How Netflix’s High on the Hog Validates the Magnitude of African American Cuisine

A Vital Lesson on How African-American Cuisine Influenced American Food Culture

Robin A Henderson
6 min readOct 25, 2021
Image by Netflix

If you’re not familiar with Dr. Jessica B. Harris or her groundbreaking book, then you are missing a critical piece of American history.

Dr. Jessica B. Harris, a James Beard lifetime achievement award winner, wrote the quintessential book on America’s food history. High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America reexamines what we consider American cuisine through both the African and African-American lenses.

The same name is the basis for the Netflix docuseries High on the Hog.

In four groundbreaking episodes, the docuseries fills an important gap in America’s cultural history. Both the series and the book illuminate the ingenuity and resilience of African-American chefs who have shaped American cuisine since the first slave ships.

High on the hog is a term I often heard as a child.

“Oh, you’re eating high on the hog,” is how my mom referred to what she considered a fancy meal. “They’re living high on the hog” is how my older relatives would describe African-Americans with some level of status and wealth.



Robin A Henderson

I write about inclusive storytelling in Hollywood and diverse representation in wellness.