Juneteenth is a holiday that celebrates the emancipation of enslaved people. On June 19, 1865, word of the emancipation proclamation finally made it to Texas, 3-years after the country officially outlawed slavery. Local Chef Stephen Jones, of the larder and the delta, joined us to talk about a special menu he plans to honor the special date.
We started off by asking Jones about last year’s Juneteenth menus he created.
“We had such a great response to how we did Juneteenth last year, in the midst of COVID, and we did that one last year a little different,” Jones said. “This time around we went ahead back to our old format where everyone can kinda mingle together, with masks or without masks.”
Juneteenth has always meant a lot to Jones’s family. It is a day of reflection upon what has happened, both in recent years and in history.
“It’s about remembering and a celebration to the end of slavery in this country,” Jones said.
For Jones, the celebration of Juneteenth is focused on food and a special menu that reflects it. We asked Jones what this menu looks like for him.
Jones explained that the Juneteenth celebration is based on a picnic, or BBQ that brings the community together through food. He has worked to bring celebrated African American Chefs in the valley to his restaurant to create their own dish.
“It’s from our childhood that we’re eating, or something that we’ve always wanted to make,” Jones said.
We asked Jones how he uses his food to communicate with his ancestors.
“I can have a conversation with my ancestors through food, through the journey, through the rice trade, the spice trade, through grains, all of these dishes that my grandparents told me about the meaning of them coming up, ” Jones said. “At the same time, I am speaking for them.”