Brigid Ransome Washington

The exuberance of emancipation gives the book’s recipes and reflections both roots and wings.
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Juneteenth is all about celebration, no matter how, where or with whom the festivities take place. This holiday, observed on June 19th, commemorates the day in 1865 when enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, learned of their freedom, which had been declared in the Emancipation Proclamation two years earlier. In her new cookbook, Watermelon & Red Birds: A Cookbook for Juneteenth and Black Celebration, Nicole A. Taylor offers exuberantly delicious recipes and stories that draw from her many years of celebrating the holiday. "For a few hours, pure liberation meets a plate of food," Taylor wrote in Food & Wine about her own Juneteenth parties. Here are a few recipes from Taylor and other cooks, full of flavor and joy to inspire your own Juneteenth menus.
Brigid Ransome Washington grew up in Trinidad and Tobago eating kidney beans the way her mother made them, but learning her Jamaican mother-in-law's method changed her perspective of the dish, and the woman who was teaching her.
Red kidney beans, aromatics, coconut milk, a Scotch Bonnet pepper, and more come together in these Jamaican Stew Peas and Spinners, which writer Brigid Ransome Washington developed based on her mother-in-law's recipe. While the iterations Ransome Washington enjoyed growing up in Trinidad and Tobago included meat, this version is vegan, but make no mistake, it's still luscious, hearty, and satisfying. Don't throw away the soaking liquid from the beans—according to Vivienne, her mother-in-law (who she calls Auntie), simmering the beans in it gives the dish a beautiful color. The resulting Stew Peas are hearty, comforting, and filled with earthy and bright flavors. READ: Jamaican Stew Peas Put a New Spin on How I See My Mother-in-Law
Black Cake, a West Indian holiday baking tradition, demands more because it delivers more.
Jamaican Black Cake
Rating: Unrated
4
The cultural idiosyncrasies of each Caribbean island are rich and telling. And Black Cake—even with its own slight variances—offers a delicious commonality between each isle in a way that allows the diversity to shine but leaves the baking tradition of this cake intact. Here, the delicate nuance of raw almonds (and almond extract), the warm spiky notes of allspice, and plenty of rum inform my family's version of Black Cake with a uniquely Jamaican sensibility. I've substituted dark molasses for the more traditional browning or burnt sugar essence. However, despite adaptations, the cake's blackness, rich density, and ever-present tingle of rum—which also preserves the cake—will always be its most distinguishable features.
This tender, coconut-scented Jamaican bread brings solace and liberation even when home feels very far away.
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This tender, coconut-scented Jamaican bread brings solace and liberation even when home feels very far away.