National Soul Food Month is celebrated in June and is immersed in tradition that traces its heritage back through many generations. To remind us of this rich culinary tradition, the Culinary Historians of Chicago created this month so people could take the time out to enjoy soul food cuisine but also reflect on its deep history.
Often times when we hear soul food and southern cooking, there is a comparison to be made but African American's developed soul food's distinct character by creating exceptional meals from less than desirable cuts of meat and produce. Many of the meals consisted of food items such as fried meats, vegetables, barbecue, and baked goods. These meals were served to nourish their bodies and the fellowship that went along with it nurtured the soul.
According to the Culinary Historians at culinaryhistorians.org, the term "soul food" made its appearance and became popular in the 1960's, giving a name to the flavorful foods that were becoming known in kitchens and restaurants in cities across the country. Although many people may consider soul food to be high in fat content or loaded with sugar, it doesn't have to be. Be creative with your soul food dishes and keep it light by adding different herbs and spices and using fresh produce and lean cuts of meat.
Take the time to observe National Soul Food Month by sharing your favorite soul food recipes with family and friends, research its rich history to see how much has changed throughout the years and dine out at a local soul food restaurant! Remember it's the flavor, flare and fellowship of the meal that makes it Soul Food.
The recipe we will feature in honor of National Soul Food month comes from Culinary Historian and Chef Michael W. Twitty's book "The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South." Twitty also refers to Soul Food as "African American Heritage Cooking." Our own Louisiana Soul Food Ambassador and the "Queen of Creole Cuisine," Leah Chase developed Dooky Chase's restaurant in New Orleans into one of the first African American fine dining establishments in the country. She eagerly shared her culture, heritage, and love of cooking with everyone!
Please enjoy this modified version of Chef Michael Twitty's African Soul Fried Rice. We have incorporated a little bit of brown rice for added fiber and a whole grain. Adding chicken, pork, or beef would make this a wonderful, one-pot meal for your family.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok or large skillet until very hot. Add the garlic, green onions, and ginger. Cook, stirring for about 3 minutes, until vegetables are soft and release their scent. Add the other tablespoon of oil and season with cayenne pepper and salt. Add the okra, bell pepper, and collard greens and sauté for another 3 minutes. Add the cold white and brown rice and black eye peas. Stir constantly. Make sure to keep it moving so that the bottom portion of ingredients do not start to stick. If you choose to add protein at this point, use meat that is precooked and heat for another 3 minutes. Serve hot and eat immediately.
It's the month of June and Juneteenth Celebrations are happening all over the region to honor and celebrate the freedom of illegally detained slaves and their freedom on June 19, 1865. Juneteenth, also known as "Freedom Day," is centered around celebrating and honoring Black culture, history, life and the many sacrifices that were made in the past. Juneteenth gives communities the opportunity to support and educate themselves through the implementation of community-wide activities that are fun for all. Here are some of the ways Juneteenth is being celebrated in the Northeast Region.
The annual Juneteenth parade will start at 10:30 a.m. on June 18 at Saint Benedict Catholic Church, 471 Maine Street in Grambling and will be followed by the big festival from Maine Street to Grambling Park. The festival will include vendors, vendor trucks, children's activities, a car show and live music.
The Chamber will open the festivities with a Juneteenth Weekend Kick Off Party at 8:00 p.m. on June 17 at the W Event Center, 2332 Sterlington Road in Monroe. The event will feature a live band and DJ. Ticket prices are $25 and $35 for chamber members and non-members, respectively.
The museum will host an open-mic poetry night on June 16 at 6:00 p.m. and a family fun day on June 19 at 3:00 p.m. A two-day event featuring vocalist CoCo York will be held on June 24 and June 25 with ticket prices ranging from $25 to $40. The museum will conclude its Juneteenth observance with an artist program at 6:00 p.m. on June 30.
The City of Grambling will kick off its Juneteenth Heritage Festival with an opening program starting at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 11 at Grambling City Hall, 127 King Street, Grambling.
A program will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, June 17 at Greater Flowery Mt Church, 1600 Wood Street in Monroe. The program will honor fathers ahead of Father's Day and will highlight three winners of an essay contest. Students in grades 2 through 12 wrote a one-page essay on the topic "Let Me Tell You About My Father." The program's guest speaker will be Sarah McCoy, the first Black student admitted to the University of Louisiana Monroe, then known as Northeast Louisiana University in 1964.
The Freedom Day Parade will roll on June 18 at 9:00 a.m. The parade line-up starts at 8:00 a.m. in the parking lot of the Monroe Civic Center on South 11th Street and ends on North Stanley Avenue by the Eastgate Shopping Center. The parade will be followed by the Freedom Day Market from noon to 5:00 p.m. at the Downtown River Market, 316 South Grand in Monroe.
The 11th Annual Juneteenth Celebration in Monroe is being held on Saturday, June 18. Festivities will kick off with a parade at 11:00 a.m. The parade line-up starts at 9:00 a.m. at Wossman High School, 1600 Arizona Avenue. Parade admission is $4. Former Interim Monroe Police Chief Reggie Brown and Monroe Fire Captain Sabrina January will serve as Grand Marshals. The parade will be followed by a celebration at Charles Johnson Park, 3313 Bernstein Park Drive.
Tensas Parish supports Juneteenth by expressing its significance to the community with the following statement by Mr. Kenny Spencer, Tensas High School Teacher and Community Leader: "Juneteenth...why is it significant? Juneteenth has been celebrated for decades in states, but now, it is a federal holiday! And it is long overdue. June 19th, 1865 is the date that slaves in Galveston, Texas learned that they were free. This was two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. So Juneteenth to me commemorates America's original sin! In my small town, we are recognizing this and are hopeful that people learn, and feel free to discuss and talk about this. In turn, this can help our communities and our country be more cohesive. I am happy, ecstatic to bring a celebration of awareness, togetherness, and love to my parish."
Summertime is here and so are farmers markets. Don't expect a trip to a farmers market to be like a trip to a grocery store. Farmers Markets offer a little bit of everything from fresh produce and prepared foods, to crafted items, entertainment, and even education. The LSU AgCenter offers many programs which can be shared at farmers markets to help engage the community.
Want to get your farmers market clients up and moving? Kids and adults both love PlayStreets, a set of physical activity stations that serve as a "pop-up" park. Want to showcase recipes for produce in season at the market? The AgCenter's Family and Consumer Science agents can offer cooking demonstrations and taste tests. From food safety to hurricane preparedness, the AgCenter has a program available to increase your family's safety. Take advantage of these LSU AgCenter programs and more. Contact your parish Extension office to schedule programming.
When summertime comes, we like to celebrate by spending as much time outside as possible. The U.S. Department of Agriculture wants to remind you to prevent foodborne illness before you light up that grill and pack up the cooler. Hot and humid weather combined with outdoor activities, provide the perfect environment for harmful bacteria to multiply on food and make people sick. Fill you picnic basket with these items that will help keep your summer fun while handling food at your next outdoor gathering.
Summer is here and Louisiana is Hot with a capital "H"! Physical activity is important year-round, so how do you keep yourself and your family from spending the summer on the couch? Finding ways to stay moving during summer can be fun and healthy. Break activity up into smaller chunks of time throughout the day. Plan outdoor activities for morning or evening when temperatures are usually cooler. Stay hydrated! Get out in the great outdoors with your kids by scheduling time each day for an outdoor activity like bike riding, tennis, or walking a nature trail. Add swimming to your fitness fun to cool off while being active. Enjoy indoor activities that require movement such as bowling or dancing. Grow a garden together. Sign the kids up for a sports camp. Put the backyard sprinkler to use for a do-it-yourself splash pad. Host neighborhood contests to see who has hula-hoop, jump rope, hopscotch, or ping-pong skills.
Richland and West Carroll Parishes: Small Changes, Healthy Habits Nutrition Series, in-person and virtual, contact Brittney Newsome at 318-281-5741 for more information.
Franklin Parish: Home Food Preservation Training, contact Quincy Vidrine at 318-623-5217 for more information.
Franklin Parish: Farmer's Market Food Demonstration from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. during the Crowville Farmer's Market on Thursday, June 23 at the Crowville Community Center. Contact Quincy Vidrine at 318-435-2903 for more information.
Caldwell Parish: Farmer's Market Food Demonstration from 8:00 a.m. until noon during the Columbia Farmer's Market on Saturday, June 25 on Main Street in Columbia. Contact Quincy Vidrine at 318-435-2903 for more information.
Participation in activities and events are open to all citizens without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, veteran status or disability. If you require special accommodation for your participation, please contact us at 318-649-2663. The LSU AgCenter and LSU provide equal opportunities in programs and employment.