Hi! Welcome back to “Day In a Life of a Biracial Teen” My name is Ella Garrison and I will be sharing about how I embrace my Italian and Jamaican heritage through food!

Being biracial can come with some challenges, but one of the many things I love about being multiracial is my ability to experience two different cultures. At first, being both Italian and Jamaican made me feel as though I wasn’t fully accepted into either culture. However, on my journey, I was able to realize that I can participate in both as they are equally a part of who I am.

Luckily for me, both cultures have amazing food! As for my Italian side, we have made homemade pasta, pizza, sauces, and cookies! Flavors like garlic, oregano, parsley, and basil are the foundational tastes of Italian cuisine and I enjoy learning about cooking with them. Some of my favorite memories with my grandparents have been making pasta dough and putting it through the pasta maker to make our own spaghetti. Making Italian food from scratch has allowed me to better understand my Sicilian ancestors.

Similarly, Jamaican food is a strong part of bringing people together as well. Jamaican flavors include thyme, curry, exotic spices, hot peppers and onions. Some of my favorite Jamaican dishes include stew chicken, oxtail, coconut rice and beans, festival, and fried plantains. My grandmother loves to cook and I love to learn from her expertise. Smelling the aroma of her rich Jamaican food always has the ability to lure everyone to the kitchen.

At school, I had an opportunity to share the culinary gifts of each of my cultures. I chose to bring in Jamaican fried plantains and panettone (an Italian cake). It was amazing to be able to share both of my cultures at a school event that encouraged embracing different cultures. I was able to participate in this because I am a part of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee at my school. We promote an environment of the sharing and respect of all cultures and backgrounds through slideshows, announcements, and meetings to educate the student population about the importance of recognizing different nationalities and customs.

Overall, I am grateful to have two amazing cultures and the opportunity to learn about and be fully immersed in both of them.


By: Ella Garrison Project RACE Teens