Martin Luther King Day is over, but organizers of an effort to link pie with the holiday are now turning their attentions to popular online recipe sites in hopes of laying the groundwork for next year's celebrations.
"An urgent mission is to raise awareness nationally for online recipe destinations to add the MLK Holiday to their roster of special holidays," explains Luanne Stovall of Peace Through Pie.
While Martin Luther King Day doesn't yet have a signature food, Peace Through Pie participants believe the holiday's sustainability hinges on Americans developing culinary associations with the commemoration. They've nominated pie as the perfect holiday food, since its shape and ingredients symbolize inclusivity and diversity. Pie recalls King's Southern heritage, but almost every cuisine includes a crusted snack, they add.
Yet most eaters still aren't in the habit of seeking out recipes for Martin Luther King Day, a holiday that's now variously observed as a solemn day of remembrance, an exuberant day of service and a generic day off work. Stovall hopes recipe web sites will help prod home cooks into adding an edible dimension to their rituals.
Currently, none of the major recipe web sites list Martin Luther King Day in their holiday menu collections. At Allrecipes.com and Myrecipes.com, the alphabetical list skips from Labor Day to Memorial Day. Over at Epicurious, there aren't any MLK recipes between Mardi Gras and Mother's Day. Betty Crocker has a tab marked "African-American Holidays," but suggests its red snapper and bacon dip recipes are most appropriate for a Kwanzaa karamu (the traditional holiday feast) and Juneteenth festivities.
"It's shameful that one scans the holiday offerings on the sites and sees a black hole where the MLK Holiday should be," Stovall says. "It's a silent indicator of the need to open conversation over pie."