The seven-episode series is filled with food, jazz, and history.

By Nina Friend
June 27, 2019
Meredith Food Studios

It’s been a few months since Food & Wine announced that chef Marcus Samuelsson would be releasing Our Harlem: Seven Days of Cooking, Music and Soul at the Red Rooster with Marcus Samuelsson, a seven-part audio cookbook about Harlem’s food, culture, politics, and history. The Audible Original, available exclusively from Audible, becomes available for download today. We listened to the full series and found it immersive, educational, and entertaining—not to mention packed with great recipes. Our one disclaimer: don’t listen on an empty stomach. The sound of frying chicken is too much to handle. 

In the series, Samuelsson acts as the tour guide of Harlem, introducing listeners to some of the neighborhood’s most influential people, like Dapper Dan and Melba Wilson, and places, such as La Marqueta and the Apollo Theater. The episodes, which are organized by days of the week, include one recipe that Samuelsson makes with his guest. Over dishes like short ribs, pescado in banana leaves, and mac and greens, Samuelsson facilitates conversations that shed light on Harlem’s culinary heritage, cultural history, and creative community.

Courtesy of Audible.

“When you read something that’s one experience, but when you hear voices and really strong narrative, it comes off in a completely different way,” Samuelsson told Food & Wine. “And we wanted to present something that was of the community, for the community, by the community.”

The series touches on everything from the impact of the Great Migration to what it was like when President Obama came to dine at Samuelsson's restaurant, Red Rooster. Every guest adds their own unique flavor to the larger conversation. “This is a way to restore a predominantly African-American neighborhood and its story,” Samuelsson said. 

Through seven hours of storytelling, Samuelsson hopes to bring listeners to a part of town that holds a special place in his own story. “I really wanted to showcase that I’m here because the community pushed me and informed me,” Samuelsson said. “And these are some of the people who are part of that journey.”