Today, we’re featuring in our series a few items from our Red Rooster Wall. These four items were taken off the shelves that hold our many treasured items that hold a deep meaning to either Harlem or my own personal journey.
Stop by our restaurant and look for these particular items on the wall and even find some other ones that may peak your interest.
Today, I’ve picked our boxing glove, my book of Amharic for Foreign Beginners, and my grandmother’s Swedish Cookbook, and James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time.
Each one of these items tells about my journey from birth all the way to where I am today in Harlem. I was born in Ethiopia where Amharic, a Semitic language, is spoken. Because of my early journey to Sweden, this book signifies my effort to once again learn the language of my heritage.
Clearly, my grandmother’s Swedish cookbook is very personal to me but it is on display at the Rooster so guests of my restaurant can also share in my culinary experience. It dates back to 1928 and even has my grandmother’s writing in it. It was her who first introduced me to cooking and sparked the flame of passion for cuisine that has yet to be extinguished. The book contains traditional Swedish recipes that I still look back to today.
James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, is a classic book from the 1960’s that documents the race relations that has shaped American history as well as touches on the relation between race and religion, particularly in Harlem. It is a moving and passionate novel that I would recommend to anyone.
Finally, the boxing glove brings us to Harlem and the Red Rooster itself! If you look closely you will see the poem inscribed on the glove, “We the hungry are driven by our passion. We have cooked so long, served so many, with so little. We are now qualified to serve you, the People of Harlem.” I wrote this on the glove for the opening of Red Rooster. It represents my thoughts and overall privilege of serving the people of Harlem and my hope to provide a restaurant that can live up to the legacy of Harlem.
Check back next this week for our first feature of a Red Rooster employee. Until then- Keep on rockin’ Harlem!