On Food, Mattress Sales, and Juneteenth : Code Switch : NPR

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Beloved Black cookbooks for Juneteenth.

LA Johnson/NPR


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LA Johnson/NPR


Beloved Black cookbooks for Juneteenth.

LA Johnson/NPR

It’s the second year that Juneteenth has been a federal holiday — which means it’s getting the full summer holiday treatment: sales on appliances, branded merchandise, and for some, a day off of work. But on this episode, we’re talking about the origin of the holiday — and the traditions that keep its history alive for Black folks around the country.

To do that, we spoke to Rafia Zafar, a food historian who helped illuminate some of the connections between what people eat on special occasions and Black history. We also heard from a Texas chef for whom Juneteenth is a day of celebration, yes — but also a day of service.

Finally, we talked to Nicole A. Taylor — another chef whose new Juneteenth cookbook, Watermelon and Red Birds — gets even more into the food culture that surrounds Black celebrations. For more of that conversation, you can check out this Q&A with Taylor. In it, she shares a recipe for a Sweet Potato Spritz.

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