Package 6

Explore the references playwright Jarrett McCreary and designer Sara Outing used in creating the sixth and final package in A BREATH FOR US.

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A pecan pie with several slices removed
A collection of origami cootie catchers with messages and drawings

Pecan Pie and "Jubilee"

Ruthy’s family recipe for Scotch Pecan Pie was adapted from Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking by Toni Tipton-Martin. Tipton-Martin chose the recipes in Jubilee from African American cookbooks — some nearly 200 years old — in her extensive collection. She was inspired by Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, a Harlem Renaissance-era historian, who catalogued and promoted Black cooking styles and recipes as important contributions to American culture. Because it pulls from chefs and resources across the last two centuries, a wide variety of Black culinary voices and influences are represented in Jubilee — including a recipe for ribs from Bobby Seale, co-founder of the Black Panthers.

According to Tipton-Martin, “I chose the title Jubilee because it suggests a freedom from the encumbrances of prejudicial thinking and preconceived notions.”

(Image: A completed Jubilee pecan pie from Texas Monthly)

Learn More:
Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking on
Interview with Toni Tipton-Martin about the book and its recipes
WATCH: Virtual discussion and cooking demonstration

Cootie Catcher

Ruthy and Josie’s code system is based on the cootie catcher, adapted from the childhood game also known as the paper fortune teller. Versions of it also exist throughout Europe, potentially dating back to the 17th century. It became popular in the United States among school-aged kids in the 1950s and caught on very quickly. While the basic functioning is the same, the final text can be messages, fortunes, actions, or anything else the maker can imagine.

Learn more:
Make your own cootie catcher
The literature of cootie catchers
KEY: Solutions for Ruthy’s coded messages to Josie with the Letter 6 images