These Kwanzaa recipes blend both Southern and Jamaican family favorites.

Merging Traditions

A Kwanzaa Menu

A buffet of fruit and vegetable dishes acts as the main event for Sharon and Darrell Green's holiday meal, while Black Cake is always the star dessert. It's a fabulously rich confection, a part of Sharon's Jamaican heritage, and one of the best fruitcakes you'll ever taste.

"I enjoy sharing the flavors of my childhood. Black Cake is easy to make," Sharon says. "The key is soaking the fruit. The longer you soak it, the better the flavor and texture of the cake. Some in my family start soaking the fruit several months ahead."

In addition to adoring the fruitcake, Sharon and Darrell's sons, Khalfani and Azikiwea, love the sweet, pungent flavor of a beverage Sharon makes from fresh ginger. They call it Ginger Beer. The drink tastes like ginger ale without the fizz. "It's easy to keep some on hand to serve--hot or cold--when friends visit," says Sharon.