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Pumpkin Soup is for Sunday
      By Liliane Nerette Louis & Cheryl Holder

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During the period of French colonial rule in Haiti, soup joumou was a delicacy reserved for the colonial rulers; however, although it was enslaved cooks who prepared the dish, neither they nor their fellow slaves were permitted to consume it. All that changed on January 1, 1804, when Haiti, after years of armed struggle, won its independence from France and became the world’s first black independent nation.  

Since that time, Haitians, both in the island nation and abroad, have eaten the once-forbidden pumpkin-based soup each January 1 as a reminder, and symbol, of the hard-won war that liberated the Haitian population and resulted in the country’s independence. 

In this softcover, illustrated children’s book, "Pumpkin Soup is for Sunday," we follow Gigi as she learns to make soup joumou (pron. soup zhoo-moo) from her grandmother. In addition to the recipe, we also learn bits of Haitian culture and French phrases.  

Liliane Nérette Louis, a Haitian culture bearer specializing in storytelling, cooking, and traditional medicine, co-authored the 19-page book with Cheryl Holder, and it was self-published in 2011. Other works by Louis include "When Night Falls, Kric! Krak!: Haitian Folktales" (1999); and "The Magic of Zenga and the Pumpkin Soup" (2014).

 Louis grew up in Port au-Prince, Haiti. A former teacher in Haiti, she holds a master’s degree in Human Resources Development and Administration from Barry University. 

Louis lived for a time in New York before relocating, in 1977, to the Miami area, where she began offering storytelling/cooking demonstrations at schools, museums, and other venues.

Louis is a perennial favorite at the Florida Folk Festival in White Springs, Florida, and has served as a Master Artist in the Florida Folklife Apprenticeship Program. She is a two-time winner of the Florida Individual Artist Fellowship in Folk Arts, and was awarded an Individual Artist Fellowship Award for her dedication to preserving the traditional art of Haitian storytelling. As well, History Miami (formerly the Historical Association of Southern Florida) has awarded Louis a bronze medal.


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