You might want to brush up on your 19th-century history.
There will be a quiz later.
And while you’re working to come up with the answers to that quiz, more than 25 men from the community are going to feed you.
That’s if you’re attending Sunday’s 12th annual Juneteenth: Men Who Cook event at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology.
The event is billed as “deliciousness, with a side of history.”
But just because there will be a history lesson, don’t think the event is going to feel like a classroom.
“Generally, it’s a very relaxed kind of event,” says Brian Nguyen, marketing specialist for Lancaster’s Community Action Partnership, one of the organizers of the Juneteenth celebration.
Darlene Colon says she’ll be at the event, portraying Lydia Hamilton Smith, the African-American businesswoman who managed the Lancaster household of abolitionist U.S. Rep. Thaddeus Stevens.
Colon, as Smith, will introduce the 27 men from the community who will be cooking a variety of main dishes, sides and desserts to feed those attending, Nguyen says.
All but about eight of the cooks are new to the event this year, he says.
Colon also will introduce other local historical figures such as Stevens, poet Frances Harper and York businessman William Goodridge, portrayed by living-history interpreters.
“People just go around, chatting and chewing," Nguyen says, and then the character actors that are there will give a little ... history lesson, and just talk through everything that’s going to be covered in the history quiz.”
The quiz covers information about Juneteenth, the historical observance of June 19, 1865, when the news of Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation finally reached the enslaved people in Galveston, Texas.
It also covers some of the Lancaster historical figures being portrayed, Nguyen says.
“And there are some cool prizes for participating in the quiz,” he adds.
There are also raffles for donated prizes, including a barbecue grill.
As always, the men cooking for the event are bringing a wide variety of dishes, served up in “Costco-sized samples,” Nguyen says.
Nguyen is cooking at the event for the first time this year.
“I’m making pastelitos,” Nguyen says. “They’re similar to an empanada, and are filled with beef and spices.”
“I absolutely love the dish,” Nguyen says. “It’s one that really resonates with me, going back to my college days.
“When I was in college, I was kind of in a surrogate family, in a sense. They’ve taken really great care of me through my college years. Every weekend I would stop by their house for dinner, and they were always making pastelitos.”
Another cook for the day, Dan Jurman, chief executive officer of Community Action Project, will be bringing mini cheesecakes to serve at the event.
“This is a recipe I came across several years ago that I tried for friends and family,” Jurman says in an email. “Cheesecake is always popular with my family, and is my oldest child’s favorite dessert. I modified it a little to be able to make 200 servings for Men Who Cook.
“I don’t bake often, but I enjoy doing it for this event,” Jurman adds.
Lancaster County Commissioner Craig Lehman is back to cook at the event this year, as well.
“I will be preparing green pea salad,” he says. “It’s my mother-in-law’s recipe (Judy Gonzalez), and it’s just a great summer dish — great for picnics and summer events.”
The salad has peas, bacon, ranch dressing and a little bit of red onion.
“For me, it’s about supporting Crispus Attucks and all the work that they do,” Lehman says. “But Juneteenth is also about celebrating freedom.”
Marquis Lupton, of Lancaster, a media analyst for the state House of Representatives, says he will be making stuffed peppers to serve at the event — his first time cooking there.
“It’s actually a recipe from a friend that I tried out about 10 years ago,” Lupton says. It came from her food blog, he says. “I’ve been making it ever since.”
The peppers are stuffed with rice, ground turkey sausage and cheese, Lupton adds.
The Juneteenth event is also ready for its closeup, Lupton believes. So his local podcasting network, TCP Network, will be broadcasting the event live on its Facebook page.
“We’re also going to be raffling off some podcast appearances” on some of TCP’s nine local podcasts, Lupton, a former broadcast journalist in Maryland and New Jersey, says.
“We’re going to highlight some of the people and some of the food,” he says, adding he hopes seeing the event live will encourage more people to get involved with, and come to, next year’s Juneteenth event.
Another new cook this year is Mark Wieder, co-owner of The Pop’d Shop on North Queen Street.
“I moved to Lancaster last August,” Wieder says, “and I’ve really been welcomed into the community, which is awesome.”
He is making matzo ball soup to serve at the Men Who Cook event.
“It’s so culturally diverse here in Lancaster,” Wieder says. “And I’ve really been welcomed into Puerto Rican, black and brown communities. I’ve learned a lot about cultural diversity just within this last year or so.
“The more I read about how (Juneteenth) is such a joyful event” surrounding the end of slavery for African-Americans, he says, the more he thought about his Jewish heritage, and how Jews were persecuted — enslaved by the Nazis and later set free — during the World War II era.
“I thought it was only fitting to bring a piece of my heritage to the event,” Wieder says. He got the soup recipe from friends of his family.
“It’ll be an exciting event,” Nguyen says. “There’s going to be delicious food, and it’s a great way to bring community together over a good meal.”