When Nicole Taylor was writing her first cookbook, publishers were expecting her to focus on soul food — because she’s Black. Like Freda DeKnight, the Ebony food editor we heard about last week, Nicole knew that Black American food was much more than that. Now, several years later, Nicole has released Watermelon and Red Birds: A Cookbook for Juneteenth and Black Celebrations. “Black Americans need this Juneteenth cookbook because we need a slice of joy,” says Nicole. She talks with Dan about her journey from her first book to now, why she wanted to reclaim watermelon from racist tropes, and the importance of writing about celebration in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder. This is part two of our series “By Us For Everyone,” a look at how Black American food is represented in media, past and present, and how those portrayals change when Black people are in charge of them.
The Sporkful production team includes Dan Pashman, Emma Morgenstern, Andres O'Hara, Johanna Mayer, Tracey Samuelson, and Jared O'Connell, with editing help this week from Oluwakemi Aladesuyi, Hali Bey Ramdene, and Alexis Williams.
Interstitial music in this episode by Black Label Music:
- "Twenty 99" by Erick Anderson
- "Cautiously Optimistic" by OK Factor
- "Happy Jackson" by Kenneth J. Brahmstedt
- "Can You Dig It" by Cullen Fitzpatrick
- "The Huxtables" by Kenneth J. Brahmstedt
- "Sidewalk Chalk" by Hayley Briasco
- "Great Dream From Heaven"
Photo courtesy of Kaylin James.
Nicole Taylor: I like to tell people I came from a corn bread household. So corn bread was always on the table, not biscuits, but corn bread.
Dan Pashman: Do you add sugar to the corn bread?
Nicole Taylor: Uh, no.
Dan Pashman: This is The Sporkful, it's not for foodies it's for eaters, I'm Dan Pashman. Each week on our show we obsess about food to learn more about people. This is part two of our series, “By Us For Everyone”. It’s a look at how Black American food is represented in media, past and present, and how those portrayals change when Black people are in charge of them. I do recommend you listen in order, but you don’t have to.
Dan Pashman: Last week we heard the story of Freda DeKnight, who became the first food editor at Ebony magazine in 1946. And I visited the Ebony test kitchen, which was a amazing, with another former food editor, Charla Draper. Ebony’s founding mission was to paint a fuller picture of Black American lifestyles, beyond the stock stereotypes portrayed in white media.
Dan Pashman: Ebony is no longer in print, but one food editor who’s picked up where Freda and Charla left off is Nicole Taylor. You've heard Nicole here on the show before, and she just released her newest cookbook, called Watermelon and Red Birds: A Cookbook for Juneteenth and Black Celebrations. We'll get to that later in the episode.
Dan Pashman: Nicole's in her early 40s. She’s from Athens, Georgia, not far from Atlanta.
Nicole Taylor: I grew up in a working class neighborhood in Athens, it is now called Chicopee Dudley. It is a neighborhood where my next door neighbor was the first Black city council woman in the city. And my grade school teacher lived up the street. It is a neighborhood where people not only survived, they thrived, and they owned their homes.
Dan Pashman: In Nicole’s house, there were always three magazines on the coffee table.
Nicole Taylor: Ebony and Jet magazine, and Essence. They were the Bible. I mean, I remember opening up Jet magazine and seeing Whitney Houston's wedding to Bobby Brown. I remember seeing all of the braid styles in Essence magazine. And when I got my first job, I knew I was going to take that a hundred dollars and get my hair in braids, similar to Brandy or Queen Latifah. And Ebony, it was obviously bigger than Jet magazine and so much lifestyle. You get to see the behind the scenes of how people live, their houses, and of course, when you get to the very back, there was always a recipe.
Dan Pashman: What was food like at home growing up?
Nicole Taylor: One of the weeknight meals that I remember, and that I would almost be ashamed of, would be a pot of beans. And so I giggle now, you know, being a member of Rancho Gordo’s bean club and see how everyone in the culinary space and outside of the culinary space are, you know, talking and making these amazing heirloom beans. I'm like, wait, hold up. These are some of the same beans that I was ashamed of.
Dan Pashman: Why were you ashamed of them?
Nicole Taylor: Well, I just thought it was poor people's food. I wanted like a Lunchable.
Nicole Taylor: Or I wanted to eat fast food or, you know, some package cereal that I saw in a commercial on TV. I mean, I grew up in the eighties. I did not want the food from the garden that was outside. I mean, I ate it. And not only did I eat it, I was very blessed enough that I was in the kitchen and watched my great aunt and my mom make it.
Dan Pashman: So today, Nicole appreciates the food her family cooked. But back then, she wanted an escape from it and Ebony provided that.
Nicole Taylor: It wasn't just the food that I grew up eating on Sundays or the beans. It was something fancy. Like something your auntie or your Sunday school teacher would be serving at your graduation party. Always some kind of jello with beautiful, glorious food styled in this magnificent way. The food presented in the food section, a lot of times was food I'd never heard of or I've never tasted before or it wasn't just the same old, same old. It was definitely Black food, but it was a Black food presented in a totally different way.
Dan Pashman: And so what impact did that have on you and your perception of what is Black food?
Nicole Taylor: I think, I always knew that in my subconscious mind that Black food wasn't just fried chicken and collard greens and macaroni and cheese. Just like Black people aren't a monolith. Deep down I always knew that the African-American dining table was way bigger than what media or other magazines or commercials told me.
Dan Pashman: That feeling crystallized when Nicole went off to college, Clark Atlanta University, a historically Black college in Atlanta. She met Black folks from all walks of life.
Nicole Taylor: And I was blown away to see Black people who, their parents were doctors. And they — by the time they were in college, they already had been to Europe a million gazillion times. And guess what? They were vegetarian.
Dan Pashman: All of these experiences — at college, growing up, and the lifestyle magazines she was reading — all of that was shaping the way Nicole thought about food. When she moved to Atlanta after college, she worked various retail and nonprofit jobs, but …
Nicole Taylor: In the background, I was obsessed with food. So, I was hosting midnight brunches. My place was always a place folks came to eat. I was buying a lot of magazines and ripping the recipes out and making them and doing the same thing with the newspapers. I was the person that people called and say, what's the latest, greatest, hottest place in Atlanta to eat.
Dan Pashman: When Nicole moved up to Brooklyn in 2008, that obsession with food came with her.
Nicole Taylor: I was going to New York City restaurants all the time and spending all of my money.
Nicole Taylor: You know, at Murray's, at Saxelby's cheese. I tell people, you know, luckily, I had a partner who could pay the rent because I probably would have had to leave New York because I would have spent all my money in restaurants and farmer's markets for sure.
Dan Pashman: Eventually, Nicole was able to parlay that love of food into a job in food. She started doing community outreach for the Brooklyn Food Coalition, a food justice organization. That set her on the path that would become her career, not only working in the community, but also talking and writing and thinking about food for a living. In the following years, she started her own podcast, and made a film about civil rights protests at a fast food restaurant in her hometown. All that eventually led her to pitch a cookbook, which she called Up South: Chasing Dixie in a Brooklyn Kitchen.
Dan Pashman: And so this book, in addition to sort of typical soul food staples like cornbread, fried chicken chow, you had poké salad frittata, collard green pesto with pasta, apple and bok choy salad. So you were pulling from the foods you grew up with, but also the foods that you were encountering and the ingredients you were encountering as you were exploring New York.
Nicole Taylor: Yeah. Poke salad. You called it poké.
Dan Pashman: Oh!
Nicole Taylor: But it's poke.
Dan Pashman: Oh.
Nicole Taylor: It’s literally like poke. Yeah. It is a wild green that you find on the side of the road. And you have to pick it up at a certain time because if you pick it where there's still these buds at the top it’s poisonous. But then you gather a bunch of it, you boil it down, you put a little onion, garlic, whatever you want and you season it. And when I was writing The Up South Cookbook, all of those memories came back to me of my mom going across the street to what is now North Oconee River park and picking poke. And I put it in a frittata. I didn't grow up eating frittatas, but I was like, hey, this will be amazing to make a poke salad frittata.
Dan Pashman: And so that — but that perfectly kind of encapsulates the approach you had with this cookbook which was really blending these different parts of your life experience.
Nicole Taylor: Totally.
Dan Pashman: Now I dug up a gem for you, Nicole. This is a clip from your first appearance on The Sporkful.
Nicole Taylor: Ohh.
Dan Pashman: This is — [LAUGHS] this is 2016 a year after Up South Cookbook came out. And this is you talking about the process of pitching this cookbook and trying to convince someone to publish it.
CLIP (NICOLE TAYLOR): We have the book proposal, we send it out, and the first thing people say is, "Well, is this a soul food book?". Um, I felt like at first I was being put into a category and I almost was at the point of like, okay, I’m cool with this. I’m cool with changing my entire book. And then luckily I just kinda stayed in there. And I’m sure my agent probably was like, "Oh my gosh, here this girl keeps talking about race." But it’s true, I mean people are thinking about that.
Dan Pashman: So you were battling this idea that as a Black cookbook author, you were expected to do a certain type of cookbook. In the first part of this series last week, we heard this story of Freda DeKnight, who was the first food editor at Ebony magazine. She wrote the Date with a Dish cookbook in 1948, which was later republished as the Ebony Cookbook. And in that book, she has a quote that we read last week, but I think it's worth hearing again. And I would love to ask you to read it, please.
Nicole Taylor: “It is a fallacy long disproved that Negro cooks chefs, caterers and homemakers can adapt themselves only to the standard Southern dishes. Like other Americans living in various sections of the country, they have naturally shown a desire to become versatile in the preparations of any dish, whether it's Spanish, Italian, French Balinese, or East Indian in origin. There are no set rules for dishes created by most Negroes. They just seem to have a way of taking a plain everyday dish and improvising a gourmet's delight. Whether inquired or inherit, this love for food has given them the desire to make their dishes different, well-seasoned, and eye appealing.”
Nicole Taylor: I'm tearing up a bit. It's crazy. I didn't think I would tear up, but I literally read this and I felt it. And I was like, wow, this is 1948. And here we are in 2022. Yes, things have gotten better, but she's saying almost identical what I said on the show. But I think, and I feel like Freda DeKnight would be super proud of me and so many other Black cookbook authors, who've published cookbooks in recent years. But it's very emotional. I'm not going to lie to read that because I feel it. I feel that at the bottom of my toes, I totally feel what she's saying. I don't eat soul food every day. It's not — [LAUGHS] it's not who I am totally. It's my roots. It connects me to my people. It connects me going back four generations plus. But I'm also a woman who has visited the Philippines and I love me some garlic rice, and I like to make it at home.
Dan Pashman: Right.
Nicole Taylor: [LAUGHS] So yes, Black people are more than just corn pudding and sweet potato pie. And so when I wrote The Up South Cookbook, I wanted to make sure that all of my experiences from childhood to college, to New York City, to family and friends that I've encountered along the way, that I made sure that those relationships were honored.
Dan Pashman: Nicole stuck by her vision for the Up South Cookbook, and eventually found a home for it at Countryman Press. It was published in 2015. She began writing for more outlets like The New York Times, Esquire, and Food and Wine. She wrote a companion cookbook to the Tracy Morgan show, The Last O.G. And then, in 2019, she got a job as the executive food editor at Thrillist, a website that features food, drink, and travel recommendations. Now, Thrillist gets about 30 million unique visitors per month, and Nicole would be overseeing all of their food coverage. She says she went into the job with one big goal.
Nicole Taylor: To bust through the door and keep it open for other Black and brown people who wanted to work in food media. It was not lost on me the first day that I went into Thrillist that I was one of the first Black women to lead a digital publication. I walked in the door determined to leave my mark and I did.
Dan Pashman: One of Nicole’s first big changes was to revamp the way Thrillist did its annual best new restaurants list. Now usually, the way these lists work is that one critic talks to trusted sources in different cities to find out the hot new places there. The critic then eats at those spots, and picks the ones that make the list.
Dan Pashman: Nicole thought, "Why don't we just ask those people with local knowledge to write the lists?". It may sound simple but it was actually pretty revolutionary. You see, the restaurant critics at national publications have often been white men. And when one of those white guys would reach out to his contacts around the country, he’d call on people in his social circle, people with similar backgrounds. So he’d end up with a list of restaurants that skewed towards certain cuisines, and neighborhoods, and price points.
Dan Pashman: Nicole made sure that Black and brown people, and women, were among those picking the restaurants and writing the reviews. The end result was a list that featured a wider range of cuisines and price points than usually made this kind of feature. And under Nicole's direction, the Thrillist team won a James Beard Award for their Best New Restaurants coverage.
Nicole Taylor: I'm going to just say 100 percent, I changed the game in the way that best new restaurant packages were done in the food space.
Dan Pashman: But before Nicole and her team found out they were nominated for the award, the pandemic hit. She was laid off in April 2020. She didn’t want to talk with us about what happened at Thrillist, but when she first lost her job she tweeted, "Honestly, I feel FREE. While navigating a very white media space, I lost my voice, confidence, and passion. My time was up!” Fortunately for Nicole, when she was laid off, she already had another plan in the works.
Dan Pashman: Coming up, she puts it into action.
Nicole Taylor: Listen, the most beautiful things happened to me after my time at Thrillist.
Dan Pashman: Stick around.
+++ BREAK +++
Dan Pashman: Welcome back to The Sporkful, I'm Dan Pashman. Last week, in the first part of our series “By Us For Everyone” we heard the story of Freda DeKnight, the first food editor at Ebony. I also got to talk with magazine’s second food editor, Charla Draper. We visited the Ebony test kitchen together. It’s now on display as part of an exhibit at the Museum of Food and Drink. While there, Charla reflected on some of the challenges that Black food writers have faced, then and now:
CLIP (CHARLA DRAPER): There have been significant inroads. There is a place at the table for more African-Americans and people of color today. And then there are also instances where you couldn't get a seat at the table. Well, let's build our own table.
Dan Pashman: Charla also describes the incredible shrimp they served at Ebony parties. That episode is up now, check it out.
Dan Pashman: Okay, back to my conversation with Nicole Taylor. She was laid off from Thrillist in 2020. To appreciate what happened next, we first have to go back a bit.
Dan Pashman: A decade earlier, Nicole started celebrating Juneteenth. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day that enslaved people in Texas were finally freed. It was more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, and the Civil War was already over, but some enslavers tried to hide the news until after that year’s harvest. It took the arrival of Union soldiers to set the enslaved free.
Dan Pashman: In recent decades, more Americans have started observing Juneteenth. Last year it became a federal holiday. Nicole didn't grow up celebrating it, but when she was living in Brooklyn, she went to her first ever Juneteenth festival. The following year she hosted a Juneteenth picnic at a park, where she served pork shoulder, potato salad, pickled vegetables, cornbread, and strawberry crisp. That sounds really good. It became an annual tradition for Nicole. Then in 2017, she wrote her first national article about Juneteenth food.
Dan Pashman: A year later, she was thinking about pitching her next cookbook. She was trying to come up with a concept that would have mass appeal.
Nicole Taylor: And so I was throwing out all these ideas to my agent like, oh, I want to do a brunch book. Ooh, I want to do a book about young moms and what do you — what foods you should be eating after having a baby. And she was looking at me like, womp womp womp.
Dan Pashman: [LAUGHS]
Nicole Taylor: She's like, “What about Juneteenth?” And I was like, huh? Why does she keep bringing this up? I'm like, nobody knows about Juneteenth. It’s too niche. Like I'm going to be experiencing the same exact thing that I experienced with The Up South Cookbook. And she kept at it. So I'm like, fine. Juneteenth.
Dan Pashman: As the book idea was percolating, Nicole got the job at Thrillist. So she put the book on pause. But when she was laid off less than a year later, she turned back to it, and to other freelance writing.
Dan Pashman: She was working on a Juneteenth piece about Black-owned businesses for the New York Times when a police officer murdered George Floyd. Protests about racial injustice erupted around the country. Nicole scrapped the article she was working on, and rewrote it to focus more on how Black Americans were reacting to or participating in the protests. When the piece came out, it was called “A Juneteenth of Joy and Resistance”.
Nicole Taylor: That's one of my favorite articles, I must say. I feel like my heart and soul was in it. I remember crying. It was ... it was ... it was a moment of clarity for me. It is the moment when I said, Black Americans need this Juneteenth cookbook because we need a slice of joy. And all of this sorrow and all of this pain and all of this separation from our family and friends, how can I produce a cookbook that's full of recipes and full of stories? And so I knew at that moment that — yeah, this Juneteenth cookbook, I'm going to do this. And shortly after we sold the book.
Dan Pashman: It sounds like your experience selling the Juneteenth cookbook was very different from trying to sell Up South.
Nicole Taylor: [LAUGHS] Uh, yeah. Totally different.
Dan Pashman: And do you mostly attribute that to George Floyd and the uprisings that followed and an increased sort of consciousness and awareness and effort?
Nicole Taylor: Hmm. Yeah, that is a question that, personally, is a struggle for me to answer or even think about. It is a question that I've had to take to my altar. You know, I pause thinking about it. I don't know if, you know, I — I know that my work, my recipes, and my writing is worthy. But I also know that George Floyd is responsible. You know? The killing of George Floyd happening crazily helped me. And it's a hard pill to swallow. It is a hard thing to think about as you are trying to produce a cookbook about joy. But that? That idea is always with me. Like, would I have had this opportunity without the killing of George Floyd?
Dan Pashman: The summer of all those protests, The New York Times reported a spike in publishers buying cookbooks by Black authors. And because cookbooks take so long to put together, we’re now seeing the results of that increased interest, two years later.
Dan Pashman: One of those books, of course, is Nicole’s. It came out two weeks ago. It includes recipes for a bunch of alcoholic and non-alcoholic red drinks, because red drinks are a tradition on Juneteenth. So she has hibiscus tea, which some consider the original red drink, and then she has an Afro egg cream. And of course, in typical Nicole fashion, there are dishes that pull from a range of influences. Her beef ribs have harissa, her lamb chops are dressed with chimichurri.
Dan Pashman: The book is called Watermelon and Red Birds: A Cookbook for Juneteenth and Black Celebrations. I asked Nicole about the significance of the title.
Nicole Taylor: I, literally, Dan, remember sitting on the train pre-COVID, coming up with all these titles: “My Juneteenth”, “Jubilee Juneteenth”, And I'm like, nothing really works. I need something that just like really, really soulful and speaks to the past, the present, and the future of Juneteenth. And then it just hit me: red birds. Cardinals. I'm like, Hmm. That story that my mother used to tell me. Growing up, as I would be sitting in the kitchen and we would look out the window and on the little small rickety back patio deck, a red bird or cardinal would come and fly around. My mom would say, “That’s the ancestors. That's your cousin. That's somebody in the family coming back to say hello. Blow a kiss at them. [BLOWS A KISS] It's good luck.” That story stuck with me. It is a story that has origins in Native American culture. It is a story that I hear so many people from the American South, from all over the country. And I was like, that's it! That is the title of my Juneteenth cookbook, Watermelon and Red Birds.
Dan Pashman: As for the “watermelon” part of the title, that one’s more complicated. Of course, there’s a long history of racist depictions of Black people eating watermelon. When I first interviewed Nicole in 2016,she told me that as a kid she knew, when you’re around white people, don’t eat fried chicken or watermelon, because there was a shame associated with those foods.
Dan Pashman: But that didn’t stop her from including a recipe for watermelon and lime salt in her first cookbook. Then last year she did a recipe in Food & Wine for grilled watermelon, and she got pushback from some Black Americans. A Black entertainment and gossip site accused her of “dancing,” meaning she was trying to entertain non-Black readers.
Dan Pashman: But Nicole kept at it. For her new cookbook, she not only included a recipe for grilled watermelon kebabs, she put watermelon in the title of the book.
Nicole Taylor: So I'm going to tell you a story, Dan, about watermelon for me. I totally remember hopping in the car, going to Bales grocery store, and they would have these big tall cardboard boxes with watermelons stacked up to the ceiling. Right? And I'd be eyeing that watermelon the whole entire time that my aunt or my mom would be rolling through the grocery store. And I would get in the car and I’d hear that watermelon going, bloop, bloop, bloop.
Dan Pashman: [LAUGHS] In the trunk.
Nicole Taylor: Exactly. Rolling around. And I would be like, “Hey, when are we gonna cut the watermelon? Are we cutting it today? Are we cutting it tomorrow?” Finally, my aunt would be like, “Oh, we're going to cut it because such and such is coming by, or we're gonna cut it after church.” And we’d be so excited and we would get that cut piece of watermelon, sometimes on a piece of newspaper. And when we were really young, they wanted you to go outside because they didn't want the sticky, sweet, pink juice to be all over the house. And you would sit on the porch and eat your watermelon. That's what I remember about watermelons: Positivity, a really delicious sweet snack on a hot day. That's what I wanted to center in this cookbook. And I know that for many decades, that Black people and watermelon and fried chicken too, were linked to really ugly, disgusting ads. And so I realize for a lot of Black people, that's what comes to their mind when they think about watermelon. And so I received that. I respect that, but for me, as I moved through this cookbook and through this process, I had to block that noise out. I had to move forward with centering joy and centering what I know for so many Black folks is a very fond memory of summer, of communing, of tradition.
Dan Pashman: So, we talked about the watermelon and red birds of Nicole’s book title, but what about the subtitle, A Cookbook for Juneteenth and Black Celebrations? I wanted to ask her who she was thinking her audience is for this cookbook. When she was pitching Up South, she knew that was one of the publishers’ concerns, as she told me in our 2016 conversation.
CLIP (NICOLE TAYLOR): I think that the race factor is another layer. The marketing team is sitting there thinking, "Who’s going to buy her book? Is this a Black book?"
Dan Pashman: Now, Nicole’s new book has “Black” right in the subtitle: A Cookbook for Juneteenth and Black Celebrations. She says that’s partly just because she has more confidence now, she knows what she wants. And it’s partly because of the evolution in the publishing industry.
Nicole Taylor: Publishing a cookbook for us, it's — it can be a release. It could be us sharing our gifts with the world. But for large publishing houses — [LAUGHS] yeah, they're excited about all those things I just mentioned, but they also want to make money. I think that back in 2015, I didn't get that. Okay? I was emotional as I should be. I'm still emotional, but I also understand that — I understand the business of cookbook publishing. The publishing industry in general, for a long time would be like, well, we already have a Black Southern book. Do we need another one? Or we already have a soul food. There has been a lot of work done by my Black colleagues and other colleagues as well to really define what's soul food? What’s West African food? What is regional Southern food? So I think the publishing industry has grown up a little bit and they understand that Black people are not a monolith. So back then, I think that's what I was getting at. I think that was my plead up to the publishing world. Like, hello, please understand guys. I'm different. We're different.
Dan Pashman: It occurred to me in reading the new cookbook that I think that I have probably been programmed on some level to think that something that features predominantly Black people and looks like it's foregrounding Black people and Black culture isn't for me, not that I truly want it to be that way or truly feel that way, but it's been programmed into me.
Nicole Taylor: Yeah.
Dan Pashman: And it's something that I have to consciously fight against.
Nicole Taylor: I don't think that sometimes when I'm, as you say, scrolling through white cookbooks. When I'm scrolling through Ronni Lundy's cookbook Vittles, I don't think that is not for me. I just look at it and I'm like, Ronni is so beautiful. The writing is amazing. The recipes are stand-out. I mean, I think what you're speaking to is something that we, all of us, have to work on. You don't have to be at the center of everything. It don't have to be for you. Juneteenth, June 19th, 1865, that is an American moment of jubilation. That is American history that centers and talks about black people and equality. This cookbook, 100 percent, is for anyone who gets in the kitchen and they want to cook. And more importantly, for someone who wants to honor Juneteenth by creating a special dish or an awesome meal. That's first and foremost, who this cookbook is for. And secondly, I've written this book. It is a love letter to Black people. It is a love letter to Juneteenth and Black celebrations. I am very deliberately speaking to Black people in the book, and that is a way of centering and honoring them. But that doesn't mean I didn't invite Dan to the cookout. [LAUGHS]
Dan Pashman: Nicole, I'll come to your cookout anytime. [LAUGHS]
Nicole Taylor: I think you will have an invitation, Dan.
Dan Pashman: Oh, I’m waiting for it. I'm ready. I'm ready.
Nicole Taylor: Don't bring the potato salad.
Dan Pashman: [LAUGHS]
Nicole Taylor: You can bring a pasta salad. I’ll let you bring a pasta salad.
Dan Pashman: All right. Fair enough. Fair enough.
Dan Pashman: ,Last week in the first part of this series we heard about how Ebony’s first food editor, Freda DeKnight, would sometimes say the magazine’s food coverage was “by us for us,” meaning by and for a Black audience that so rarely saw themselves in media. Maybe Nicole’s Juneteenth cookbook is more “by us, for everyone.”
Dan Pashman: As we wrap up, Nicole, I'd love to ask you to read the final paragraph from the introduction to your new book. I found this very moving and I think it connects a lot of the ideas we've been discussing today and also throughout this series.
Nicole Taylor: "This cookbook is intended to be light with the pleasures of good food and heavy with the weight of history. Every morning, I stand at my altar and ask the most high if she is pleased with how I'm moving through the world. Do I reflect the goodness of my ancestors? On special occasions, when I'm slipping out of my clothes and jewelry, I wonder if I left bread crumbs for a future generation to follow. As my candlelight flickers, I hear, 'Well done.' I know the red birds are out there, even in the dark."
Dan Pashman: That, my friends, is Nicole Taylor. Her cookbook, Watermelon and Red Birds, is available now wherever you buy books. Please go out and get it. It is fantastic and happy Juneteenth to everyone who’s celebrating.
Dan Pashman: Next week in the third and final part of our series, “By Us For Everyone”, I talk with Stephen Satterfield, host of Netflix’s High on the Hog and the founder of Whetstone Media, one of the only Black-owned food media companies in the country today.
CLIP (STEPHEN SATTERFIELD): I was very driven by the fact that it kept failing. There was no fanfare for the reception of Whetstone into the world. It was born into a world of indifference. And I guess I just couldn't accept that.
Dan Pashman: That’s next week. In the meantime check out last week’s episode, where I visit the Ebony test kitchen, which has been restored as part of a new museum exhibit.
Dan Pashman: And finally, if you’re new to our show, please take a minute right now and favorite or subscribe or plus. Whatever the thing to do in your podcast app is, go to our show page and please just do that thing. It's called different things in different apps, but you'll figure it out. You're a smart person. And you'll be able to connect with our show and we'll be able to hang out more in the future. Thank you so much.