommend the variety pack to see which one you like the best. They’re great stuffed in a sandwich, dipped in salsa or hummus or even baked in your next batch of nachos.
Arawak Farm is inspired by the rich history of indigenous folks in South America who settled in the Caribbean. Through the production of pepper sauces, dry rubs, and fruit spreads, owner and creator Lloyd Vassell shares this vibrant history with his customers. Made with a blend of mango, pineapple, fresh vegetables, herbs and habanero pepper, the sauce is smooth, creamy and ideal for dips, spreads, or marinades.
Creole Me Up
Look no further for all of your pickling needs, Elsy Dinvil has got you covered. Dinvil grew up cooking in Jérémie, Haiti, and launched Creole Me Up with the goal of providing chemical and allergen-free plant-based products with rich flavors from her Haitian culture and background. Dinvil’s Pickleez are meant to go on any dish you want to add some sass to, such as barbecued meat, sauteed vegetables, tuna salad or sandwiches.
To continue cooking with Dinvil, check out her cookbook, Cooking With My Mother.
Danny's Nut Butter
At the beginning of the pandemic, Flatbush native Danny Castaneda started his nut butter company. Since then, he’s expanded his operations with the mission to destigmatize the health food market and make artisanal foods that are accessible and relatable to communities of color. Danny’s cashew almond nut butter spread across a rice cake with sliced bananas and a drizzle of honey is one of my go-to afternoon snacks. Highly recommend.
Lavi Spicy Peanut Butter, inspired by a Haitian family recipe, is transforming lives in Haiti by creating jobs, linking small farmers to economic opportunities, and bringing nutritious snacks to schools. The spread is great on toast, in breakfast smoothies or with any other dish in need of an extra kick. I also love adding it to cupcake or cookie recipes in place of plain peanut butter.
Egunsi Foods is a New York-based company producing ready-to-heat food, derived from classic West African dishes. All soups are vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free. The best part? You can enjoy them hot, chilled or even use them as simmering sauces for quick meals.
Trade Street Jam Co.
Chef and entrepreneur Ashley Rouse is the creative behind Trade Street Jam Co. Her Brooklyn-based company creates fruit forward vegan jams that are high in flavor and low in sugar. Besides spreading them on bread, they’re also ideal for glazes, dressings, bbq sauces, craft cocktails, overnight oats, and more.
Shaquanda Will Feed You
Named after Andre Springer’s drag persona Shaquanda, this line of hot sauces is inspired by their Barbadian heritage. The ooomami, made with caramelized onions, black garlic, balsamic vinegar, and habaneros is great with steak and mushrooms. And the hot pepper sauce goes on just about anything. I keep it handy for my tacos, grain bowls, and fried eggs.