Programs Offered

Edible Alphabet: Learn English through Cooking

Adults are invited to this FREE class for English language learners. Each week we read, write, and speak in English – and cook a meal together! The class is in the basement meeting room. To sign-up, call 215-685-9794, email, or visit

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A Taste of African Heritage: Tubers + Fruits…

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“The ancestors of African Americans brought wonderful food traditions to parts of the Caribbean, South America, and the southern states.”

“A Taste of African Heritage is a way of eating based on the healthy food traditions of people with African roots. This healthy way of eating is powerfully nutritious and delicious, and naturally meets the guidelines experts recommend for supporting good health.” – Oldways

Join us for delicious vegetarian dishes inspired by the African diaspora.

Led by instructor, Chef Shayla Felton-Dorsey. Shayla is a passionate Philadelphia chef whose focus includes community, culture and food.

A list of ingredients is linked here. We hope you’ll cook along with Chef Shayla!

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Edible Alphabet: Learn English through Cooking

Adults are invited to this FREE class for English language learners. Each week we read, write, and speak in English – and cook a meal together!

For more information, call, email or visit

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Edible Alphabet: Learn English through Cooking (Virtual)

Adults are invited to this FREE online English class. Each week we read, write, and speak in English–and cook a meal together (at our own homes, connected through video call). Free grocery pick up available.

Register at

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The Spirit of Soul Food

Join us as we celebrate the spirit of Soul Food by teaching its history and providing cooking demonstrations for some of the most popular soul food dishes: Fried Chicken (February 7th), Baked Macaroni and Cheese (February 14th), Collard Greens (February 20th), and Sweet Potato Pie (February 28th).

Soul Food has a history as rich as its flavors. It is a food tradition that began in the South where many ingredients were locally raised, grown and prepared by enslaved people. Soul food originated when enslaved people were only given leftovers and the undesirable parts of meat and other foods by their white plantation owners to eat. The Free Library wishes to celebrate the ingenuity and exceptional skill of these cooks who were able to create such delicious meals despite their very limited means, resources, and circumstances.

Register here!

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Free Library Culinary Literacy Center Open House

Visit the country’s first Teaching Kitchen in a Public Library! Learn more about upcoming programs and initiatives, check out our unique space, and meet CLC staff members.

Take the gold elevators to the 4th floor and we’ll see you in the kitchen!

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Plantains and Our Becoming

Eat plantains and revel in the poetry of Melania Luisa Marte. How do we learn to love ourselves, survive, and honor the ancestor?

In the book Plantains and Our Becoming, Marte, an Afro-Latina Dominicana from New York, writes to us in English and Spanish.

Through the exploration of themes like self-love, nationalism, displacement, generational trauma, and ancestral knowledge, this collection uproots stereotypes while creating a new joyous vision for Black identity and personhood.

Register at to join us at Lillian Marrero Library where artist Yannick Lowery is drawing on his culinary background to prepare both sweet and savory plantains. What does it mean for us to live our lives and eat our foods in the diaspora?

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Fritters: West Africa to Diaspora

Chef Tonii will prepare Savory Black-eyed Pea Fritters called Akara and Sweet Rice Fritters called Calas. Register at to join us.

Enjoy these fritters while reflecting on their cultural significance, the contributions of Africa, and people of African descent to cuisine throughout the diaspora.

Inspired by High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America by Dr. Jessica B. Harris and season 2 of the Netflix series High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America.

Black-eyed peas, one of the few African crops that could survive in this climate, has “…remained emblematic of Africans and their descendants in the United States…

Early Africans living here were chosen and taken for “…their knowledge of rice cultivation and their memories of a rice-based cuisine…” from places like “Senegal, where [folks] say that the Lord’s Prayer should be… “Give us this day our daily rice!

Check out High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America by Dr. Jessica B. Harris at the Free Library of Philadelphia.

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