Quincy L. Cheek, Seay, Brittney, Agan, Cathy B., Butcher, Kimberly, Stevens, Cecilia
by Quincy Vidrine and Brittney Newsome
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, BBQ, 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 (culinaryhistorians.org), the term “soul food” made its appearance and became popular in the 1960s, 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 meats.
Take the time out 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 & 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 veggies are soft and release their scent. Add the other tablespoon of oil and season with salt and cayenne pepper. Add and sauté the okra, bell pepper, and collard greens for another 3 minutes. Add white and brown rice, and the 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 pre-cooked and heat for another 3 minutes. Serve hot and eat immediately.
by Jocinda Jones
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 that Juneteenth is being celebrated in the Northeast Region:
Tensas Parish supports Juneteenth by expressing its significance to the community with the following statement: "Juneteenth....why is it significant? Juneteenth has been celebrated for decades in states, but now, it is a federal holiday! And it's long overdue. June 19th, 1865 is the date that slaves in Galveston, Texas learned that they were free. This was 2 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 more cohesive. I am happy, ecstatic to bring a celebration of awareness, togetherness, and love to my parish." -- Mr. Kenny Spencer, Tensas High School Teacher & Community Leader
by Cecilia Stevens
(Winnsboro, LA)—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—fresh produce, prepared foods, 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. A state-wide link to LSU AgCenter Extension offices can be found at https://www.lsuagcenter.com/portals/our_offices/parishes.
by Kimberly Butcher
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 your picnic basket with these items that will help keep your summer fun while handling food at your next outdoor gathering:
by Cathy Agan
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. Give these tips a try on for size:
Small Changes, Healthy Habits Nutrition Series (in-person and virtual) Richland and West Carroll Parishes: Contact Brittney Newsome for more information.
Home Food Preservation Training Franklin Parish: Please contact Quincy L. Vidrine at (318) 623-5217 for more information.
Crowville TeenChef Camp, 9am-12pm Franklin Parish: At First Baptist Church of Crowville on June 14, 15, & 16, 2022 for ages 13-18. Please contact Quincy Vidrine for more information.
Crowville KidChef Camp 1pm-3:30pm Franklin Parish: At First Baptist Church of Crowville on June 14, 15 & 16, 2022 for ages 9-12. Please contact Quincy Vidrine for more information.
Farmers Market Food Demonstration, 3pm-6pm Franklin Parish: During the Crowville Farmers Market on Thursday, June 23 at the Crowville Community Center. Contact Quincy Vidrine for more information.
Farmers Market Food Demonstration, 8am-12pm Caldwell Parish: During the Columbia Farmers Market on Saturday, June 25. Contact Quincy Vidrine for more information.
Catahoula/Concordia Parishes, Ana Gouge, (318) 414-6055
East Carroll/Morehouse Parishes, Jocinda Jackson-Jones, (318) 559-1459
Franklin Parish/Caldwell Parishes/FCS Regional Coordinator, Quincy Vidrine, (318) 435-2903
CDC Food Systems Coordinator, Cecilia Stevens, (318) 435-2908
Madison/Tensas Parishes, Joy Sims, (318) 574-2465
Ouachita Parish, Cathy Agan, (318) 323-2251
Ouachita/Morehouse Parishes, Kimberly Butcher, (318) 323-2251
Ouachita/Union Parish, Markaye Russell, (318) 323-2251
Richland/West Carroll Parishes, Brittney Newsome, (318) 281-5741