• Ellen Harris

A Virtual Juneteenth Sunday Dinner

Updated: Aug 16

In 2010, I started holding dinners that I called Skillet Gatherings. By 2016, I began calling them Cookbook Club Sunday Dinners. Dishes for each dinner are prepared around a theme. Mostly the dinners are held on a quarterly basis and are a way to bring folks together to celebrate family, friends, and community.


Since moving to the Mississippi Delta, I’ve continued to hold the dinners. This year’s calendar included a March 15 dinner, but of course COVID got in the way. But you’re all probably like me and ready to safely get beyond this darn pandemic. Knowing that a friend, who’s far more techno savvy than me and has been holding virtual Happy Hours with friends, I suggested we hold a virtual Juneteenth Sunday Dinner, which had been on my original schedule; https://www.thirdwardzen.net/cookbook-club-sunday-dinner.

Today was the day and the first virtual dinner was hosted by Third Ward Zen, https://www.thirdwardzen.net/, and Dee Dee’s Kitchen, https://www.facebook.com/ChezDeeDeesKitchen/. Everyone was told to prepare a meal that gave them comfort. For this dinner there was to be no judgement on the amount of calories. Fifteen of us in MS, FL, MD, VA, and PA were on a Zoom call, including one husband who actively participated. However, next time we should count the family members that are in the background enjoying their meals. We, also, should get more pictures of the great food that was described and shown.


Our ‘meal’ began with a celebratory salute to Juneteenth, it’s purpose and history. A short meditation on loving kindness was said to move our spirits for the moment. We talked briefly about a few virtual ground rules to ensure everyone got a chance to speak. The remaining time was spent sharing a little bit about each other and what foods we had prepared. A few of the meals are featured below.


I prepared three salads: spicy shrimp & noodle with jalapenos from my garden, Black Cherry tomatoes and cucumbers from my garden, and watermelon & jalapenos; paired with white wine.

Dee Dee’s Kitchen, https://www.facebook.com/ChezDeeDeesKitchen/, prepared curried chicken with sweet potatoes, rice & peas, and kale from her garden.

Friends in Arlington, VA prepared turkey necks with black-eyed peas, mushrooms, rice, cornbread, devil eggs, peach/date salad, and fresh squeezed lemonade.

We ended our virtual Juneteenth Sunday Dinner with stomachs full at our respective homes, parting words, and spirits lifted having enjoyed each other’s company.




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