EP 42: Red // Yellow // Green: the Multi-Colored Food Traditions of Juneteenth
As We Eat turns our attention to the food culture of Juneteenth National Independence Day (or Juneteenth) - a long cherished celebration of the emancipation of enslaved Black and African-American people. Celebrated throughout the United States since 1865, June 19th is marked by lots of good food with a particular emphasis on the colors red, yellow, and green. Kim & Leigh go behind the scenes to explore and learn more about Juneteenth and its tasty traditions.
The Colorful Food History of Juneteenth
Juneteenth is an important day in American history, and it is often marked with large community and church celebrations punctuated with music, parades, and of course… lots of good food. For this episode, As We Eat turned to Black and African-American authors to learn about Juneteenth and its colorful food history, and discuss their enduring legacy of hope, community empowerment, and cultural identity.
The first Juneteenth Jubilee celebrations originated in Texas, and as some six million people migrated from the rural South after the American Civil War towards the Northeast, Midwest, and West, Juneteenth celebrations and its food traditions blossomed in cities like Harlem, Chicago, Cincinnati, and Detroit. As of 2021, 49 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have formally recognized the holiday in various ways. Juneteenth’s elevation to federal holiday is the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was adopted in 1983.
In order to best memorialize something, humans perform perhaps one of the greatest acts of human community building - share and eat food. And although Black culture doesn’t hold a monopoly on a rich community-based food culture, there can be little doubt about how African-American celebratory food traditions have formed a strong backbone of creating and maintaining a strong cultural identity under incredible odds. We dig deep to better understand and appreciate how Juneteenth food traditions embrace the cultures from all corners of the world from which people were enslaved, and pay homage to the past and the future with foods resplendent in red, yellow, and green.
Comfort Foods Transcript
Sources We Found Helpful for this Episode
Books We Think You’ll Enjoy Reading
Hog and Hominy Soul Food from Africa to America by Dr. Fredrick Douglass Opie
Black Smoke African-Americans and the United States of BBQ by Adrian Miller
High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America by Jessica B. Harris
Recipes You Really Need to Try
Corn bread by Chef Curl Ardee
Southern Corn Salad by Black People’s Recipes
Grits by The Soul Food Pot
Sweet Potato Pie from Whisk It Real Gud
Sweet Potato Cheesecake from Lenox Bakery
Candied Yams by Simply Lakita
Peas and Rice from Maple Points
Black Eyed Pea Salad from Savor and Sage
Black Eyed Peas and Sweet Potato Salad by Sweet Savant
Braised Collard Greens from Tia Mowry
Collard Green Salad from Black Girls Who Brunch
Coconut Collard Greens from Open Invitation Entertainment
Smothered Okra with Chicken and Smoked Sausage from Food is Love Made Edible
Episodes We Think You’ll Like
Join us in two weeks for the second installment celebrating Juneteenth and the influences of Black and African American culture and cuisine. If you’re enjoying the podcast, we would love to have you join our supporting subscribers. For just a few dollars, you can get access to exclusive content, including the Recipe Box Roulette “card game”, more in-depth articles, and recipes. You’ll also help keep our oven lights on!
We would love to connect with you
Do you have a great idea 💡 for a show topic, a recipe 🥘 that you want to share, or just say “hi”👋🏻? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
And please subscribe to As We Eat, Going Places. Eric and Leigh will be traveling in their converted van sharing stories of food culture from the road.
Thank you for listening to the As We Eat Podcast. This post is public so share it with a friend - or three :)