MLK Celebration Dinner Recipes

Celebrate the role of food and fellowship within the annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration at Syracuse University! Below, you will find recipes for six of the traditional dishes typically served at our annual in-person dinner. These dishes were prepared by Chef Dreamer Glen-Johnson and Chef Sleyrow Mason, both vendors at the new Salt City Market in downtown Syracuse, who offered their unique perspectives on these classic dishes.

Scroll to the bottom of the page to learn how you can pre-order these dishes directly from Salt City Market vendors, to enjoy before the 2021 MLK Celebration on Sunday, Jan. 31.



Black-Eyed Peas with Smoked Turkey

These are also known as cowpeas. Black-eyed peas were brought to America from Africa. They lasted during the dreadful Middle Passage and adapted quickly to the southern environment. As part of the diet, they provide essential vitamins and minerals.

Click here to download the Black-Eyed Peas with Smoked Turkey recipe!


Soul Collard Greens

Greens were often prepared by cleaning a mix of collard, mustard, and turnip greens. They were cooked with bacon drippings, ham hocks, or neck bones, with seasonings as basic as salt and pepper. Sunday dinners and meals of celebration were incomplete without this food icon.

Click here to download the Soul Collard Greens recipe!


Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Diets began to evolve when slaves entered plantations as cooks, giving them access to a larger array of ingredients. Because each new state had its own cultural influences, African dishes began to take on the qualities from that region. Rich and saucy dishes, such as macaroni and cheese, were influenced by the French accent from Louisiana.

Click here to download the Baked Macaroni and Cheese recipe!


Jalapeño Cornbread

Slaves took scraps of cornmeal and made quick cereals and breads out of them. This met physical needs with carbohydrates and added fiber.

Click here to download the Jalapeño Cornbread recipe!


Brown Bag Chicken

Fried chicken has been a part of soul food for as long as can be remembered. Frying was a means of using high heat to cook meat quickly. The breaded coating sealed in moisture during the process. Chicken scraps—such as feet, necks, backs, wings, and organ parts—were also considered unfit for the master.

Click here to download the Brown Bag Chicken recipe!


Roasted Spare Ribs

Barbecue originated as a result of cooking over an open fire or coals. The meat usually barbecued is pork. The ribs were considered unfit for the masters, and slaves took scraps and made it part of their diets.

Click here to download the Roasted Spare Ribs recipe!



Want to purchase your dinner from the pros? Chef Dreamer Glen-Johnson and Chef Sleyrow Mason are preparing these dishes for the entire community! You can preorder all of these traditional dishes for pickup at Salt City Market on the day of the 2021 MLK Celebration on Sunday, Jan. 31.

To order Black-Eyed Peas, Baked Macaroni and Cheese, or Brown Bag Chicken, visit Miss Prissy’s website!

To order Soul Collard Greens, Jalapeño Cornbread, or Roasted Spare Ribs, visit SOULutions website!

Check out all of Salt City Market’s vendors at


About Salt City Market

Salt City Market is about food, culture, and people building generational wealth doing what they love. Learn more at