Many Texans have been celebrating Juneteenth since 1865 – when the news that, “all slaves are free” reached Galveston. Dallas-based food blogger Meiko Temple says Juneteenth’s new status as a federal holiday opens the door for more people to join in on the celebration – which she says is meant for “all who believe in the value of freedom and equality.”
Temple says one way to celebrate is to check out her Juneteenth Virtual Cookout. It’s not an event so much as it is a collection of recipes submitted by Black cooks and content creators.
Temple says the idea originally centered around Black History Month. But she and a collaborator decided last year to turn their attention to Juneteenth.
“We were seeing a lot of injustices existing within the Black community,” Temple said. “We felt a little desperate. I mean, some of the injustices that we witnessed last year were taking place right before the eve of Juneteenth. And so it made sense for us to come together and to find a way using our culinary gifts and talents to talk about those injustices with people outside of our community. And food always seems to be a way to talk about hard conversations or to talk about diverse opinions, you know, because everyone has different palates. And so people are willing to share more over a plate of food.”
Temple remembers barbecue chicken, hot wings, and slushies as part of her Juneteenth celebrations growing up primarily in San Diego. One tradition is to include red foods and beverages.
“The color red in general is very symbolic to the holiday Juneteenth,” Temple said. “Red symbolizes resilience, perseverance. It really is a reflection of and a way to honor the bloodshed or the people who passed away in the fight for freedom.”
Temple’s own Juneteenth Virtual Cookout recipe is for Grilled Hot Links and homemade Chow Chow.
“Chow chow is similar to, I would say, like a relish and a slaw,” Temple said. “It’s a blend of pickled vegetables with warm spices that are — that is really common in the south.”
“We celebrate Independence Day, but truly, those who were enslaved weren’t truly free until they received that announcement in Galveston in 1865. And so our celebration within the Black community is a celebration of American history. And so I think all Americans should be celebrating that history if they believe in liberation of all people,” Temple said.