As soon as I published this post, the President signed a bill recognizing Juneteenth as a federal holiday.
But what I found even more inspiring is Color Of Change’s call to action to keep our eyes on the prize in honor of Juneteenth.
A call to action for when we’re with our family and friends this year celebrating Juneteenth. Initiating discussions and movement around justice reform, voting rights and equal rights for Black people.
What is Juneteenth food?
Juneteenth comes with so much anticipation this year after Netflix’s top-rated docu-series, High On The Hog, introduced us to Juneteenth food, facts and history from the gatekeepers themselves protecting the legacies of African-American communities.
Juneteenth red foods
Red foods are essential because red is the color of Juneteenth.
Red is symbolic of our ancestor’s bloodshed before freedom. So we honor them with a celebration spread of African-American soul food classic dishes.
Juneteenth red food ideas:
- Red velvet cake
- Tomato watermelon salad
- Tomato Southern pasta salad
- Watermelon Dole Whip
- Watermelon red soda
- Red cabbage coleslaw
- Cranberry sauce cornbread
- Pork jowl bacon
- Cranberry sauce
- Hibiscus sweet tea
- Red beans and rice
- Juneteenth BBQ foods: chicken, ribs, sausage, beef brisket
Black folks food
The series engages Black folks around an open fire pit, slowly watching and nurturing the homegrown vegetables and meat used in the stew.
With their hand on the sacred urn of tradition, these are the ones vowing to protect and preserve Black culture and generations of blessed soul food recipes.
Books featured in High On The Hog
What is Juneteenth and why is it celebrated?
Juneteenth is the African-American celebration of the emancipation of slaves.
Why is it called Juneteenth?
As we know, justice is often delayed for the Black community.
It wasn’t until years after freedom was granted that freed slaves learned of their emancipation. This day is June 19th, 1865. Also known as Juneteenth.
Juneteenth is African-American Independence Day – Black folks 4th Of July
The Netflix series High On The Hog does a marvelous job of unraveling the complicated story of Juneteenth and freedom delayed.
The docu-series retraces Juneteenth starting in Galveston, TX.
When did slavery in Texas end and what was the last state to free slaves?
From the docu-series, I learned that Texas, the Lone Star state was one of the last states to abolish slavery.
Even worse, those enslaved did not learn of their freedom until- 2 ½ years after the Emancipation Proclamation was announced in 1863!
My Juneteenth family story
I remember visiting Galveston and marveling at the financial institutions and establishments with the name Moody, like the area’s chain of banks – Moody National Bank. (Moody is my maiden name.)
I thought to myself that maybe I come from a wealthy lineage of Moodys in Texas.
But that kind of thinking was blissful and all wrong.
Without any genealogy records to tell me, my ancestors were likely Texas slaves, owned by families with the Moody surname.
As free people, my ancestors must’ve migrated southeast to North Carolina. In this state, my grandparents were born and raised.
Maybe I am a Moody descendant of Texas, but not in the fairytale story kind of way.
I’m likely a daughter of those enslaved who built Galveston for free.
“The limitations that are put on us by people’s framing of what Black hands can do is exhausting. But it doesn’t stop the work, and it doesn’t hinder my freedom because I have the ownership of knowledge.” —Chef Chris Williams, owner of Lucille’s
What is the history of Juneteenth and Juneteenth food?
Netflix High On The Hog Episode 4- Freedom
High On The Hog uncovers the history of Juneteenth and how it’s celebrated through its culinary expressions. The soul food appeal and why each cultural dish is so special.
Jerelle explains the significance behind each dessert in her Juneteenth-inspired spread. From the colors to the history of each African-American-derived dish. And why each flavoring is an intricate part of the Juneteenth celebration.
I was touched by how Jerrelle emotionally explained that she bakes for self-expression.
Baking is how she breaks away from rules and creates her own empowerment. Her own freedom. A feeling she wants every Black woman to know.
Jerrelle’s cooking style is described as super heart-centered.
“When you understand your history and understand where you come from, that understanding gives you purpose. And the purpose to carry on their story I think is such a huge honor.” —Jerrelle Guy
What food is served on Juneteenth and why is it important?
Juneteenth food and decorations in Galveston incorporate lots of red and bright colors because red is the color of Juneteenth.
The food is a collection and celebration of African-American soul food classic dishes.
Black Girl Baking Juneteenth desserts
Raw raspberry hibiscus cheesecake
Jerrelle infuses hibiscus for the bright color of the cake, along with the red raspberries on top.
It’s a cake of various textures and temperatures. A mix of cashews and hibiscus and a hardened chocolate ganache drizzled over a chilled cheesecake.
Apple pie cooked with brown butter and almond flour
Jerrelle tells the story of how Black cooks in the South used to bake with almond flour because they didn’t have access to traditional flour. The result was a much more desired, moister, richer, and softer baked good!
This story is another classic example of African-Americans being resourceful out of necessity. Moreover, this ingenuity continuously evolves into cultural phenoms, like the culinary delicacy we know today as soul food!
Almond flour today is more expensive than all-purpose flour and most other wheat flour! It’s important to note that this often occurs without credit to the original Black creators.
“We’re the innovators of everything that’s beautiful and everything that’s pop culture right now that’s born out of this country that’s born out of us. And it’s taken, and it’s monetized and white-washed and sent out all over the globe. And still, it’s ours.” —Chef Chris Williams
Case in point with Jerrelle’s Juneteenth-significant ingredient almond flour. Today almond flour is priced 3-4 times higher than all-purpose flour and is sold in size two-thirds smaller than the all-purpose version!
But as author Toni Tipton-Martin points out in her cookbook, Jubilee, African-American food isn’t just now being elevated.
Our cooking has always been expansive since its inception centuries ago!
When we look back, our work has always been valued in the broader community. Tipton-Martin so eloquently points out that “our faces were put on packages as a symbol of quality.”
“When it comes to culture in America, there’s very little we didn’t influence.” —Stephen Satterfield, High On The Hog docu-series host
What’s the significance of the color red in Juneteenth traditions?
“Red stands for the blood that was shed on the pathway to freedom,” Juneteenth TriState Expo spokesperson Leah McKay said. “Traditionally for Juneteenth most celebrations celebrate with red food.”
“Juneteenth was sparked by barbecue, watermelon, and red drinks.” —Adrian Miller, culinary historian and author of Black Smoke
So what does red velvet cake have to do with Juneteenth?
The color red recognize the bloodshed and honors the lives of our Black ancestors pre-emancipation. Those who never got the chance to taste the freedoms we savor today.
4-layer red velvet cake
Jerrelle’s show-stopping cake was referred to around the table as the Juneteenth flag because of its beautiful red layers!
Jerrrelle used beets to achieve the red coloring and then spreads each layer with maple cream cheese frosting.
There were many compliments to the chef for her complex mash-up of savory and sweet combining earthy beets with maple flavor!
“Our legacy isn’t found in statues or history books. It lives on in the people who guard the gates of our culture.” —Stephen Satterfield
Is there a Juneteenth flag?
Yes, there is an official Juneteenth flag rich with symbolism.
“The design of the Juneteenth flag depicts a bursting new star on the horizon. The star represents a new freedom, a new people, a new star.”
What are the colors of Juneteenth?
The red, white, and blue colors communicate that enslaved African Americans and their descendants are all Americans.
Click to shop the Juneteenth decorations
“We nourished a nation through our cooking and baked our traditions in the cuisines that would define America.” —Stephen Satterfield
How do you honor Juneteenth and what do people eat to celebrate?
Juneteenth food celebrates Black excellence
I’m sharing High On The Hog and Juneteenth-inspired food and recipes to help you create a menu with cultural relevance for your family and friends.
We honor Juneteenth by never forgetting the strength and resilience of Black people and Black excellence. And for this reason, we celebrate.
We celebrate Juneteenth and our African-American history with our food.
In the words of Toni Tipton-Martin “I am using my platform to draw attention to Black excellence.”
“The entire passion that I have about this is to use food as a tool to elevate the conversation about what it means to be African-American and to cook African-American food… It’s a celebration. We’re celebrating our food!” —Toni Tipton-Martin
What do Black folks eat to celebrate Juneteenth?
What Black folks food can you make for Juneteenth?
Below are a few of the best recipes for a Juneteenth celebration and Black folks cookout.
If you’ve seen the Netflix docu-series, you’ll recognize the featured Juneteenth food.
Remember to honor each recipe by sharing its soul food history.
Juneteenth menu – 27 best Black folks recipes
Homemade BBQ sauce for your chicken, ribs, sausage, beef brisket, and more!
What do you think of these Juneteenth recipes?
This post was syndicated on Thrive Global on June 18, 2021 – This Juneteenth We Celebrate Black Excellence
- Instant Pot electric pressure cooker
- Instant Pot 7-inch Bundt pan (or a 9-10″ Bundt pan if not using Instant Pot)
- Instant Pot baking sling
- KitchenAid stand mixer or electric mixer
- Aluminum foil (for Instant Pot)
- Paper towel (for Instant Pot)
For the cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar granulated
- ⅓ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ⅓ cup butter softened
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ¾ cup sour cream
- 3 eggs
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon vinegar white
- 4 tablespoons food coloring red (liquid or gel)
- 1 cup chocolate chips mini, semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
- ¾ cup water (for the Instant Pot)
For the frosting
- 8 oz cream cheese softened or whipped cream cheese
- ¼ cup butter unsalted, softened
- 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions for Southern Black folks red velvet cake
- Grease a Bundt or cake pan and set it aside.
- Starting with the wet ingredients, in a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the buttermilk and vinegar, stir, and set aside.
- In a separate medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt, stirring well to blend, and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugar until creamy for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the vegetable oil and mix again.
- Add the eggs one by one, beating each one into the butter mixture.
- Then add the mayonnaise and sour cream and electric mix again.
- Add the red food coloring and mix gently with a rubber spatula to achieve a batter with an intensive red color.
- Next, pour in the vinegar and buttermilk mixture into the red batter.
- Gradually pour in the dry ingredients flour mixture that was set aside.
- Then gently fold in the chocolate chips (optional) as you combine all the ingredients into the batter.
- Mix gently with the rubber spatula until all ingredients are absorbed into the batter, and the mixture is uniform.
- Pour the batter into the greased pan.
- Bake the red velvet cake at 350 degrees F for 25-35 minutes in a conventional oven or the Instant Pot Omni Plus oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean.
- * If you’re using an Instant Pot for this recipe, continue with all the instructions. If baking your cake- skip to instruction number 22 and then 24-27: Cover the top of the baking pan with a paper towel, and wrap it tightly with aluminum foil, keeping the foil and the paper loose, so there’s room for the cake to rise.
- Open the Instant Pot lid and pour 3/4 cup of water into the stainless steel inner pot.
- Place the Bundt pan into the Instant Pot baking sling and place the sling with the cake pan into the inner pot.
- Close the Instant Pot lid (make sure the valve is up – in the position for sealing) and pressure cook on high for 50 minutes.
- When the cooking time is finished, allow a natural pressure release for at least 20 minutes.
- To open the Instant Pot lid, move the valve to ‘venting’ and manually release any remaining pressure, if applicable.
- Use the baking sling handles to remove the Bundt pan from the Instant Pot.
- Test the cake to see if it’s done by inserting a toothpick in the center. If it comes out clean, your cake is ready!
- If it’s not ready, wrap the pan again with a paper towel and aluminum foil, cook for 10 more minutes, and then allow a natural pressure release for 10 minutes.
- Let the cake cool for at least 10 minutes before removing it from the pan.
- Then, remove the cake from the pan and let it cool to room temperature before icing it.
- This Southern Black folk’s red velvet cake recipe is usually served with icing (but it doesn’t have to be).
- Serve and enjoy!
Instructions for the cream cheese frosting
- Add the butter and cream cheese to a large mixing bowl.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the mixture on medium speed for 2 minutes.
- Turn the mixer down to low and gradually add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract.
- Once the ingredients are combined, turn the mixer up to medium and beat for another 2 minutes.
- Spread the cream cheese frosting onto the cooled red velvet cake.
- Optionally, garnish with chopped pecans, crushed pecans, or red velvet cake crumbs.
- Pro tip: Refrigerating a cake with cream cheese frosting for a few hours will give it a firm texture, making slicing easy upon serving.
- Slice, serve & enjoy!