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June, 2017

Soul Food Pop-up Dinner for The Biennial of the Americas

Last night, I hosted a pop up dinner in order to raise funds to do some food programming at the upcoming 2017 Biennial of the Americas. This year’s focus is the African experience in the America which inspired the theme “The Black Americas.”

My goal is to raise enough money to have Dr. Jessica B. Harris present on the culinary connections between Africa and the Americas. In addition, Dr. Harris would moderate a panel discussion involving a chef, an entrepreneur and a food justice advocate. 

I asked Two Sistah’s Eats-n-Treats (formerly of M&D’s Café–a longtime Denver soul food place) to cater the event held at the Cleo Parker Dance Studio.

The first course was a watermelon, feta cheese, cucumber and onion salad.

The second course included: baked chicken, fried catfish, black-eyed peas, greens, mac ‘n’ cheese, cornbread and red drink.

The third course was peach cobbler and sweet potato pie.

Here’s a look at the setting.

Certified sommelier Maia Parish (“The Wine Suite LLC”) was on hand to advise on wine.

A great night! The next dinner will explore another African heritage cuisine in the Americas, either Creole cuisine or lowcountry. Stay tuned!

Check Out My Latest CSPAN2 BookTV Video

I had a great time at the “Roosevelt Reading Festival” hosted by the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, NY. The festival features a collection of authors who have written books in the year since the last festival that include some material about the Roosevelts. Here’s a fun, 30 minute video of the talk I gave about President Roosevelt’s African American cooks. I hope that you enjoy it as much as the audience did that day.

Today is Juneteenth!

Juneteenth Plaque

Photo from the Houston Chronicle website


“Juneteenth” commemorates the day when U.S. federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865, and spread news that African Americans were no longer enslaved thanks to the Emancipation Proclamation. Chattel would legally end later that year when the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified on December 18, 1865.

Though widely celebrated by African Americans across the U.S., Juneteenth remains a mystery to many. Here’s a short list of good articles that I’ve found that will help you get a flavor for this unique holiday. 

Celebrating a Second Independence Day: A Juneteenth Reading List,” Danielle Tcholakian, Longreads.com, 2017.

Juneteenth: The Black American Holiday Everyone Should Celebrate but Doesn’t,” by Jamelle Bouie, Slate, June 19, 2015.

Hot Links and Red Drinks: The Rich Tradition of Juneteenth,” by Nicole Taylor, New York Times, June 13, 2017.

Juneteenth at Mama Sugar’s,” by Robb Walsh, Houstonia, June 20, 2013.

Relish Austin: Embracing the Juneteenth Spirit,” by Addie Broyles, Austin Statesman, June 17, 2014.

For a book that gives a broader historical and social context for Juneteenth, I highly recommend: O Freedom! Afro-American Emancipation Celebrations (University of Tennessee Press, 1990) by William H. Wiggins, Jr.

May your Juneteenth, whenever you celebrate it, be filled with good times, great barbecue and ever-flowing red drink!

Great Soul Food Moments in Presidential History!

Reagan grubbing on fried chicken

President Ronald Reagan and stock car driver Richard Petty eat fried chicken at a Fourth of July picnic in 1984. (Ira Schwarz/AP)

I had a lot of fun writing this “From pig’s feet to corn bread, a history of soul food in the White House,” article for The Washington Post. It combines two of my current interests: soul food and the U.S. presidency. Enjoy!

Soulfully yours,