Seasonal Sundays (Week 24) Finding Juneteenth

Seven "red food" recipes for marking Juneteenth coming up fast on June 19th ... but most of all, how an evening of sheer serendipity in Louisville, Kentucky helped us find our own "Juneteenth Moment" ten days early. Plus more ideas on how, if Juneteenth is new to you, to seek out your own "moment".

Seasonal Sundays, a weekly newsletter ♥, a seasonal collection of recipes and life ideas in and out of the kitchen.

Welcome to Seasonal Sundays ...

As ever, thank you for welcoming me into your InBox and RSS feed reader. It's your kitchens, your lives, I conjure while writing. As those who've followed for awhile may well recognize, what I offer today is especially personal.

Guys! For some weeks, I've known that I wanted to write about Juneteenth today.

After all, it's a brand-new holiday, it's coming up fast on June 19th, and ... well, for some maybe many of us, it's a reminder to take a minute to consider the complex aftermath of enslavement even now, generations later; to fight against the all-too-contemporary attempts to marginalize people of color; to stand loud and strong for social justice every day; to open ourselves to the vast richness of Black culture.

But even after much thought and consideration, no words felt quite right, not from me, a white woman of privilege – gad, can I even say that? – because how in the world can I even broach the subject with the respect, courtesy and discretion it deserves?

And then ... wow ... a remarkable thing happened, a night of serious coincidence and serendipity.

We were staying in downtown Louisville for a law seminar, "work" for my husband, a couple of days away for me. It was a sunny, unseasonably cool summer Friday, the city was filled with tourists and locals both. We dressed for dinner early, found our designated dinner spot in the hotel, began to head to the bar for a pre-dinner drink.

It turns out, two groups were gathering on opposite sides of the same courtyard. But there was no signage so, well, the destiny took charge, hard and fast.

By pure accident, first I and then my husband and I ended up ...

  • ... conversing with a sharp-looking couple, at first me thinking they were lawyers in our group, they thinking we were joining them for their dinner with the Ali Fest, a celebration of Louisville-born Mohammed Ali, the great athlete, musician, philanthropist and activist
  • ... later, feeling so drawn to this couple and their lively group, we approached again and were, there's just no other way to say it, welcomed in
  • ... meeting a dapper-dressed man who personally knew Mohammed Ali (and it turns out, is a renowned sculptor and more serendipity, we happen to be in the market for a bronze meadowlark) and could recount Ali fights right up there with my husband, for whom Ali is a life-long hero
  • ... meeting and conversing with Lonnie Ali, Mohammed Ali's widow, a lovely woman who even shared a warm hug with one star-struck husband, it might well be one of the biggest moments of his life!
  • ... getting invited to join their group later that night for a jazz concert with Christian McBride, the eight-time Grammy-winning bassist in town for the 2023 Ali Fest ("tell the ticket people that Marilyn Jackson says to let you in," said a woman assuredly; turns out, she heads the Ali Center!)
  • ... ducking out of our lawyer dinner a bit early, walking to the Ali Center where the ticket people said right away, "You came! We were expecting you!"
  • ... reveling in an amazing 90 minutes of jazz, a program in tribute to jazz alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderly, with local Louisville musical luminaries on the piano, percussion, trumpet and Dave Clark on the saxophone (more on him in a minute!)
  • ... sitting with maybe 200 people, all bipping and bopping to the music, twas so magical, just a few tight chairs turned to the musicians, the thrum of the strings, the call of the brass, the change from day-to-dark as the sun dropped below the horizon across the Ohio River
  • ... going into the ladies room (just me!) after, chatting in the way you do with another woman, even showing her the quick photo I'd snapped of saxophonist Dave Clark ... and more serendipity, she's friends with his wife, their kids are friends ... and so I texted her my photos, she texted them to his wife ... all in a matter of a couple of minutes
  • ... meeting her husband, chatting briefly, in the afterglow of the music
  • ... returning to our lawyer group, all soooo curious how in the world we'd come to be enveloped by the Ali group

  • ... most of all, "experiencing" for our very selves, the Ali Center's stated mission to our cores, ".. to mobilize Muhammad Ali's legacy to foster respect, inspire generations of changemakers, and advance social justice".

So people, we celebrated our "Juneteenth" moment ten days early on Friday, June 9th.

Maybe you guessed, given the Ali connection, but nearly everyone we met on Friday is Black. We felt so welcomed, so opened up to, so connected, so enriched, so ... human.

It's been two days and we're still flying high, still working to understand exactly what happened.

We figure, the individuals with whom we had brief connection may well remember us, a bit. But only we experienced all of them, adding up to such big feels. Is it crazy to think that Friday was one of the best nights of my life? our lives? I think not.

And so, if I may, please let me encourage you to find your own Juneteenth moment, whatever the date, however you come to seek it out, allow it to happen.

I do think it's important for those of us who are white, that we express cultural appreciation – all the while doing our best to do this without cultural appropriation. Juneteenth is not ours to make our own, even if we find our own ways to mark the date. We may "open" ourselves to it but maybe not "insert" ourselves into it.

It's tricky, I know, at least here in the middle of the country where, when we drive 200 country miles across the state, we count nine Confederate flags, not old and tattered but fresh and in-your-face.

And while I so fear my words fail, saying nothing is the same as looking away. We Must Not Look Away.

A few ideas, and please, I welcome your additions.

  • Follow a coalition of Black content creators at Eat the Culture, especially the 2023 round-up of new Juneteenth recipes. It's organized in a really interesting way, expressing the breadth of Black food culture (All Red Everything, The Great Migration with Soul Food Classics, Black Cowboy Classics from the Southwest Region, Green Soul that's Vegetarian & Vegan, International & Caribbean, Coastal Cuisine featuring Gullah, Cajun & Creole, Sweet Miss Juneteenth, Bad & Boujee aka All Things Bad). Much recommended! Follow on Instagram too with the hashtag #JuneteenthCookout2023 .
  • Watch the movie "Miss Juneteenth" which sounds like a silly teenybopper thing but instead is a really lovely film about dreams/self-reliance and mothers/daughters. Much recommended! Good with older kids too, I think. Watch it for $4 on Amazon or find it free on Kanopy, which is a streaming service through public libraries, just ten movies a month but the quality is much higher and hey! Kanopy has a great collection of films for Juneteenth from PBS and elsewhere. That's my week, folks!
  • Food-wise, check out my own ideas for Juneteenth recipes from Kitchen Parade. TLDR? Start making red foods, especially red drinks, which symbolize the bloodshed, struggle and resilience of Black people. Or just search red foods for Juneteenth to learn so so much more.
  • Or check out the Juneteenth with kids ideas at

About the Photo By Popular Request, a Little Insight into the Top Image: During the Christian McBride concert, my husband was first to spy the image of Dave Clark intently listening to his fellow musicians, keeping his saxophone at the ready, backlit by the setting sun. But I had a better angle with fewer heads blocking the subject, snapped the shot, cropped out the junk, ran it through a few filters in my favorite Prisma photo app. Wow. Each image evokes a different interpretation, this is my favorite because it's as much about the city as the musician.

May I Suggest ... a Link?

Let me just presume that if you're reading this, well, you're both a cook and a recipe collector. Don't the two kinda go together? And that means you tuck aside interesting recipes all over the place and then, dang, where is that chicken recipe that looked so good anyway? Here's an idea. Start a folder on your phone, call it "Kitchen Parade" or "Alanna" or whatever makes best sense to you. Then save the recipes you're most interested in right there in one place. Easy Peasy.

SEASONAL INSPIRATION: Seven Easy Red Foods for Juneteenth

Hibiscus Tea with Ginger & Vanilla, either cold or hot ♥, for anyone who wants to drink more water, great for Weight Watchers, Medifast and other diet programs.

Bloody Mary Salad ♥, a vegetable-packed jello salad, perfect for potlucks, dieters and healthy eaters. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly.

Red Rice with Tomatoes ♥, a lovely rouge-tinted vegan summer side dish.

Spiced Pickled Red Onions ♥, a game changer for tacos, salads, eggs and more.

Summer Couscous with Mango & Tomato ♥, couscous all dressed up for summer, quick to make and studded with bites of fresh mango and perfectly ripe summer tomatoes.

Strawberry Ice Cream ♥, an easy no-cook ice cream base. Big strawberry flavor, way more than a hint.

Fresh Strawberry Pie ♥, with a homemade chocolate cookie crumb crust, cool, light and refreshing. Only 200 Calories. Weight Watchers Friendly. Make It Today, Serve It Tomorrow. Low Cal. Low Carb.

A collection of recipes especially for Juneteenth ♥
  • THE COLLECTION Juneteenth Explore food traditions for America's new national holiday on June 19th.
  • SO MANY CELEBRATIONS! Recipes by Holiday All organized for easy browsing and exploration.

Our Juneteenth Menu

Fingers crossed that Juneteenth isn't eclipsed by Father's Day the day before or by Midsummer later in another few days.

But. Here's what I'm thinking, a meal that scales down for two if need be, scales up for more as I hope will happen.

What's on your menu? Is it fixed, yet? If not, maybe these recipes will spark your imagination ...

Juneteenth Supper 2023
~ Ballpark Peanuts in the Shell ~
~ Roasted Roma Tomato Dip ~
with Crackers or Crostini
~ Hibiscus Tea with Ginger & Vanilla ~
~ Strawberry Soda ~

~ Baked Baby Back Ribs with Spicy Berry Sauce ~
~ Sweet Potato Salad with Roasted Poblano, Roasted Corn & Chipotle ~
~ Mom's Potato Salad ~
~ Jubilee Greens (How to Sauté Leafy Greens Like Spinach, Chard, Kale & More) ~

~ Perfect All-Rhubarb Pie ~
with Vanilla Ice Cream

Looking Ahead ...

Looking Back ...

MY 2020 TIME CAPSULE This same week, that year, I titled the opening image What Does My Sign Say? and then wrote:

"This week has me all twisted up but leaning in too. These things I know. Systemic Racism is Real. Police Violence Against Black People Is Real. Black Lives Matter. But what is the right thing to think? say? do?

For days, I've watched the signs our protesters carry. The fightin' words. Fighting for justice, for fairness. Fighting for very breath, for very life.

If my feet were in the streets where my heart and the grandchildren are, what would my sign say? How do I earn the right to be recognized as an ally, an advocate, an admirer? How do I stand tall and clear-eyed, my sign in hand, come what may?

These are questions of courage we must challenge ourselves to answer, as individuals, as families, as communities, as a nation, as humanity."

And yes, I found my sign. Click through and scroll down a bit, Seasonal Sundays, this same week in 2020. And yes, we still have it. Odds are all too high, it'll be needed again.

A Quick Peek Into a Real-Life Kitchen

Just so you know, everything's not all pretty pictures around here, in the background is a pile of dirty dishes. And just like many (all?) of us, come five o'clock, I too draw a blank about what to make for supper, despite so many recipes I so dearly love. Here's a quick peek from the last week, not including the oatmeal, salad dressing and sautéed greens on repeat this time of year.

Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing, another easy DIY salad dressing ♥ Low Carb. WW Friendly. Gluten Free.
  • THIS WEEK In May, I ordered a Caesar salad for dinner one evening: turns out, it was the best Caesar I've ever eaten and I've been ordering/making Caesars ever since, trying to figure out what, in addition to its temperature (chilled! very chilled!) made the salad at Walker's Drive In in Jackson, Mississippi such a stand-out. This batch of dressing makes enough for four dinner-size salads. One night I stirred in a tin of that extra-good Lightly Smoked Salmon from Trader Joe's, another evening a tin of good canned tuna. I think it's gonna be a Caesar salad summer ...
  • THE RECIPE Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing

Asparagus Tapenade, another healthy vegetable appetizer ♥ Fresh & Seasonal. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly. Great for Meal Prep. Vegan. Gluten Free.
  • THIS WEEK Still, not "everybody" in my household, ahem, thinks that "just salad" is enough to call dinner. So one night I quick-quick mixed this tapenade and spread it on Fried Bread (Skillet Toast). Let's just say, "everybody" was happy. I was actually surprised how little time it took to make, since I was serving it as a cold spread on warm toast, I cooled it on a plate in the fridge, that worked like a charm. The next night, I cooked more asparagus and used the tapenade as a sauce for hot pasta. So good!
  • THE RECIPE Asparagus Tapenade A bright green spread for crackers, sandwiches, pasta, steaks, "scoops" and more. (PIN This)

Just Updated!

Dill Pickle Pasta Salad ♥ A real hit with pickle fans, served warm or chilled.

Finnish Summer Potato Salad, ♥, just new potatoes and a simple vinaigrette. No Mayo. Vegan. Paleo. Easy. Nordic.

Don't Be a Stranger ...

I'd love to hear from you. Comment, send me a quick e-mail (my current address is in the FAQs), dot-dash in Morse code, build a fire for smoke signals, launch a message in a bottle, send a Christmas letter, get the dog to yip, toss me a note wrapped in a rubberband, write a message in the sky, scratch a note in the sand, listen to a seashell, tuck a question into a plastic Easter egg, whatever.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. When you make my recipes, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below or better still, on the specific recipe's page.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.