Juneteenth, A Culinary History Part 1
Saturday is Juneteenth, the day in 1865 when all U.S. slaves gained their freedom. Two and half weeks earlier, President Abraham Lincoln’s two executive orders set slaves free in confederate states (except for the border states of Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, or Delaware, and not in Tennessee, Texas and parts of Louisiana and Virginia). The June 19th declaration informed all slaves that they were now free. “Juneteenth” began thereafter in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and I suspect other “delayed emancipation states” with annual parades and festivals. In 1980, the Texas legislature made the celebration an official state holiday with several other states following suit. By 2002, seven states recognized the day through various proclamations, and four years later, twenty states observed the day in some fashion. In 2005, the U.S. Congress officially recognized the historical significance of Juneteenth, but still has yet to give it official holiday status. In addition to Texas style barbecue One will find various beverages and food red in color such as strawberry soda and red velvet cake. So what's with the red motif at Juneteenth celebrations? Some culinary historians trace this back to west African peoples such as the Asante and Yoruba's special occasions which included offering up the blood of animals (especially the red blood of white birds and white goats) to their ancestors and gods.