Watermelon and Red Birds: A Cookbook for Juneteenth and Black Celebrations

S. & S. May 2022. 288p. ISBN 9781982176211. $29.99. COOKING
In 2021, Juneteenth became a U.S. federal holiday, commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans, so this guide to celebratory Juneteenth food and drink is a timely and welcome addition to collections. Mixing classic and historical Juneteenth recipes, and others that are completely of today, James Beard–nominated food writer Taylor (The Up South Cookbook) delivers the culinary essence of the African American celebration of freedom. Recipes are festive and vivid, in chapters devoted to “red drink,” festival favorites, barbecue (Rodeo Turkey Legs; beef ribs with fermented harissa), and snow cones, ice pops, and ice cream. Each chapter includes an essay that illuminates the traditions and history of Juneteenth, and the photographs (of delectable food and people enjoying it) are alluring. The book’s other resources include lists of pantry items, kitchen tools, and BIPOC-owned food purveyors.
VERDICT Taylor delivers a comprehensive, celebratory, and informative Juneteenth cookbook that will make readers dream of summer.
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