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Boise cooks prepare for Juneteenth celebrations

Placed side by side on a wood grain table, an egg-wash brushed doughy meat pie sits on top of a paper bag next to some Jollof Rice in a plastic see through container. The Jollof Rice has a piece of chicken thigh put on top, smothered in a red tomato sauce.
Gustavo Sagrero
Boise State Public Radio
Meat Pies and Jollof Rice will be two of the items featured from Zainab Abimbola's food truck Taste of Nigeria African Cuisine. This is at her food truck on Fairview in front of a restaurant supply store.

It’s Juneteenth, the day 156 years ago that marks the final emancipation of enslaved Americans. We spoke to a couple Boise based chefs as they prepare for tonights celebrations.

For Jody Charles, owner of Louisiana Soul Bayou in Boise’s Chow Public Market and Eatery, Juneteenth celebrations are a way for him to connect food, friends and family.

“Just like Thanksgiving, Christmas, anything, any major holiday and we use it as an excuse to be close and be with family,” he said.

Foods created by Black communities are a cornerstone of America’s culinary heritage.

“It was our cooking that pretty much brought everything about,” he said, “Even back in the day when we were enslaved, they didn't cook their own food even. So food's always been a thing for us.”

Saturday, he and other food vendors are gathering in Boise for a Juneteenth celebration open to the public. He’s bringing deep fried ribs, sauces and banana pudding.

“I never had Nigerian food, so it would be nice to actually try some good Nigerian food,” Charles said.

He’s talking about Zainab Abimbola’s food, who’ll be at the same event. Originally from West Africa, she’s the owner of A Taste of Nigeria African Cuisine.

“I’m open to giving them Jollof Rice, which is most popular in Nigeria.” said Abimbola.

It’s a chicken and rice dish, flavored with tomatoes, and spices. She’s also bringing sweets.

"I'm doing the fried plantains. Dodo, we call it back in Africa,``" she said, “That's the big banana. We get them deep fried. They’re naturally sweet.”

She started her food truck years ago, because she wanted to share flavors from her homeland with locals.

“It's a celebration of the freedom of the slaves. So it’s important,” said Abimbola.

Juneteenth is about celebrating freedom, a concept Charles says is still a work in progress.

Saturday's Juneteenth celebration will be at the Idaho Botanical Gardens starting at noon today. Click here for a more detailed schedule.

Follow Gustavo Sagrero on Instagram @gus.chavo

Copyright Boise State Public Radio 2021

Gustavo Sagrero has spent his early years as part of many Boise community projects; from music festivals, to Radio Boise, to the Boise Weekly, before leaving his hometown to work in fine dining abroad. Si gusta compartir un relato, no duda en comunicarse.

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