Pépin Lecture Series, Recipes and Remembrances of Fair Dillard

Friday, November 20 at 12 pm, register here

Our second Pepin Lecture for the semester will feature Zella Palmer, chair and director of the Dillard University Ray Charles Program in African-American Material Culture, speaking on her book Recipes and Remembrances of Fair Dillard. The book is a compilation of research and recipes related to Dillard University, one of New Orleans’s historically black colleges and universities, and one that is central to the history of the Civil Rights Movement, education, and the cultural identity of the city. 

This cookbook shares over eighty years of international and indigenous New Orleans Creole recipes collected from the community, friends of the university, campus faculty, staff, and students, providing readers with a glimpse into the rich food culture of African-Americans in New Orleans. We were pleased to find that one of these recipes, Howard and Sue Bailey Thurman’s “12th Night Wassail” reflects a connection between Boston University and Dillard University.  In recognition of these ties, Dr. Katherine Kennedy, Director of Boston University’s Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground, Dean Kenneth Elmore, Associate Provost and Dean of Student Life, and the staff of the Thurman Center recorded this video demonstration of the recipe:

12th Night Wassail


  • 1 Gallon Apple cider
  • 2 4-inch sticks of cinnamon
  • 1 quart of orange juice
  • 4 tablespoons of whole cloves
  • 1 quart of pineapple juice
  • 4 tablespoons whole allspice
  • 1 cup of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of mace
  • 1 cup of lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 pint of sugar
  • 1 quart of canned spiced crabapples


Mix all fruit juices and spices together, heat slowly and simmer for 15 minutes, being careful never to bring to a boil. Add bright red canned spiced crabapples and continue heating 5 minutes longer. Put an apple for each serving in individual punch cups or silver bowl. Drink as you assemble around the fire to watch the glowing embers from the “burning of the holiday green.”

“We have served some variant of this recipe on each occasion since the Twelfth Night celebration was established in our home twenty-five years ago. Traditionally there must be the balance in taste of five fruits and five spices. However, the real ‘magic’ for success in the formula comes at the moment when the hostess stirs into the mixture deep thoughts and wishes for the happiness and well-being of the community of friends with whom we are all united, in every crack and cranny of our world.”

Howard and Sue Bailey Thurman

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