TOP STORIES About food, selling mattresses and June

About food, selling mattresses and June

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Favorite black cookbooks for June.

L.A. Johnson/NPR


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L.A. Johnson/NPR

Favorite black cookbooks for June.

L.A. Johnson/NPR

For the second year in a row, June 19 is a federal holiday, which means that it gets a full summer holiday: sales of household appliances, branded goods, and for some, a day off. But in this episode, we’re talking about the origins of the holiday and the traditions that keep it alive for black people across the country.

To that end, we spoke to Rafia Zafar, a food historian who helped shed some light on some of the connections between what people eat on special occasions and black history. We also heard from a Texas chef for whom June 16th is a holiday, yes, but also a day of service.

Finally, we spoke to Nicole A. Taylor, another chef whose new cookbook, released in June, Watermelon and red birds further immersed in the food culture that surrounds the black celebration. To learn more about this conversation, you can check out this Q&A with Taylor. In it, she shares her Sweet Potato Spritz recipe.

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