Soulwalk Community Cookbook looks to connect future generations through recipes

February 29, 2024

TAMPA, Fla. — Like many cultures, food often brings people together and creates special memories.

There will also be a community cookbook in honor of Black History Month alongside the city of Tampa’s Soulwalk Trail, which highlights Black communities through historical landmarks.

The cookbook will be filled with recipes highlighting African American cuisine and traditions.

One of the youngest cooks to submit a recipe is 12-year-old Larimar Padilla. She enjoys baking after watching her Grandma Hilda, who used to be a full-time baker in the kitchen.

“I really just watched her make cakes. And I saw her make all types of pastries,” said Padilla.

So, when the sixth grader heard about the city of Tampa’s Soulwalk Community Cookbook team looking for applications for traditional dishes, she created a video to share her grandma’s recipe.

“In a large bowl, you’re going to add your sweet potatoes,” explained Padilla in her video demonstration.

“It’s called Ladi Sweet Potato Bites. And I added my own twist to it by adding I can’t tell you the secret recipe. But it’s a little twist to it with some Hispanic flavors,” said Padilla.

And she said it was the history behind sweet potatoes and her love for Thanksgiving that had her choose this special dessert.

“Back when slaves were there, there weren’t a lot of options for them to have vegetables. So they took sweet potatoes, and they would just make their own twist to it,” explained Padilla.

“When you’re gathering at the dinner table, you’re just not having a meal, but you are creating legacies. You’re creating history and fond memories for the generations to remember. And so we don’t want this to be lost. We want the generations coming after us to be able to share this,” explained Soulwalk Community Cookbook co-chair Tina Walker.

Tina, along with Chair of the Soulwalk Community Cookbook Ida Walker, are excited to collect recipes like Padilla’s to share with future generations.

“We’re using families and their oral histories and the legacies around the dining table. So we want to be able to preserve that history, the same as we do with the locations of Soulwalk and these historical locations,” said Walker.

Tina even shared her own memories, which are sacred to her personal family history.

“Learning how to cut and cook collard greens, there is a technique to it. How to wash them, how to cut them, you know, very thin, how to roll on when you cut them. Those are memories that we have of a soul food meal that was pretty prominent in our culture.,” explained Tina.

And they both hope Soulwalk Community Cookbook will be a lasting legacy for future generations to read, learn from, and enjoy.

“We want the future generations to be able to appreciate what African Americans have contributed in the city of Tampa,” said Walker.

If you’re interested in sending in your recipe to be in the Soulwalk Community Cookbook, the deadline is Feb. 29.

to fill out the recipe submission form.

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