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

On Food, Mattress Sales, and Juneteenth

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GENE DEMBY, HOST:

What's good, y'all? I'm Gene Demby.

KAREN GRIGSBY BATES, HOST:

And I'm Karen Grigsby Bates.

DEMBY: And this is CODE SWITCH...

BATES: From NPR.

DEMBY: And I'm sorry if I sound a little...

BATES: Phlegmy?

DEMBY: Yeah, a little - you know what I mean? I'm a little - I kind of like it, but I don't like the way it feels. I like the way it sounds.

BATES: (Laughter).

DEMBY: Anyway, I got sick, along with the rest of my household, just in time for us to have to disinvite ourselves from all the Juneteenth situations and all the Juneteenth cookouts. This, of course, is the second year Juneteenth is being observed as a federal holiday. So, you know, it's about to become part of the American summer calendar, like Memorial Day or July 4 and Labor Day, which probably means, Karen, that Juneteenth is on its way to having, you know, sales named after it. We've already seen some minor controversies about people missing the point of Juneteenth or bastardizing the reason for the season. There's that Juneteenth ice cream that Walmart was selling...

BATES: (Laughter).

DEMBY: ...And had to pull from its shelves after, you know, Twitter did what Twitter does, and there was a giant kerfuffle over, as the comedian Roy Wood Jr. joked, the propriety of slavery ice cream.

BATES: And, Gene, don't forget liberation petroleum jelly.

DEMBY: I'm sorry.

BATES: (Laughter) That - yeah.

DEMBY: What?

BATES: That's a thing. Vaseline just released a special limited edition of its little plastic jar, and the label features graphics of lots of Black and brown people...

DEMBY: Oh, my God.

BATES: ...And it announces it believes in skin care equity for all. Now, to be fair, they have done limited editions, like a crochet edition...

DEMBY: Uh huh.

BATES: ...And a psychedelic edition and stuff before. But, still, this just seems a little...

DEMBY: I mean...

(LAUGHTER)

DEMBY: Liberate yourself from ashiness...

BATES: Yeah.

DEMBY: ...This summer season, yeah.

BATES: That's right. And what makes all this so fascinating, Gene, is that, until recently, a lot of people, including a lot of our people, did not know what Juneteenth was...

DEMBY: Yeah.

BATES: ...Let alone observe it. So we thought maybe you'd want to give folks a brief explanatory comma, maybe?

DEMBY: Yeah, and I'm going to cop to it. Like, I didn't know what Juneteenth was until fairly late in the game, till I was, like, in my 30s, because it was - as we're about to go into, it was primarily a southern thing and a Texas thing. So, OK, in a nutshell, the story of Juneteenth is Abraham Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

DEMBY: That freed enslaved people in states that were rebelling against the union.

BATES: So contrary to our rather rosy view of the emancipation, it didn't free everybody. It was a war strategy. Southern farms and plantations wouldn't run too well without all the unpaid labor they'd been counting on all this time.

DEMBY: And like a lot of things before technology made news instantaneous, obviously, enslaved people found out about their emancipation at different times. Military men and soldiers had to travel from different places to announce that this had happened, and they got to Galveston, Texas, approximately 2 1/2 years after freedom had been announced.

BATES: Major General Gordon Granger arrived in the port city of Galveston and read the proclamation on June 19, 1865.

DEMBY: Yes, June 19.

BATES: And of course - June 19th, that's right - but 1865...

DEMBY: Yeah.

BATES: ...When a lot of other people got the news in 1863. So even though he was on CPT, there was still plenty of jubilation 'cause free is free.

DEMBY: And just to be clear, there were other people, in places like Delaware, who were not emancipated fully until December of 1865. But Juneteenth in Galveston immediately turned into a thing, with annual celebrations to commemorate emancipation. There were parades. There was picnics.

BATES: Contests, church services and plenty of food - barbecue, potato salad - some of it, Gene, with mayonnaise, so you would pass that by.

DEMBY: Oh, nuts....

BATES: Red drinks, homemade cakes and pies. Even when there wasn't a lot of food to be had in the beginning, people shared, and food and Juneteenth celebrations have always gone hand-in-glove ever since.

DEMBY: So it's appropriate, Karen, that today we're talking about food. We're talking about Juneteenth in a few different ways. You're about to hear a conversation between KGB and the food historian Rafia Zafar about the origins of some of these Juneteenth foods.

BATES: And chef Chris Williams, a Texan who grew up celebrating Juneteenth, will share one of the recipes he serves that honors Juneteenth in his Houston restaurant.

DEMBY: I'm excited to try this recipe, but we're going to start with a brief talk from a master home cook, Nicole Taylor. She just published what's being called the very first Juneteenth cookbook by a major publisher.

BATES: It's one of the few Juneteenth-themed releases that doesn't make my skin crawl, Gene. In fact, it's actually a very beautiful, very meaningful book that's full of history as well as food. It's called "Watermelon And Red Birds," and I asked Nicole about the title.

NICOLE TAYLOR: Watermelon is a fruit native to the African continent. But for all Americans, it's a fruit that cools you down in the hot summer months. It's luscious, it's juicy and it's very recognizable, so I wanted to make sure that that word or fruit became a part of the book. And red birds - just thinking about why I added red birds to the title, it makes me smile. And that's because my mother used to tell me this story growing up, and the story was, any time you see a red bird coming around you, that that's someone from the family that's passed on coming back to say hello, and that it symbolized good luck, and to blow them a kiss.

DEMBY: So KGB also asked Nicole about this sometimes, you know, spiky discussion about who, exactly, should be participating in Juneteenth, since, you know, some Black Texans are like, look - this is our holiday.

BATES: Yep. And she said it's never really just been a Texas holiday, in part because Black folks have always been moving around.

TAYLOR: Juneteenth has always been all over the United States of America. We know that, during the great migrations, that plenty of Black people from Texas left Texas and went to other cities. We know that people all across the American South left their towns and cities, and they took their traditions with them.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

TAYLOR: And so Texans took their traditions with them. They went to places like LA. They went to places like Oakland, where you see one of the largest, long-running Juneteenth public festivals in the country. Milwaukee is another place that has had a Juneteenth - a public Juneteenth festival since 1971. You find Juneteenth celebrations that have been going on for decades in Harlem, in Brooklyn. So my thought is that there are Texans all over the United States, and that means that, if they can't go back to Galveston or can't go back to Houston or Dallas, they are going to celebrate Juneteenth where they are. And so I believe - I know that we are connected to - and we - and, I mean, Black Americans throughout the American South - are connected to Galveston because we found out at different times as well about the Emancipation Proclamation being signed.

So you go to cities like Richmond, or you research cities like Charleston, you find out that there were jubilation days or emancipation days. They weren't the same day as June 19, but, all over the American South, Black people have celebrated when they found out about freedom after Abraham Lincoln. And that fact just says that we are all tied to wanting our parents or grandparents and great grandparents wanting us to see freedom. That is something that connects us - wanting us to have a better life and wanting us to stay connected to family.

So I debunk that 100% that other Black people shouldn't be celebrating Juneteenth. I think that's what's most important - is that we ground and continually say the origin story of Juneteenth and that it is a holiday that was born in Texas, and give Galveston and the people of Texas the respect by saying the full origin story every time we talk about - speak about the new nationally recognized holiday.

DEMBY: So Juneteenth being spread around the country as part of the Great Migration story is very fascinating.

BATES: Yeah. Gene, Nicole shared with us one of her favorite recipes for Juneteenth is for a sweet potato spritzer.

DEMBY: Hmm.

TAYLOR: It is reddish in color, but the Cappelletti, which is an aperitivo, is red. It has a sweet potato syrup that has all the essence of a sweet potato pie. So that's me, again, bringing in Black American food and putting my own twist. So I take a roasted or boiled sweet potato and I add warming spices - pretty much the same spices that I put in a sweet - or someone would put in a sweet potato pie. That syrup with the Cappelletti, the vodka and the sparkling white wine creates this beautiful, bright, summery drink that you can serve on Juneteenth. Really, you can serve it any day - any day that you want to feel joy or you want to feel the jubilation. But that, for certain, is my favorite - one of my favorite recipes in the book. I definitely will be having that on Juneteenth.

BATES: We're going to share that recipe on the CODE SWITCH blog. And in the meantime, we're going to keep this conversation about food and history going.

DEMBY: Yep. So here is your conversation with Rafia Zafar, which we first aired last year, right when Juneteenth had just been rubberstamped as a federally recognized holiday.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BATES: It seems to me, in the past couple of years anyway, that Juneteenth has sort of turned into, like...

RAFIA ZAFAR: It's a thing.

BATES: ...The Black equivalent of Cinco de Mayo, you know?

ZAFAR: Yeah.

BATES: Everybody goes out and has a Juneteenth lunch...

ZAFAR: Yeah. Mmm hmm.

BATES: ...Or a Juneteenth weekend, but it's not about the history that surrounds the food and maybe even birthed the food.

ZAFAR: Yeah.

BATES: It's more about having a good time, you know, enjoying yourself, drinking, eating, being with your friends. Are you worried that Juneteenth itself may just get sort of deracinated into being another good-time day?

ZAFAR: Yeah. Well, you know what's interesting? I was actually - of course, I was reading more about Juneteenth because I knew we would be talking. And apparently, in the late 19th and early 20th century African American newspapers, some of the journalists were even saying, all people are doing is, like, partying and drinking red - I mean, so this kind of...

BATES: You see chicken bones on the lot (ph).

ZAFAR: Yeah, exactly, right? And then the white folks are going to come and look at us, right? And it's like - think of Zora Neale Hurston - my people, my people; my race, but not my taste; my skin folks, but not my kin folks, right? But Juneteenth was, you know, from June 19, 1865. General Granger, I think, in Galveston was - you know, had three government orders, and one of them was, Southerners - you know, Texans, Louisianans - you guys have not freed your slaves. But, actually, January 1, 1863, was Emancipation Day, so you all are, like, 2 1/2 years late, and people are free, and you should hire them, not expect them to work for free.

So Juneteenth was in the midst or, say, amid the Reconstruction period that was very much in people's minds. They knew exactly what Juneteenth was about, right? But it's like a lot of - think of Memorial Day, right? You know, Juneteenth - is that going to be something - I don't know - whether when - I don't know - kitchen appliances are on sale every Juneteenth, or - I don't know - shoes, or...

BATES: Yeah.

ZAFAR: Yep.

BATES: It's a really different thing from, say, watch service on New Year's Eve...

ZAFAR: Yes.

BATES: ...Where people go to church and wait until it's January 1 to be able to acknowledge this was the day our ancestors were freed.

ZAFAR: Exactly. Exactly. I mean, watch night - was it, I think, Frederick Douglass was - you know, was sitting up like everyone else, saying, is this really going to happen? President Lincoln said it was going to happen. Is this really going to happen? And it did. So it becomes folded in, not just to the Methodist church, but to many churches, that you stay up. It's that tradition that gets layered not just with a religious significance, but with a political and a cultural significance. So people still have watch night services, but they have, perhaps, fallen away, like Juneteenth, from sort of the political sort of antecedents or the political valence that was grafted onto what was, say, largely a religious or a cultural institution.

Juneteenth is a Texas holiday, a Black Texas holiday. You know, migration brought it up to people. It waxed and waned. But Emancipation Day was - New Year's Day was the holiday - why everybody visits on New Year's Day. Like, the importance of being able to visit - the importance of actually having your family around you because during...

BATES: Having agency over your own body.

ZAFAR: Exactly. Because during this - you know, during slavery, the period of enslavement, January 1 was Hiring Day, right? So your husband could be hired out on some plantation where you wouldn't see him again. Maybe, if you were lucky, you might see him for a year. It might be the day that people were sold. It actually was known as Heartbreak Day because that was the day your sweetheart, your sister, your mother - people could be torn from you legally, and then you might or might not ever see them again. So New Year's Day, as a day of seeing family and friends, was its own commemoration of Black freedom, even though, again, it's like how the antecedents of holidays get diluted and sort of forgotten.

But that's really what New Year's Day visiting is all about. I mean, it is Hoppin' John - right? - eating black-eyed peas and rice for good luck, having collard greens so you have money. But it's a holiday for just, you know, these days - right? - you put on a Crock-Pot of black-eyed peas, and you have your rice cooker going, and you're going to have people fold them together, and you have a hot sauce. But it's that ability to be with people that was not guaranteed.

BATES: So there's food culture. There's emancipation. What does Black food culture have to do with emancipation? What's the relationship?

ZAFAR: Well, I mean, we - again, I think often of January 1, right? Because - and the tradition of us celebrating New Year's Day, being able to provide food to people who are dropping in - right? - welcoming people. That's saying a lot, right? And you use traditional foods. They signify enslavement. They signify the South. They signify African diasporic foodways. I mean, black-eyed peas are African. Collards may be - I think they're from Europe originally, the cabbage family. But there are, like, 200 different kinds of greens. So they were a kind of green that people of African descent sort of took on - like, hey, these are our greens.

But the idea that there certain foods that you can celebrate because you maybe can have a lot of them - maybe you don't - maybe, when you make your collard greens during enslavement, you could only use, like, a little scrap, right? But during freedom, you could put in a pig knuckle. Maybe you could even put in a nice, juicy hambone left over from the smoked ham, right? So it's traditional foods that then become literally enriched - right? - by the addition of ingredients you might not have had access to, but enriched by the notion that you can offer second or third helpings, right?

BATES: The abundance is the luxury.

ZAFAR: The abundance. The abundance itself is a luxury.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

DEMBY: All right. So this is not the point of this interview, Karen, but all this talk is making me real hungry. I want to go cook something.

BATES: (Laughter).

DEMBY: I mean, I'm going to just hop off the podcast real quick and make that happen.

BATES: Save me a bowl of black-eyed peas, please.

And there's even more that'll get you in the mood to cook coming soon.

DEMBY: Stay with us, y'all.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

DEMBY: Gene.

BATES: Karen.

DEMBY: CODE SWITCH.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

DEMBY: And Karen, we're back with more of your talk with the food historian Rafia Zafar.

BATES: That's right. And if you know anything about the food of Juneteenth, there's probably one very specific question you want answered, Gene. I know I did.

ZAFAR: Why is everyone drinking red soda? It's like...

BATES: Right.

ZAFAR: ...Or pink lemonade - or what is this red thing going on with Juneteenth? I mean, barba (ph) you can kind of get, right?

BATES: Yeah.

ZAFAR: OK, barbecue, Texas, OK. But what's with the red? Well, they're variety. Now, some people say it's because, in religious practice, they say, among the Yoruba people, for one, like of various cultural and ethnic groups, red was a - had a spiritual significance in ceremonies. So red has this - you know, this positive meaning to it. So if you have a red drink, it's, you know, propitious. It's good fortune.

Other people say, you know, the kola nut - as in Coca-Cola - but kola nuts could be used to keep the water from being bitter-tasting, so it was used. But there are different varieties, I guess. So there were red ones, and then if you'd crush those, they'd tint the drink sort of a pink red.

BATES: Huh.

ZAFAR: So they think it could from kola nuts. But there's also hibiscus. For those of us who are Red Zinger drinkers - like, Celestial Seasonings - or people who are from Jamaica.

BATES: The Caribbean, yeah.

ZAFAR: Right, jamaica - the drink you get in Mexican restaurants. That's from hibiscus.

BATES: Huh.

ZAFAR: Hibiscus, like kola, is indigenous to Africa - to the continent. And that also comes up red when you make a drink out of it. So there are a variety. So people say, well, it's from, you know, religious practices. It's from, you know, botanical ancestry. Some people also have said, well, it also represents the sacrifice - the blood...

BATES: Blood of the ancestors.

ZAFAR: ...That was shed...

BATES: Yeah.

ZAFAR: ...Of our ancestors.

BATES: Yeah.

ZAFAR: Yeah.

BATES: Oh, thank you for that because I have wondered for many, many years, and it isn't answered by seeing big jugs of, like, Big Red...

ZAFAR: Yes (laughter).

BATES: ...On the grocery shelves, which...

ZAFAR: I know.

BATES: ...If you've never drunk it, I would not advise it.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BATES: You know, one of the things I was thinking about in reading your book was that this sort of dilemma that people - cooks had during slavery - that they're making these meticulous dishes that they're forbidden to eat.

ZAFAR: Yes.

BATES: They can taste it...

ZAFAR: Yes.

BATES: ...To make sure that it meets the master's or the mistress' specifications, but they're not allowed to actually sit down and have a dish of their own.

ZAFAR: Harriet Jacobs records that - you know, people spitting in the pots so that the people who were forced to work with them couldn't even eat the food or share the food...

BATES: Rather than...

ZAFAR: ...Because they would be so repulsed by it.

BATES: Yeah, rather than - they'd rather waste it than...

ZAFAR: Than share it.

BATES: ...Allow people that they consider beneath them to enjoy the leftovers.

ZAFAR: Yeah.

BATES: So there's that. I'm thinking, immediately after emancipation, you could eat what you want, but you didn't have any money to basically buy the things you needed. So you were maybe tasting freedom because this was your little patch of earth or what you could pull up, and you were eating a lot of what we would call now, I guess, foraged materials...

ZAFAR: Hey.

BATES: ...Not necessarily cultivated materials.

ZAFAR: That's why I'm a George Washington Carver fan.

BATES: (Laughter).

ZAFAR: I mean...

BATES: Yes.

ZAFAR: I'm a Carver woman - like, yea. George Washington Carver was talking about gleaning...

BATES: Gleaning, mmm hmm.

ZAFAR: ...And composting long before it was a household word.

BATES: He was ahead of his time.

ZAFAR: Yeah. Yeah.

BATES: Yeah. So when I think of the story of what Black people have eaten on this continent through this century - you know, through this - through our history - what we were allowed to eat, what we could physically eat, it seems like this is closely tied to our status - our changing status as Americans.

ZAFAR: Mmm hmm. But what's interesting - it's like, you know, that often that what we had to eat ends up being what we crave, right? The food of poverty is what people - like, you know, that becomes our comfort food, right? I mean, so maybe people who don't need to buy pickles and red Kool-Aid still eat it. If you've ever been in Atlanta, there's that chain called This Is It. It's a fast-food place that has chitlins and offal - right? - O-F-F-A-L.

BATES: Both senses of the word (laughter).

ZAFAR: And you - I read about it in the Times maybe 15 years ago, and I cut it out, and I tell my students about it because the reporter describes seeing people drive up in Mercedes and, you know, they're doctors, they're attorneys, they're - you know, they're corporate workers. And it's because their families don't want the smell of chitlins. They don't want pig feet. They just reject them. But it's what they - you know, it's like, sometimes, you just want - well, if you're in St. Louis - sometimes you just want a barbecued snoot.

BATES: Cookbooks - I want to ask you about cookbooks before we left...

ZAFAR: Yeah.

BATES: ...Because you do - you have some originals. I have those cookbooks, too.

ZAFAR: You do. I know.

BATES: I do.

ZAFAR: Yeah.

BATES: So I have a lot of cookbooks. I was happy to hear that you feel like cookbooks don't necessarily have to be cooked from, but maybe read like novels or...

ZAFAR: Read like...

BATES: ...Anthropological treaties...

ZAFAR: ...History - they're histories.

BATES: That's true.

ZAFAR: They're memoirs. I mean, Vertamae's is a memoir, right? I mean, it has - it's a memoir with recipes. So she was doing that before the whole vogue, right? As we say in literary studies, it was a bricolage...

BATES: (Laughter).

ZAFAR: ...With multiple genres, right? It was epistolary. It was autobiographical. It was a cookbook which is now - cookbooks are - have a Library of Congress classification as a genre now. You know, some cookbooks are really to cook from. Some cookbooks are to get ideas from.

BATES: So you mention in your book a woman who has written a cookbook who is very specific to say that she is the mother of 11 children. She not only birthed them, but raised them. Why was it important - why do you guess it was important to her to tell us this? And also, how usual was that to have 11 children and be able to raise them all if you were Black and female in that period?

ZAFAR: If you were white and female - the infant mortality in the 19th century, regardless of whether you were white or Black, was extremely high. For African American women who were held captive - who were enslaved - it's not just a question of your children surviving. It's were you able to see them, right? We - earlier, we were talking about the significance of January 1, right? Those could be the days where that could be the last time you see your 12-year-old because he's being hired out, or your 14-year-old is pretty, and she's being sent down the river - right? - to be working as a sex worker in one of the New Orleans bordellos, right? So those are very sad.

But so Abby Fisher, it's kind of a humblebrag. She talks about making, essentially, infant formula, and she says, I have - I know this is good because I have birthed 11 children and raised them all. And that's the thing that really stuck with me. How many enslaved women, or even women, say, who were free Blacks, could say that they raised all of their children? This is saying something.

You know, it's the story behind a story. Did that mean she was a favored slave? Did it mean she really maybe had been freed as a young woman? What kind of, you know, like, incredible luck that was that you could have - give birth to 11 children and see every one of them grow up, at least until what was seen as more or less adulthood, teenage years. That's kind of - it's incredible. So it's saying not only is she a super-duper cook and she knows what she's doing, but she's also this wonderful mother, and she takes pleasure in being a mother and in raising - being able to raise your children as a Black woman. So she's saying this in the - you know, in the late 19th century is pretty fantastic.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BATES: So what do you think we ought to take away as we maybe dip into a cookbook or two over this weekend, if that's going to be your Juneteenth activity? What do we learn about African Americans through these books that we might not have known before?

ZAFAR: Well, it depends, right? I think a lot of us knew. I think people - the sort of the richness, the depth of the love, the depth of commitment to one another, the depth of commitment to building community. And, you know, it's not just about surviving. It's about survivance - right? - the Native American term. But it's about persistence. It's about loving and laughing and keeping together around a plate, right? And some of those plates signify the past, and some of them are new. And then probably today, those two strands - we know - are we sure which is from which, right? Like, where are these particular dishes coming from? But I think dishes actually tell us so much about hundreds of years of history and persistence and - I don't know - just the joy over it all, just the joy of being together.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BATES: That was author and food historian Rafia Zafar. But that is not the end of our show, at least not quite yet. Gene, after all this talk about food, I didn't think it was right to leave you or our listeners without an actual recipe.

DEMBY: I am excited about this because I was very hungry. I was like, OK, this is all too abstract. Tell me about the food itself. I want actual black-eyed peas in actual pots, etc.

BATES: All right. Well, for this, we had no choice but to talk to a Texan. So let me introduce you, Gene, to...

CHRISTOPHER WILLIAMS: Christopher Williams. I'm the chef and owner of Lucille's Restaurant and the founder of Lucille's 1913, which is our nonprofit, which, to date, has served up over 280,000 meals to those in need from Harris and Fort Bend County.

BATES: That last part is relevant because for Chris, Juneteenth was never just a celebration in the traditional sense.

WILLIAMS: Juneteenth, for us, just like most holidays - and this is, I guess, really ingrained in our familial approach - is just a day of service. So it wasn't a day for us to go out and to have a party in the park or whatever. It's a day for us to go serve our community.

BATES: Christopher shared with us a recipe for watermelon salad, which he says incorporates the color red, like the soda water that we were talking about earlier to represent the blood that was shed by our ancestors. So to make the salad...

WILLIAMS: You're going to take that fresh-cut watermelon. And you're going to throw it in the mixing bowl, and you going to add the baby arugula and the thinly sliced red onions. We like to have them iced down in ice water because it takes a little bit of that pungency off of them and keeps the nice and crisp. So throw those in there, as much as you want. I'm a huge arugula fan. And then you're going to take your vinaigrette, which could either be a strawberry jalapeno vinaigrette made with a little bit of rice wine vinegar, olive oil, fresh strawberries and jalapenos. If you like it a little bit spicier, just use one serrano, a little bit of salt. Blend that up. And then you're going to just pour that over the salad, toss it. Go and present it in the bowl. And you can top it off either with goat cheese, feta cheese. And then for a little crunch factor, we add honey-roasted pistachios. And you can enjoy.

DEMBY: That sounds really good, I mean, like, really, really good. I would I would forgo the onions because, you know, Karen, I don't mess with onions at all - at all. But that sounds really, really good.

BATES: You're right, Gene. It's delicious. I actually made it and had it for breakfast today without the onions because I couldn't find them this morning.

DEMBY: But you had the honey-roasted pistachios on you?

BATES: I kind of riffed. I had some chunks of almonds, so I toasted them and drizzled them with a little bit of honey and a little bit of cayenne to make them spicy. And I tossed them in there. So I had the crunch and the cream of the feta and the sort of deep deliciousness of the watermelon and the peppery spiciness of the arugula and with the strawberry vinaigrette sort of pulling it all together. I liked it so much, Gene. I'm going to have it for lunch, too.

DEMBY: (Laughter). I'm not mad at that. I want some now. Save me some.

BATES: I'll trade for a bowl of black-eyed-peas.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BATES: All right. That is our show. Our guests were Rafia Zafar. She's a historian at Washington University in St. Louis and the author of "Recipes For Respect." Christopher Williams is not the singer but the chef and owner of Lucille's Restaurant in Houston. You can read more about him on our blog later this week. And don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media. We're at @NPRCodeSwitch. Follow me at @GeeDee215 and KGB at @karenbates - all one word.

BATES: This episode was produced by Brianna Scott and Summer Thomad and edited by Leah Donnella. There is original episode artwork by LA Johnson. Special thanks to Andrea Henderson, a reporter at St. Louis Public Radio and our very favorite Texan, for connecting us to Chef Chris. And a shoutout to the rest of the CODE SWITCH team - Jess Kung, Alyssa Jeong Perry, Kumari Devarajan, Natalie Escobar, Steve Drummond and Sam Yellowhorse Kesler. Our intern is Carmen Molina Acosta. Shereen will be back soon. I'm Karen Grigsby Bates.

DEMBY: And I'm Gene Demby. Be easy, y'all. And happy Juneteenth.

BATES: Happy Juneteenth, Gene. See ya.

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