The down-home pleasures of soul food no longer have to be off-limits because of excess fat, cholesterol, sugar and salt. Wilbert Jones offers a new look at traditional African-American cuisine and provides contemporary versions of traditional foods -- all with an emphasis on fresh ingredients, leaner meats, egg whites, less (or no) oil, nonfat dairy products, less sodium and fewer calories.
The following menu is suggested in The New Soul Food Cookbook, ©1996 by Wilbert Jones.
Junteenth is, for many African Americans in the South, a day comparable to the Fourth of July for the rest of the nation. On Juneteenth, southern African Americans take part in parades, music, picnics, baseball games and family reunions to celebrate their freedom from slavery.
We have so many wonderful African-American heritage recipes in our library, we decided to let your make your own choices. In the celebratory spirit of Juneteenth, here's our "menu of recipes" for you to create your own Juneteenth celebration. Feel free to swap recipes between the two menus and customize your own Juneteenth Reunion. Credits are included with each individual recipe.
The Harriet Tubman Quilt (See illustration above)
The Harriet Tubman Quilt tapestry (8' x 10') was made by the History Quilt Club of Sausalito, CA about 70 years ago. It was designed by the architect Ben Irvin, who was concerned that Negro history be known and recognized as a vital part of American life.
The tapestry making venture attracted a dedicated inter-racial group, including migrants recently combing to California from the Deep South, and older citizens who had skills to produce the finest work in needlecraft.
It took approximately 18 months to 2 years to produce each quilt; the group, meeting only when they could afford to spare time to assemble and then dismantle the frame, and by trial and error, formed the faces, eyes, hair, hands, dress, etc., of these great Americans with the simple tools of needle, thread and cloth.
This skill was used to depict Harriet Tubman, in the act of bringing across the state line from slavery to freedom, certain of the 400 slaves she rescued in this way and sent on via the "underground Railroad, to points in the North, the East and Canada.
The owl was the symbol of her wisdom and unerring judgment on the night-trail, travelling through most treacherous territory, with the combined slave holder's offer of $50,000 ransom on her head. She followed the North Star (prominent in the quilt) and never lost a "passenger" on any of her 19 forays back and forth across the Mason-Dixon line. The quilt is now in the Robert W. Woodruff Library in the Atlanta University Center.
Source: The Black Family Dinner Quilt Cookbook ~ Health Conscious Recipes & Food Memories, ©1993 by The National Council of Negro Women, Inc.
Notes On Leah Chase and Johnny Rivers
Leah Chase was born in New Orleans in 1923, and reared in a little town across the lake called Madisonville, Louisiana. She was the top of the line of eleven children and though while growing up, she'd do "anything to keep out of the kitchen," she learned all she knows by watching her mother and sisters whip up the family meals. Most of what the Chase family ate came from the rich variety of vegetables Leah's daddy grew in the family garden.
In 1942, at the age of eighteen, Leah returned to New Orleans and found herself waiting tables in the French Quarter of the city. Not only did Leah love it, she wanted to own and run her own restaurant. "I didn't intend to do any cooking at first," Leah remembers, "but you see, I had so many ideas in my head about food and what to serve, and I've been in the kitchen ever since."
Her creative cuisine and legendary Creole gumbo made Dooky Chase's, her family-owned restaurant, into a national treasure. She uses her skill and experience to toss together the cultures of the French, the Spanish, a little American Indian and African into her pot. "You have to put all your love in that pot," says the Master Chef.
Leah attributes the good health of her family to the limited meat in their diet. "We were poor, but my mother never had any sick children because when we were coming up, the beans, the cabbage, and the greens were the mainstay. We had lots of 'em."
An active member in the community, Leah often cooks up food for housing units and homeless shelters. Her only advice is not to limit your creativity by following any hard rules. "Rules don't no more make a cook than sermons make a saint," she says.
Leah On Family & Food: "There are 160 of us in my immediate family, and believe me, we're family in the best sense. Every year, we have a bang-up family party over at a friend's place in Lacombe. There's baseball, swimming, boating, fishing, water skiing, and of course, good food. Above all, use a variety of herbs and spices instead of salt, and use them often for seasoning. Instead of salt in your greens, add fresh green pepper and basil. When cooking black eyed peas, add Spanish onion and crushed black pepper. Add pepper first, then taste. You'll discover a new, intense flavor in all your main dishes."
If you ask him what his favorite dish is, Johnny Rivers will tell you it's "whatever I'm preparing at the time," but he wasn't always so enthusiastic about the art of cooking.
Born in 1948, Johnny grew up in Orlando, Florida, where his parents were steering him toward a career in medicine. After briefly studying pre-med at Emory College, Johnny's interests turned toward the culinary arts. Ever since he was thirteen, he had worked in kitchens part-time. "I found I was pretty good at doing a lot of things with food," Johnny remembers. He also found himself captivated by the "tall chef hats and the clanging of the steel knives. And the rest is history."
He traveled abroad to Europe and later across the States learning the tricks of the trade as he went. He finally settled back in Florida in 1970 and went to work for Walt Disney World Resorts. His talents and achievements as an Executive Chef with Walt Disney have since won him world fame and countless culinary awards and medals.
Today, Johnny devotes much of his time lecturing and conducting seminars around the country as well as helping young people to get started in the art of cooking. He's especially concerned about the poor diet of the Black community. "We grew up through a culture eating a lot of pork and a lot of cheaper cuts of meat," Johnny says. "But now we're coming up on the year 2000 and we don't have any more excuses not to eat right. Black folks need to get serious about their diets and we can do that and have fun with it, too."
Johnny On Family & Food: "My family life was, and still is, the center of my life. Healthy food was very much a part of growing up. On the Sabbath, when I was a kid, Mom would have the table heaped with good food--vegetable loaves, broccoli casserole, cornbread made with Alabama cornmeal, and fresh fruits. So, you can see that eating lowfat is not something new. In fact, eating lowfat takes me back to my childhood. Today, our family is much larger and we only get together about once a month. We all gather at my Mom's place--often 50 to 60 people--and each one of us brings a 'covered,' dish. And we play, joke, and eat well. It's important, I think, to pass on family celebrations and traditions to our kids. Now, with more knowledge about healthy eating, we know we will be protecting their health."
Source: Down Home Healthy,
Family Recipes of Black American Chefs
You may not know it, but African Americans and other ethnic populations, such as American Indians and Latinos, are at a greater risk of developing diabetes. Researchers believe this may be because some ethnic groups have "thrifty genes" that helped them survive as hunters and gatherers when food was scarce.
Now that food is plentiful and most people don't get enough exercise, these same genetic factors increase the risk of obesity, high blood pressure--and Type 2 diabetes. This is especially true for black women. One study has shown that 15 percent of black women and 11 percent of black men have diabetes, as compared to 7 percent of white women and 7 percent of white men. Whatever the cause, the facts indicate that if you're African American, your chances of having diabetes are probably greater than you'd like.
If someone in your family has diabetes, either Type 1 or Type 2, there's a greater chance that you can develop the disease as well. But don't worry, just because it runs in the family doesn't mean that you're destined to get blood sugar woes. It just means that living a healthy lifestyle is even more important for you. By keeping your weight under control and getting plenty of exercise, you drastically reduce your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Source: At Home With Gladys
Knight, by Gladys Knight with Abe Ogden, ©2001 by American Diabetes Association, Inc.
American Baptist Churches
Amputee Coalition of America
Association of Black
Baptist General Convention
Blacks in Government, Inc.
Center for the Study of Race
Cross Cultural Health Care
National Association for the
National Black Child
National Black Nurse's
National Urban League
Office of Minority Health
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.,
June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger stood on the balcony of Ashton Villa in
Galveston, Texas, and read a special order from President Abraham Lincoln:
The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer. The freedmen are advised to remain at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts, and they will not be supported in idleness, either there or elsewhere.
Instantly, June 19, or Juneteenth for short, became a day of celebration and family reunions in Texas.
President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. It seems hard to believe that it took two-and-a-half years for the news to reach Texas. An old folktale explains that President Lincoln sent the news from Washington by a Union soldier who rode all the way on a slow-moving mule. According to some historians, many slave owners in Texas were aware of the Emancipation Proclamation but refused to tell their slaves about it.
Juneteenth was celebrated in Texas until the late 1960s and early 1970s. The civil rights movement seemed to overshadow the holiday. But in the late 1970s, Juneteenth became a popular holiday again, and the tradition began to spread beyond the borders of Texas.
Source: Ideas for Entertaining from the African-American Kitchen, ©1997 by Angela Shelf-Medearis.
Nonstick cooking spray
Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
Using an electric mixer, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and margarine. Then, slowly mix in the sweet potatoes, cinnamon, nutmeg, and milk. Stir in the egg white.
On a lightly floured board, roll the dough out to 1/2-inch thickness. Using a biscuit cutter, cut the dough into 2-inch circles and place them on the baking sheet. Bake about 25 minutes or until they are firm in the center. Makes about 14 Biscuits.
Per Biscuit: 100 Cal; <1 g Total Fat; 20 g Carb; 00 mg Cholesterol; 290 mg Sodium; 3 g Protein. Exchanges: 1 Starch.
6 large green tomatoes (about 3 pounds)
Slice each tomato into 1/2-inch thick slices. Sprinkle the lemon juice or ht sauce on the tomatoes. Mix the cornmeal and black pepper in a plastic bag. Put tomato slices into the bag and shake well.
Coat a cast-iron skillet or nonstick sauté pan with nonstick cooking spray. Fry the tomatoes, over medium-high heat, until they are light brown on each side. Makes 4 Servings.
Per Serving: 105 Cal; 2 g Total Fat; 22 g Carb; 00 mg Cholesterol; 22 mg Sodium; 3 g Protein. Exchanges: 1 Starch; 1 Veg.
3 cups white potatoes, peeled, cooked and
cut into 1-inch cubes
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients, mixing well. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, to allow flavors to develop, before serving. Makes 4 Servings.
Per Serving: 180 Cal; <1 g Total Fat; 43 g Carb; 00 mg Cholesterol; 199 mg Sodium; 4 g Protein. Exchanges: 3 Starch.
nonstick cooking spray
Thoroughly mix the flour with about four (4) tablespoons of water to make a thin sauce. In a nonstick skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray, heat the flour mixture over medium-low heat, stirring continuously for about 10 minutes or until a smooth sauce is formed (add more water if necessary).
Stir in the onion, garlic, celery seeds, Soul Food Seasoning, black pepper, and two cups of water. Add the chicken. Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked all the way through. Makes 6 Servings.
Per Serving: 160 Cal; 3 g Total Fat; 7 g
Carb; 81 mg Cholesterol; 40 mg Sodium; 26 g Protein. Exchanges: 4 Very Lean Meat;
2 Tbsp ground red pepper flakes
Mix all the ingredients together. Store in a sealed container. Makes about 3/4 cup.
Per (1/2 Tsp) Serving: 4 Cal; <1 g Total Fat; 1 g Carb; 00 mg Cholesterol; 3 mg Sodium; 00 mg Protein. Exchanges: FREE.
1 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 10-inch tube pan with nonstick cooking spray, if using a nonstick pan; set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the sugar and banana with an electric mixer. Then, slowly mix in the flour, baking powder and vanilla extract. Mix in the egg whites, one at a time.
Pour the cake batter into a nonstick or prepared 10-inch tube pan. Bake about 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cook for 20 minutes on rack, then remove the cake from the pan.
In a saucepan, over low heat, heat the preserves until melted enough to pour, stirring constantly, about one minute. Drizzle the preserves over the cake and serve. Makes 12 Servings.
Per Serving: 210 Cal; <1 g Total Fat; 47 g Carb; 00 mg Cholesterol; 57 mg Sodium; 4 g Protein. Exchanges: 3 Starch.
ORLEANS RED BEANS
1 pound dry red beans
Pick through beans to remove bad beans; rinse thoroughly. In a 5-quart pot combine beans, water, onion, celery, and bay leaves. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and cook over low heat for about 1-1/2 hours or until beans are tender. Stir and mash beans against side of pan.
Add green pepper, garlic, parsley, thyme, salt and black pepper. Cook, uncovered, over low heat until creamy, about 30 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Serve over hot cooked brown rice, if desired. Make 8 Servings.
Per Serving (without rice): 171 Cal; <1 g Total Fat; 32 g Carb; 00 mg Cholesterol; 285 mg Sodium; 7 g Dietary Fiber; 10 g Protein. Exchanges: 1-1/2 Starch; 2 Veg; 1 Very Lean Meat.
2 bunches mustard greens or kale
Rinse greens well, removing stems. In a large pot of boiling water cook greens rapidly, covered, over medium heat for about 25 minutes or until tender. Serve with some of the pot liquor. If desired, cut greens in pan with a sharp knife and kitchen fork before serving. Makes 8 Servings.
Kitchen Tip: If desired, add 2 Tbsp of lean cooked ham, Canadian bacon, or split turkey thighs to greens before serving. Remember however, this will increase calorie, sodium and fat content.
Per Serving (greens only): 18 Cal; 00 g Total Fat; 3 g Carb; 00 mg Cholesterol; 153 mg Sodium; 2 g Dietary Fiber; 1 g Protein. Exchanges: FREE.
3 pounds catfish
Preheat oven to 350°F. Wash fish thoroughly and cut into pieces.
Coat a heavy baking pan with nonstick cooking spray; heat over medium heat.
In a small bowl, combine cornmeal and Louisiana Seasoning Mix. Transfer to a large plate and set aside.
In another bowl, beat egg whites and blend with yogurt. Dip fish into egg mixture, then coat on both sides with cornmeal mixture. Arrange fish on baking pan; spray top of each piece with cooking spray. Bake 12 minutes, turn, and bake an additional 12 minutes. Thoroughly cooked fish should be flaky, not mushy. Makes 8 Servings.
Per Serving: 271 Cal; 13 g Total Fat: 6 g Carb; 80 mg Cholesterol; 141 mg Sodium; 30 g Protein. Exchanges: 4 Very Lean Meat; 3 Fat.
1-1/2 Tbsp paprika
Place all ingredients in a blender and grind until well blended. Use wherever Cajun or Creole seasoning mix is called for in a recipe. Makes about 1/4 cup (1 tsp per serving).
1 pound boneless pork tenderloin
Heat oven to 350°F. Sear the whole tenderloin on all sides in a hot, nonstick skillet. Remove from the heat and season with the pepper and red pepper flakes.
Cover the tenderloin with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and sauté the onion and garlic for 5 minutes.
Add the barbecue sauce, catsup, water, and vinegar. Simmer for 10 minutes. Shred the pork with 2 forks. Add the pulled pork to the sauce. Serve on buns. Makes 4 Servings.
Per Serving (without bun): 230 Cal; 8 g Total Fat (00 g Sat Fat); 13 g Carb; 65 mg Cholesterol; 482 mg Sodium; 25 g Protein; 1 g Fiber. Exchanges: 1 Carb; 3 Lean Meat; 2 Fat.
TASTIN' GREEN BEANS
1 pound green beans, trimmed
Fill large saucepan one-fourth (1/4) full with water
Add green beans, onion, bacon, vegetable seasoning blend and lemon pepper. Cover. Cook on medium low heat until tender. Serve hot. Makes 6 Servings.
Per Serving: 40 Cal; 1 g Total Fat; 8 g Carb; 00 mg Cholesterol; 70 mg Sodium; 3 g Protein. Exchanges: 2 Veg.
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
Boil the potatoes over medium heat until tender and drain them.
Add the garlic and mash the potatoes. Add the milk, sour cream, margarine, salt, and pepper and mix well until smooth. Makes 6 Servings.
Per (1/2-cup) Serving: 99 Cal; 2 g Total Fat; 18 g Carb; 00 mg Cholesterol; 61 mg Sodium; 3 g Protein; 1 g Dietary Fiber. Exchanges: 1 Starch; 1/2 Fat.
OUT PASTA SALAD
8 ounces (2-1/2 cups) medium shell pasta
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; cool.
In a large bowl, stir together yogurt, mustard, and herb seasoning. Add pasta, celery and green onion; mix well. Chill at least 2 hours.
Just before serving, carefully stir in shrimp and tomatoes. Makes 12 Servings.
Per Serving: 140 Cal; 1 g Total Fat; 19 g Carb; 60 mg Cholesterol; 135 mg Sodium; 1 g Dietary Fiber; 14 g Protein. Exchanges: 1 Starch; 2 Very Lean Meat.
1 pound fresh okra
Wash the okra, trim the ends, and cut each piece in half. Beat egg substitute, salt and water together. Dip the okra into the egg mixture and roll in the cornmeal to coat.
Heat the oil in a medium skillet until hot. Fry okra until brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Makes 6 Servings.
Per (1/2-cup) Serving: 244 Cal; 13 g
Total Fat (00 g Sat Fat);
2 Tbsp reduced-fat margarine
Heat the margarine in a large skillet and sauté the garlic and rice, stirring constantly, until lightly brown.
Add the chicken broth, salt, and pepper and stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Makes 8 Servings.
Per (1/2-cup) Serving: 192 Cal; 2 g Total Fat (00 g Sat Fat); 38 g Carb; 00 mg Cholesterol; 301 mg Sodium; 4 g Protein; 1 g Dietary Fiber. Exchanges: 2-1/2 Starch.
1/2 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
Combine the mayonnaise, yogurt, vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt, celery seeds, and pepper in a small bowl and mix well.
Combine the cabbage and carrots in a large bowl. Add the dressing, toss well, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Makes 8 Servings.
Per Serving: 108 Cal; 5 g Total Fat (1 g Sat Fat); 14 g Carb; 6 mg Cholesterol; 216 mg Sodium; 4 g Dietary Fiber; 3 g Protein. Exchanges: 3 Veg; 1 Fat.
1 cup mashed cooked sweet potato
*Note: If made with egg substitute, the cholesterol will be lower.
In a medium bowl, stir together sweet potato and banana. Add milk, blending well. Add brown sugar, egg yolks or egg substitute, and salt, mixing thoroughly.
Spray a 1-quart casserole with nonstick spray coating. Transfer sweet potato mixture to casserole.
Combine raisins, sugar, and cinnamon; sprinkle over top of sweet potato mixture. Bake in a preheated 300°F oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. Makes 6 Servings.
Per Serving: 144 Cal; 2 g Total Fat (1 g Sat Fat); 20 g Carb; 92 mg Cholesterol; 235 mg Sodium; 1.5 g Dietary Fiber; 6 g Protein. Exchanges: 1 Starch; 1/2 Fruit.
FASHIONED BREAD PUDDING WITH
10 slices whole wheat bread
1-1/4 cups apple juice
To prepare Bread Pudding:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8- x 8-inch baking dish with vegetable spray.
Lay the slices of bread in the baking dish in two rows, overlapping them like shingles. In a medium mixing bowl, beat together the egg, egg whites, milk, 1/4 cup sugar, the brown sugar and vanilla. Pour the egg mixture over the bread.
In a small bowl, stir together the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and 2 tsp sugar. Sprinkle the spiced sugar over the bread pudding. Bake the pudding for 30 to 35 minutes, or until it has browned on top and is firm to the touch. Serve warm or at room temperature, with warm Apple-Raisin Sauce. Makes 9 Servings.
To prepare Apple-Raisin Sauce:
Stir all the ingredients together in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over low heat. Let the sauce simmer 5 minutes. Serve warm. Makes 2 Cups.
Per Serving: 233 Cal; 3 g Total Fat (1 g Sat Fat); 46 g Carb; 24 mg Cholesterol; 252 mg Sodium; 7 g Protein; 3 g Dietary Fiber. Exchanges: 2-1/2 Starch; 1/2 Fruit; 1/2 Fat.
KEY LIME PIE
1-3/4 cups cracker crumbs
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Combine the graham cracker crumbs and margarine in a medium bowl and cut to mix. Press into a 9-inch pie pan and bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until browned.
Combine egg yolks, milk, cornstarch, and 1/3 cup sugar in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, bringing the mixture to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the lime juice and the food coloring. Pour the mixture into the crust.
Beat the egg whites with a mixer until peaks form. Add 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff.
Spoon the meringue over the filling and bake until the edges are lightly brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Cool before serving. Makes 8 Servings.
Per Serving: 222 Cal; 6 g Total Fat (2 g
Sat Fat); 35 g Carb; 82 mg Cholesterol; 224 mg Sodium; 7 g Protein. Exchanges: 2-1/2
1 cup all-purpose flour
In a large bowl, stir together flour, salt, and baking powder. Blend butter and sour cream together in a small bowl. Add to flour mixture, and slowly stir in milk. Transfer dough to a lightly floured board, and knead until smooth but not sticky. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray a 9- x 13-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange blackberries in baking dish. Sprinkle with sugar.
Cut dough into 1-inch-wide strips and arrange on top of blackberries at 1/4-inch intervals in a criss-cross pattern. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until blackberries begin to bubble and dough is golden brown. Makes 6 Servings.
Ed. Note: These are very generous servings, and a smaller serving size will serve 12 from this recipe. If you choose to make 12 servings, cut the following analysis and exchanges in half per serving.
Per Serving (based on 6 Servings): 219
Cal; 2 g Total Fat; 49 g Carb; 4 mg Cholesterol; 75 mg Sodium; 4 g Protein.
SOUTHERN SPICED TEA
6 cups boiling water
Pour the boiling water over the tea and cinnamon. Steep for 10 minutes. Strain the tea and add the remaining ingredients. The tea can be served hot or cold. Makes 8 Servings.
Per (1-cup) Serving: 63 Cal; 00 g Total Fat; 16 g Carb; 00 mg Cholesterol; 1 mg Sodium; 16 g Sugars. Exchanges: 1 Carb.