Juneteenth (June Nineteenth) marks the date in 1865 when the news of emancipation finally reached Galveston, Texas. On this day, over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, nearly 250,000 enslaved people were freed.
Although America’s history has and continues to be blemished with senseless acts of violence, brutality, and inequality toward the Black community, today, Juneteenth serves as a national day of remembrance and honor. And in a historic moment, on June 16th, 2021 the United States Senate unanimously passed a bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.
Through joyful celebrations and soulful traditions, Juneteenth allows us to make space to pay homage to our ancestors by acknowledging their struggles and perseverance. And at the center of these celebrations are an expansive range of soulful recipes with deep-rooted histories as rich and diverse as the Black experience itself.
In the spirit of creating new traditions, the Juneteenth Virtual Cookout commences for its fifth year. Started by Meiko Temple (Meiko and the Dish) and Aaron Hutcherson (The Hungry Hutch) in 2017, this highly anticipated event now falls under Eat the Culture whose mission is to empower content creators, storytellers, and tastemakers that champion black foodways.
This year is unique as 19 Black food bloggers have come together to bring you recipes inspired by their favorite Black American cookbooks and their authors. Their heartfelt appreciation for their selected cookbook authors is expressed beautifully through the love letters that accompany each recipe. From a take on Toni Tipton Martin’s Jam Cake (Britney Breaks Bread) to Michael Twitty’s African Soul Rice Salad with Crispy Collards (Savor + Sage), this list is inclusive of main courses, side dishes, and drinks that honor the Black American food experience and the creators who continue to pioneer the space.
Have a look at the full list of recipes, and be sure to follow #JuneteenthCookout2022 on Instagram and Facebook to engage with the talented creatives and bloggers as they share additional content through the week.
From Our Shop
“I chose Jenné Claiborne’s Sweet Potato Soul because I’m inspired by her mission to infuse plant-based foods with traditional Southern flair. Jenné’s vegan soul food recipes are simple, creative, and wildly delicious with a modern, healthy twist on classic dishes. I chose to make her Purple and White Potato Salad because in black families, only the best cooks are allowed to bring the potato salad to the cookout and hers did not disappoint!” —Jessica Lawson, Big Delicious Life
“Jubilee is a celebration of culture and foods and how they intersect in taste, flavor, joy, and love. From the beautiful dishes to delectable baked goods, I’ve made my fair share of recipes from this book, and would be remiss not to celebrate this treasury of food for Juneteenth. This book embodies freedom through culinary expression and is the perfect culmination of recipes to rejoice!” —Britney Brown-Chamberlain, Britney Breaks Bread
“I’ve followed Vallery’s work for a while now, and I love the way she connects her incredible recipes to the story of her family history, her childhood in Louisiana, her life as a practicing attorney in Manhattan, and her remarkable determination to find success in food media. And especially as a fellow attorney-turned-baking blogger, Life Is What You Bake It was such an inspiring read. I chose to make a 6-inch cake version of Vallery’s Red Velvet Sheet Cake, linking her baking history with the Juneteenth tradition as a whole, and with my own love for small batch cakes!” —Chenée Lewis, Chenée Today
“I chose Cooking Solo because it was one of the first black-owned cookbooks I purchased for myself and it really helped me in grad school. Klancy’s recipes are so creative, and they showed me that meals for one do not have to be boring, unhealthy, or overly complicated. Her recipes and this cookbook were a very early inspiration to what is now Coined Cuisine!” —Shani Walker, Coined Cuisine
“Kevin Bludso’s new cookbook, Bludso’s BBQ: A Family Affair in Smoke and Soul, resonated with Marrekus and Krysten of Cooks with Soul because not only are they southern barbecue enthusiasts, but Krysten’s mother also grew up in Compton, California—the same city Kevin was born and raised in. Described as a love letter to the city, Kevin explains in his new book how he learned to barbecue by visiting his great aunt, “Granny” in Texas every summer. This appealed to Marrekus because he also spent summers as a child at his grandfather’s in Mississippi, where he would fill buckets of butter beans, purple hull peas, and collard greens that had been planted on his family’s land. Kevin’s memoir truly is a “family affair,” which makes it even more special to the husband and wife team.” —Marrekus & Krysten Wilkes, Cooks with Soul
“I chose Watermelon & Red Birds because it is a celebration of Juneteenth foods. Nicole A. Taylor blends storytelling, history, and world class cooking in a cookbook that I hope to pass down through generations!” —Jazzmine Woodard, Dash of Jazz
“I identify with Charity’s story. Like Charity, I am examining the health benefits of plant-based eating, by slowly incorporating more fresh vegetables into my diet. The recipes in Unbelievably Vegan use spices and sauces to build flavor. Her methods make eating plant-based fulfilling and enjoyable. Charity teaches us how to make classic homecooked dishes using vegan ingredients, from creamy macaroni and cheese to gooey caramel-covered sticky buns.” —Takera Gholson, Flights and Foods
“I chose Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ because I identify with the struggle of being a traditionalist while championing non-conformity in all aspects of life. Brother Scott demonstrates in order to grow as a pitmaster, father, leader, businessman, etc. you not only have to work extremely hard and go beyond your comfort zone, but you also have to make really hard choices including leaving parts of your past behind. Facing the duality of this everyday struggle excites me as I try to authentically honor my ancestors while challenging my peers to be progressive.” —Marwin Brown, Food Fidelity
“When I think about freedom and the Black food experience, I feel that visibility, expression, and innovation are extremely important. As a member of LGBTQ+ community, Son of a Southern Chef was one of the first cookbooks I had the pleasure of purchasing from a Black chef from my community. His vibrant and whimsical photography and inventive takes on recipes of his childhood showcase how he is able to bring his full self to his food. The authenticity and heart that he brings to each of his recipes have empowered me to be more bold and unapologetic in the content I bring forth.” — Geo Banks-Weston, Geo’s Table
“I chose Chef Kwame Onwauchi’s cookbook, My America, because he is an amazing culinary professional who advocates for diverse cuisines and voices. His debut cookbook is educational, soulful, and reflective of African and Caribbean traditions. I was excited to be chosen to highlight his work for this Juneteenth celebration. I have been a fan of his since he was a contestant on Top Chef, one of my favorite culinary shows. Cooking his Jamaican Beef Patty was an honor and I learned so much about this dish’s history because of him.” —Brittany Fiero, Her Mise En Place
“This Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Spicy Vegetable Relish is inspired by the Chakalaka and Cheddar Braaribroodjies recipe from Hawa Hassan with Juila Turshen In Bibi’s Kitchen cookbook. I believe this is a great recipe to bring to the Juneteenth celebration. I was an ambassador for the City of New Orleans in Durban, South Africa and I connected with the culture instantly.” —Kenneth Temple
“This year I had the honor to be assigned Grandbaby Cakes Cookbook and I couldn’t be more thrilled. When I initially started blogging, Jocelyn was one of the few black food bloggers I was aware of. I immediately fell in love with her recipes after trying her amazing Strawberry Shortcake and Lemon Pound Cake. I am so inspired by her and her work and I’m honored that I get to represent her Red Velvet Cake in this year’s Juneteenth lineup. She was actually one of the first bloggers that made me believe that I could actually turn my passion into a career. I am constantly inspired by her and all she continues to accomplish.” —Bianca Dodson, Lenox Bakery
“Before there was a Julia Child or Martha Stewart, there was Lena Richard, a trailblazing culinary hero with an empire that spans restaurants, catering, frozen food, television, and education. I want to pay homage to her legacy and book, The New Orleans Cookbook, because of her achievements in celebrating the black roots of Creole cooking throughout her work.” —Meiko Temple, Meiko And The Dish
14. Pig-Pickin’ Cake
“I fell in love with Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking the moment I read her dedication. “To pay homage to all of the enslaved women who didn’t get credit for their recipes because they couldn’t read or write”. This cookbook has more than delicious recipes. The narratives and stories elevate this cookbook to an oral history of southern baking. I can’t imagine a more perfect cookbook for a Juneteenth celebration. My pig pickin’ cake is a nod to an authentic southern summer BBQ dessert.” —Heather Alemu, My Sweet Precision
“I chose Carla Hall’s Soul Food by Carla Hall because Carla is an amazing chef who has a southern background that is reflected in her food. I also have a southern background, so her cooking and baking resonates with me. Carla Hall is someone who I have followed from Top Chef to The Chew and now, on Food Network. I had the pleasure of being on an episode of the Chew as a judge 4 years ago, and seeing her in person was the highlight of my career. For me, choosing her book was a “no-brainer.” Her cooking style embodies the soulful recipes of the Juneteenth celebration and I am so honored to be able to recreate her blackberry peach crumble pie.” —Monique Polanco, Peaches2Peaches
“When I think of the quote “I am my ancestors’ wildest dreams” I think of culinarian Michael Twitty, his documented culinary journey in The Cooking Gene—spanning from America to Africa—and the telling of our ancestors’ story in a way that had not been told before. As I started to become more interested in my family’s generational ways of cooking, his book was a huge inspiration in my own culinary journey which ultimately goes beyond cooking food but embracing the history of my family, honoring the kin I have never known and those I may never meet, and basking in the connection Black food has across the diaspora and beyond.” —Stefani Renée Thibodeaux Medley, Savor & Sage
“Bryant Terry’s Black Food is an anthology of the heart. He’s managed to curate a collection of writings and recipes that makes the reader feel as though they’re at a worldwide family reunion. This Grape Tarragon Spritzer has a delicate, yet bold flavor that is symbolic of the Black culture. We’re not shy about living out loud.” —Marta Rivera Diaz, Sense and Edibility
“Bryant Terry’s “All-Green Everything Salad” from his Vegetable Kingdom cookbook is a tasty, vibrant, healthful addition to a Juneteenth Cookout. It’s perfect to serve alongside richer dishes to balance them out. It’s also light, but filling enough to enjoy on its own.” —Candice Carter, That Green Lyfe
19. Rum Rum Punch
Like most folk in the know, my introduction to Marcus Samuelsson came from watching him on the Food Network. Every time I saw him, it was easy to pick up on how passionate he was about food. Marcus is what I like to call a “chef of the African diaspora.” In that, he has a flair for infusing African-based cultural food references into a style of cooking that is uniquely his own. And by doing so, Chef Samuelsson elevates his cooking, broadens our collective palettes, and furthers the conversation regarding the rich history of “Black” food. My wife Tatanisha and I visited his Harlem-based Red Rooster restaurant in 2019, and after the first bite, my respect for this James Beard award-winning chef was set in stone.
Marcus’s African roots are the connective tissue that has solidified my admiration for who and what he is. Further, after reading his Yes, Chef: A Memoir, I developed a broader sense of what makes Chef Marcus tick and what drives him. So, when my Eat The Culture fam approached me to be a part of this year’s Juneteenth celebration, it was an easy sell. My cocktail contribution was inspired by the Rum Rum Punch taken from Marcus Samuelsson’s The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem. With the addition of dried hibiscus flowers, I have created a cocktail worthy of being shared with friends and family as we celebrate this year’s Juneteenth. So, let’s raise a glass. Cheers!” —Derrick & Tatanisha Worthey, This Worthey Life