Michael Twitty’s Juneteenth peach barbecue sauce recipe – the forward

Shabbat falls on June 19 of this year, coinciding with Juneteenth, a holiday that celebrates the liberation of American slaves and the end of slavery. I have chosen to celebrate both holidays this year and I encourage you to do so too. Tema Smith argues that American Jews should celebrate June 17 every year, and this year, with all of its pain, struggle, heartbreak, and potential for change, is definitely the time to begin. Shabbat is a time of celebration, but also of reflection and study. Juneteenth Shabbat gives us the opportunity to learn and fight the legacy of slavery in America.

Have you never celebrated June 10? Me niether. That’s why I became a food historian, chef and author Michael Twitty. Michael twitty is a James Beard Award winner who wrote The Cooking Gene: A Journey through African American Culinary History in the Old South.

Michael explored slavery and food in depth, including spending a day picking cotton in Virginia and cook traditional recipes in period clothing, to better understand and bring to life the experience of slaves. He is currently working on his second book, Kosher Soul, which will explore the intersection between Jewish and African American cuisines.

I wanted to celebrate Juneteenth in a way that fully honors and respects this story, and Michael provided me with a recipe and a little bit of history.

Red foods are an important Juneteenth tradition, a symbol of perseverance dating back to the West African ancestors of American slaves. Red soda, hibiscus tea and punch, watermelon, strawberries and red velvet cake are often in the spotlight. BBQ and BBQ sauce, peaches and sweet potatoes are also traditional.

This week, I’m going to cook Michael Twitty’s peach barbecue sauce, spread it over the chicken thighs, and grill it over charcoal. I will accompany it with a salad of red cabbage in vinegar, sweet potatoes and iced tea with hibiscus. For dessert we will have red velvet cupcakes with coconut whipped cream. As we celebrate Shabbat, we will also be celebrating the liberation of American slaves. You can read more about Michael Twitty’s thoughts on Juneteenth through his interview with The Forward this week.

The Jews are fighting. This is what we are ordered to do. This is what we do best. Jacob wrestled with the angel. Scholars struggle with our texts. We are all struggling to know how to be good people, good Jews. This Shabbat we must fight against slavery. We need to fight the history of American racism and the ways in which we have sometimes benefited from white supremacist structures, even in the face of anti-Semitism. We have to ask ourselves how a place that has been a refuge for so many American Jews, a place we have fled, is also a place where millions of people lived in chains.

When Americans talk about African American history, we only mean the victories. We want to jump to the end and applaud the times when injustice is overcome because it validates great American history. It’s celebrating the fact that we are a nation that ended slavery – but never acknowledging that we are the ones who bought, sold and brutalized millions of people for economic gain.

Juneteenth Shabbat is an opportunity to celebrate liberation and community and a chance to ground ourselves in the root causes of injustice. This is a time when we can look at this current uprising against racism and force ourselves to examine the system of slavery, and how its legacy continues in every case of police brutality, every case of discrimination.

The prejudices we have today are a direct result of how Americans tried to justify slavery. We needed these ideas of the black as inferior, criminal, lazy, naturally less human, to justify slavery. The idea that blacks are inherently less human persists, with devastating and deadly consequences across our country. We can’t really fight police brutality or any manifestation of racism without a national reckoning with this story. Juneteenth is a time when we can force ourselves to confront our history

This Shabbat, I hope you will join me in celebrating both Shabbat and Juneteenth. I hope you celebrate it with the food you put on the table, but more importantly, you will spend time learning about slavery and thinking about what you can do to help in the fight to dismantle systemic racism. . Read something you’ve never read before. This week alone, no Talmud or Torah.

Instead, read Frederick Douglas or Sojourner Truth. Give tzedakah to an organization fighting for racial justice. Make plans to walk for justice and advocate for change. Remember that when we are fighting for black life and black liberation, we are not only fighting for justice for another community, we are also fighting for our own community, which includes black Jews.

It is not enough to fight for a better America politically, we must fight for a Jewish community that lives anti-racism in our lives and in our institutions. This June 17th, this Shabbat, we must begin to grapple with our history, to learn it, to understand it, so that we can change the future of our nation.

Shabbat Shalom. Happy june. May the weeks to come bring us all a better America.

Michael Twitty’s Peach BBQ Sauce

This delicious recipe, filled with sweet peaches and hot spices, pairs well with spicy roasted chicken, lamb, fish or vegetables.

Ingredients:

½ cup Vidalia onion or other sweet onion

¼ cup chopped celery

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon crushed minced ginger

1 teaspoon of black pepper

salt

1 teaspoon seasoning salt, such as garlic salt or onion salt

¾ cup of tomato paste

½ cup of peach nectar

½ cup of grated peaches

¼ cup low sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon of cooking pepper (Michael Twitty’s special spice blend, recipe follows below)

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup brown mustard

2 tablespoons of oil

Brown together in a saucepan the onions, celery, carrot, garlic, ginger, a teaspoon or more of kosher or sea salt and oil. Sauté over medium-low heat until the onions and celery are translucent. Be careful, don’t let it burn.

Mix the tomato paste with the peach nectar. Add the tomato and peach nectar mixture, peaches, soy sauce, cooking pepper, brown sugar, brown mustard, seasoning salt, paprika and black pepper. Stir continuously and bring to a boil. Please lower the heat and cover. Stir every 5 minutes for 45 minutes.

Michael Twitty’s cooking spice

1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper

1 tablespoon of kosher salt

1/2 tablespoon ground guinea pepper or ground cardamom

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon of ground cloves

1 teaspoon of ground ginger

1 teaspoon of ground mace

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground white pepper

1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes

Combine the spices and mix well.

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