Skip to main content

Food historian, author brings ‘High on the Hog’ to UW-Stevens Point campuses

October 13, 2022
Culinary historian, educator and best-selling author Jessica B. Harris
Culinary historian, educator and best-selling author Jessica B. Harris will speak at UW-Stevens Point campuses Oct. 25-26. (Image by Rog Walker)

Jessica B. Harris, a culinary historian, educator and New York Times best-selling author, will speak at UW-Stevens Point campuses Oct. 25-26. Her evening presentations are free and open to the public.

Harris wrote “High on the Hog,” an award-winning book that was the basis for an acclaimed Netflix series by the same name.

She is considered a ranking authority on foods and foodways of the African Diaspora. A masterful storyteller and acclaimed scholar, she uses narrative history to engage readers and audiences. She was author, editor or translator of 18 books, including 12 cookbooks.

Harris will speak at 6 p.m. on these dates, topics and locations:

  • Tuesday, Oct. 25 – “Hawkers to Caterers to Restaurateurs: Pathways to Wealth in the African Atlantic World” at James F. Veninga Theater, UW Center for Civic Engagement, UW-Stevens Point at Wausau
  • Wednesday, Oct. 26 – “Same Boat Different Stops: Culinary and Cultural Connections in the African Atlantic World” at Michelsen Hall, Noel Fine Arts Center, UW-Stevens Point

Registration is required for the free event at Some of Harris’ books will be available for purchase and signing.

UW-Stevens Point is able to bring Harris to Central Wisconsin because she and Chancellor Thomas Gibson worked together at City University of New York. “Jessica was on the search committee that hired me at Queens College/CUNY approximately 17 years ago. We immediately connected for our shared view of supporting student success, and as you guessed, good food,” said Gibson, describing her as a colleague, mentor and trusted friend. 

“I have been privileged to have experienced her carefully narrated culinary experiences in her home, Martha’s Vineyard and New Orleans. Jessica is a cultural treasure and her gift to us all is through her writings, speaking and preservation of the origins of African American food pathways and its impact on the world today,” he said.

Harris was named to the 2021 TIME Most Influential People list and won the James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020.

She consults internationally, is leading the Culinary Institute of America’s team to establish an African Diaspora concentration and worked with the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture, conceptualizing its cafeteria.

She holds degrees from Bryn Mawr College, Queens College/CUNY, The Université de Nancy, France, and New York University.

Her visit is part of the 120-year celebration of home economics at UW-Stevens Point, which includes several events this fall.