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Women of African descent have contributed to America’s food culture for centuries, but their rich and varied involvement is still overshadowed by the demeaning stereotype of an illiterate “Aunt Jemima” who cooked mostly by natural instinct. To discover the true role of black women in the creation of American, and especially southern, cuisine, Toni Tipton-Martin has spent y Women of African descent have contributed to America’s food culture for centuries, but their rich and varied involvement is still overshadowed by the demeaning stereotype of an illiterate “Aunt Jemima” who cooked mostly by natural instinct. To discover the true role of black women in the creation of American, and especially southern, cuisine, Toni Tipton-Martin has spent years amassing one of the world’s largest private collections of cookbooks published by African American authors, looking for evidence of their impact on American food, families, and communities and for ways we might use that knowledge to inspire community wellness of every kind. The Jemima Code presents more than 150 black cookbooks that range from a rare 1827 house servant’s manual, the first book published by an African American in the trade, to modern classics by authors such as Edna Lewis and Vertamae Grosvenor. The books are arranged chronologically and illustrated with photos of their covers; many also display selected interior pages, including recipes. Tipton-Martin provides notes on the authors and their contributions and the significance of each book, while her chapter introductions summarize the cultural history reflected in the books that follow. These cookbooks offer firsthand evidence that African Americans cooked creative masterpieces from meager provisions, educated young chefs, operated food businesses, and nourished the African American community through the long struggle for human rights. The Jemima Code transforms America’s most maligned kitchen servant into an inspirational and powerful model of culinary wisdom and cultural authority.


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Women of African descent have contributed to America’s food culture for centuries, but their rich and varied involvement is still overshadowed by the demeaning stereotype of an illiterate “Aunt Jemima” who cooked mostly by natural instinct. To discover the true role of black women in the creation of American, and especially southern, cuisine, Toni Tipton-Martin has spent y Women of African descent have contributed to America’s food culture for centuries, but their rich and varied involvement is still overshadowed by the demeaning stereotype of an illiterate “Aunt Jemima” who cooked mostly by natural instinct. To discover the true role of black women in the creation of American, and especially southern, cuisine, Toni Tipton-Martin has spent years amassing one of the world’s largest private collections of cookbooks published by African American authors, looking for evidence of their impact on American food, families, and communities and for ways we might use that knowledge to inspire community wellness of every kind. The Jemima Code presents more than 150 black cookbooks that range from a rare 1827 house servant’s manual, the first book published by an African American in the trade, to modern classics by authors such as Edna Lewis and Vertamae Grosvenor. The books are arranged chronologically and illustrated with photos of their covers; many also display selected interior pages, including recipes. Tipton-Martin provides notes on the authors and their contributions and the significance of each book, while her chapter introductions summarize the cultural history reflected in the books that follow. These cookbooks offer firsthand evidence that African Americans cooked creative masterpieces from meager provisions, educated young chefs, operated food businesses, and nourished the African American community through the long struggle for human rights. The Jemima Code transforms America’s most maligned kitchen servant into an inspirational and powerful model of culinary wisdom and cultural authority.

30 review for The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mackey

    There is more than one way to burn a book and there are plenty of people running around with matches.  ~Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451blockquote> #BannedBookWeek continues at #Macsbooks as I take a look at The Jemima Code by Toni Tipton-Martin. While this book has not been "banned," the contents of the book have been questioned, hidden and lied about for centuries. As Bradbury states in the quote above, you don't have to literally ban or burn a book in order to suppress the information. T There is more than one way to burn a book and there are plenty of people running around with matches.  ~Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451blockquote> #BannedBookWeek continues at #Macsbooks as I take a look at The Jemima Code by Toni Tipton-Martin. While this book has not been "banned," the contents of the book have been questioned, hidden and lied about for centuries. As Bradbury states in the quote above, you don't have to literally ban or burn a book in order to suppress the information. That is exactly what has happened to African American cooks, chefs, Nannies and Mammies over the years. In The Jemima Code - which is NOT a cookbook, by the way - Tipton-Martin has compiled and curated the stories, histories and covers of many lost African-American cookbooks. The books were "lost" to us for the simple fact that they are authored or written by or about African American cooks. It was long held as a "fact" that southern cooking came from the white homes in the southern part of the US. It was also believed that the African Americans who cooked in these homes were "uncreative" and merely copied the recipes that they were taught. Furthermore, we are told that these recipes are unhealthy, lead to obesity, and should not be replicated in today's "healthier" homes. Yeah, right. I was raised in the south and love southern food. However, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that white southern women did none of their cooking well into the latter part of the 20th century. Our grandmothers, great aunts, great grandmothers had "help," if not outright slaves who did their cooking and cleaning for them. As a result, nearly all of the recipes that today are considered "southern" by cooks in the south, actually originated by African slaves and Creoles living in the south. Cornbread, fried fish, waffles, grits, black-eyed peas, "southern" fried chicken and biscuits - all were originated by African Americans. Furthermore, in order for white southerners to take credit for these recipes and fine cooking, they suppressed the cookbooks that these African American chefs had printed. Interestingly, I was raised in Arkansas, home to Bill Clinton. While governor there, he boasted about the great food that was served at the Governor's Mansion. For years, it was assumed that the chef at the mansion was a world renown chef. It turns out that for nearly a half century the food was prepared by a marvelous chef name Eliza Ashley. She had cooked for presidents, the Rockefellers, dignitaries and movie stars but until the 1980s, she received no credit as being the chef behind the delectable food. The Jemima Code is filled with similar stories and it is tragic. To completely "white-wash" the contributions made by these cooks is egregious. Thanks to Tipton-Martin, we now are able to see just how pervasive this cover up was. I highly recommend reading The Jemima Code for its historical contribution to our heritage. Thank you to @ToniTipton Martin, #Netgalley and the University of Texas Press for my copy of this fabulous book! And now I am off to put on a pot of black eyed peas and bake up a pan of cornbread. Yummy!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Paul Falk

    Having eluded my attention over the years, the author revealed some startling news concerning the world of cooking. Getting to the heart of the matter, the art of African American cooking evolved from its early beginnings in the Deep South. Many slaves blessed with talented culinary skills provided outstanding meals for their owners. Back in the day, a preposterous notion was born out of a robust stereotypical black woman. Portrayed as happy-go-lucky, she provided all of the needed nanny, housek Having eluded my attention over the years, the author revealed some startling news concerning the world of cooking. Getting to the heart of the matter, the art of African American cooking evolved from its early beginnings in the Deep South. Many slaves blessed with talented culinary skills provided outstanding meals for their owners. Back in the day, a preposterous notion was born out of a robust stereotypical black woman. Portrayed as happy-go-lucky, she provided all of the needed nanny, housekeeping and cooking skills for the white slave owners. As the fantasy had grown, she had become to be affectionately known as Aunt Jemima. Fortunately, misconceptions have greatly changed since those early days of ignorance. Ever so slowly, since the post-civil War era, recognition long overdue had been rightfully credited to many African-American cooks. The mold of the mythical Aunt Jemima had finally been shattered. Many African-Americans cooks and authors have now taken their acknowledged place among some of the best culinary chefs in America. Savory, award-winning secret recipes of yesterday grace the pages of this book. The time is at hand. I would recommend this cookbook to anyone wanting to take another look at some of the best dishes to satisfy our palates. My gratitude is sent to NetGalley and University of Texas Press for this digital edition in exchange for an unbiased review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lara Maynard

    This is an important book. The Jemima Code ought to be in all relevant food history courses and also be required reading at American culinary institutes. It's worth reading just for the forewords by John Egerton and Barbara Haber and Tipton-Martin's introduction. The Jemima Code is not at all a cookbook, but is rather a survey and individual critique of a more than 150 of them. Still, I did pull a few recipes from the illustrations, including one for a spicy chocolate cake that I will try withou This is an important book. The Jemima Code ought to be in all relevant food history courses and also be required reading at American culinary institutes. It's worth reading just for the forewords by John Egerton and Barbara Haber and Tipton-Martin's introduction. The Jemima Code is not at all a cookbook, but is rather a survey and individual critique of a more than 150 of them. Still, I did pull a few recipes from the illustrations, including one for a spicy chocolate cake that I will try without much delay. And upon finishing The Jemima Code, I immediately looked up Toni Tipton-Martin's Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking and look forward to trying some of its 125 recipes. And if anyone has any doubts about whether Aunt Jemima mammy image labeling is racist, please let those be laid to rest forever now. After finishing this book, I immediately went to Toni Tipton-Martin's Twitter feed to see her reaction to The Quaker Oats Company's June 2020 announcement that it is pulling Aunt Jemima branding from its pancake syrup packaging and changing the name of the brand. On June 17/20, Tipton-Martin tweeted: "This acknowledges that our ancestors' names, proficiencies, and values have been weaponized and monetized, not equalized; exalts elements associated with real black cooks; and validates calls for truth and equity being demanded by young people in the streets." And on June 18/20 she posted a link to The Jemima Code on the publisher's website, tweeting, "IT'S BAAAACK!!! With a pretty new @beardfoudation [sic: @beardfoundation] award sticker on the cover! Tell a friend, especially those confused by Quaker Oats's decision." Indeed! -- I read an advance review digital copy of The Jemima Code by Toni Tipton-Martin via the publisher and NetGalley. This review is voluntary.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Addy

    Background: Toni Tipton-Martin is an award-winning food and nutrition journalist. She grew up in sunny L.A., California and with the dispute her southern born relatives and their cooking, she herself could create soul food dishes. She admits this because of the negativity surrounding black women and the [soul] food they worked hard to create to feed their families (and their employer's families). Because southern food is often associated with African-American (who are stereotyped as naturally gif Background: Toni Tipton-Martin is an award-winning food and nutrition journalist. She grew up in sunny L.A., California and with the dispute her southern born relatives and their cooking, she herself could create soul food dishes. She admits this because of the negativity surrounding black women and the [soul] food they worked hard to create to feed their families (and their employer's families). Because southern food is often associated with African-American (who are stereotyped as naturally gifted in food, but uncreative, and simple), poverty, and ill-health, the author was disinterested in her cultural cuisine. This picture is slowly changing thanks to scholars and independent writers like the Southern Foodways' Alliance oral history projects that works to preserve America's southern/soul food and its complex history and its unknown artisans. After finishing school she noticed the lack of black cooks in culinary tradition and decided to find them. The Book: The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks is an anthology that covers over one hundred books written by African-American women, on behalf of African-American (some cooks were illiterate), and some African-American men. It is the most comprehensive book on cookbooks written by people of African descent written to date. At a time where white "lard-core" male chefs and “their” old-fashioned southern meals are all the rage, Tipton-Martin's book sets the record straight on who really created these 'what old is new' again food fad. The book is broken into 13 parts: Forward by John Egerton Forward by Barbara Haber Introduction 19th century cookbooks - Breaking a Stereotype. 1900-1925 - Surviving Mammyism: Cooking lessons for work and Home 1926-1950 - The Servant Problem: Dual Messages 1951-1960 - Lifting as we climb: Tea cakes, finger sandwiches, community service, and civil rights 1961-1970 - Soul Food: Mama's cooking leaves home for the big city 1971-1980 - Simple Pleasures: A Soul food revival 1981- 1990 - Mammy's Makeovers: The ever-useful life 1991-2001 - The Hope of Jemima Acknowledgments Index Layout: The book goes in a pretty consistent pattern. Each section starts with a quote and an introduction about the book part itself followed by the cook book. The cook book’s pages in question give the title, the author (or whoever on behalf of the author if they were illiterate), other details in italics (ex: "Chairman of Ways and Means Department, New Jersey State Federation of Colored Women's Clubs"), where the books was published and how many pages. There is almost always a high res photo of the book cover. More than some have some photo scan of a recipe. The authors will give a brief commentary on the cook (if there is one provided in the book), how the layout of the cookbook (from the paper, the binding and the fonts used), and sometimes a few recipe titles listed the book. Pros: First, let me thank the author for giving a voice to a group of Americans that have historically had none. I loved when she mentioned of the dishes that had clear, direct West African influences. She even names several African-Americans and what dish they created. For example, Sally Washington is credited for the famous "Red Rice" dish that my remind many of Jollof rice. This was huge for me as many don’t think it’s a West African dish. Google "red rice" and "Anson mills". For those that don’t know, Anson Mill’s ships to many that want to locate hard to find ingredients that were in vogue in the south before the industrialized revolution made other foods widely available because it was cheaper or associated with the bourgeoisie. While Anson Mills give proper credit to African-Americans for bringing over food like benne (sesame), which is a seed native to west Africa, not Asia, Anson Mills states that "Red rice is so rich in influence it is hard to know which version of this dish to consider and where to begin. As far back as the Inquisition, Sephardic Jews fleeing Spain and Portugal arrived in Savannah, bringing connections to Mediterranean foodways (especially when it came to rice)” African-Americans are only somewhat credited for adding pork. To see a book credit African-Americans for a classic dish changes the game for many that refuse to acknowledge that many southern foods are West Africans foods. Something African-Americans have known for decades if not centuries. African-American are told that southern food belong to everyone. Welp, just because you like a dish doesn't make it yours. How many of southern whites (who love involving themselves in African-American creativity) do that with Mexican food? People think that because African-Americans were the laborers, that they had nothing to do with the creation of many classic "southern" meals and they are entitled to the food culture. Simply not true. Several other dishes attributed to us in this book are Sweet potato croquettes (Williams Deas), fried chicken and corn cake (not a dessert; Williams Deas), Shrimp and grits (Williams Deas), She-Crab soup (Williams Deas), Fish Souffle (Williams Deas), Pigeon Peas (Rebecca West), Crowder/field pea and okra (Leah Chase), Bean Cake (like black-eyed peas) with chili sauce (Leah Chase), Okra Salad, Lima (butter bean) soup with flaked fish, Fish baked in the ground between layers of grass and hot coals, Beets, turnips, & okra, Ginger drink (Sallie Miller), Alabama white sauce. The second best part is when she mentions that soul food was "dependent" of fruits, vegetable, beans, and nuts. Many people think that candied yam and fried chicken are everyday soul food dishes. This is simply not true and is the biggest misconception of soul food. Even blacks think soul food will kill you. But the fact is, most blacks 100 years ago only ate meat occasionally. They ate seasonally (chicken was a spring and summer dish eaten around company, and not something you can get any time of day whenever you wanted like today). Everyone had a garden and whatever was there at the time, they ate. Look around and you'll see soul food isn't what's causing the obesity epidemic in black (or white) America. Misguided federal subsiding that makes processed, imitation, convenience food that follow west Eurasian conviction (pizza, burgers, hotdogs) where meat and dairy are the center of the meal instead of vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds, and fruit is the cause. Look at any black person's grocery cart and I doubt you'll find many of the ingredients to make any of the above soul food dishes, respectively. Not only did the author know this, but she even declined to bad mouth her own cultural cuisine when a radio station asked her to speak on soul food. I'm not going to lie, as someone who also loves soul food, understand what true soul food is, and eats it every day, it made me have IMMENSE respect for her. Cons: I honestly wished that the author had flat out told us what dishes were that were created by African-Americans in the beginning and then used the cookbooks as proof that we created these dishes. Instead, if you want to know what we created, you have to read the entire book from front to back. You can't even try to look up the dishes that are by African-Americans and in the index either. Why is this? Tipton-Martin also didn't show the audience the recipes to ANY of the dishes created by us. She mainly mentioned them in passing, like it was not really important. Instead she shows the most random (and sometimes the most common/unhealthy) dishes many which clearly west Eurasian (diary, milk, and sweet based dishes like baked goods). Another problem I have is she doesn't tell you WHY these dishes (and many others) are soul food dishes. For those not in the know, the following foods were introduced to West Eurasians by West African that are native to Africa: rice, watermelon, okra, black-eyed peas, crowder/field peas, benne (sesame), sorghum, alligator pepper (grains of paradise), and tamarind. These are foods introduced first to West Africans that were then introduce to West Eurasians by West Africans: Congo Peas (pigeon peas), peanuts, eggplant, and ginger. Unless you already did your research, you don't know how these foods are soul! She does at least mention West African techniques, but again in passing. One technique I believe she made grave error and just merely mentioning was frying. She states Africans would use seeds and okra to create a thick batter where would then dip meat into the batter and fry in pots. This is mentioned by the author over 100 pages in. This is something of importance because people are reluctant to admit West Africans created the ULTIMATE CLASSIC southern food dish: Fried Chicken. Some say it was the Irish. That's a lie. You can tell, because it is was true, we'd respectively, NEVER hear the end of it. Funny, frying is a huge part of West African cuisine, they often created thick stews and batters, and West Africans knew what chicken (Guinea fowl) was well before they were forced into slavery. The south just so happens to a huge West African population, who raised and cooked the foods, and are deeply associated (read: stereotyped) with this dish, but fried chicken isn't an African-American creation? Okay...Have you noticed that there are no other techniques or classic fried southern dishes attributed to the Irish, respectively? Meanwhile, African-Americans gone on to create more fried classic southern foods: croquettes, fritters, fried pie, cala (in Louisiana), and hushpuppies (google 'the real history behind hushpuppies'). And these dishes are just off the top of my head. Conclusion: If you take nothing from this book, know that African-Americans did in fact create the most of the classic southern dishes: Gumbo, Hoppin' John, Shrimp and Grits, boiled peanuts, She-crab soup, Jambalaya, and black eyed peas. Even if we didn't have experience with baking (a west Eurasian creation) we took it and ran with it. Without Africans, southern food would have bland and uninspiring like British food. We deserve to be credited and young black chefs deserve to know the long strong legacy they stand on, a cuisine that reaches worldwide. Know that blacks weren't just the laborers who grew and cooked the food. Know they were sous chefs in their own right. Know they created works of art that transcended culture and race. Don't let NOBODY tell you different. This book does just that. Its let people know. BONUS: I heard in one interview that the author would write another book with the recipes. Please, if you are reading this Ms. Tipton-Martin, please include ALL the dishes that are credited to African-Americans. All of it. I'd particularly would love to read sweet potato croquette, crowder peas and okra, pigeon peas, bean cake with chili sauce, and red rice. With the exception of red rice, I've never heard of any of these dishes before this book and I would love to add them to my "everyday soul food collection" Feel free to list all the techniques we African-American brought over too, the common and uncommon. Let them know Ms. Tipton-Martin!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    While not a cookbook itself, The Jemima Code is an amazing resource which compiles the history of African American cookbooks from the 19th century to the present. I wasn't really sure how interesting a encyclopedia/resource type book would be, but it was fascinating to see what the cookbooks looked like and read how African Americans, specifically women, and the ingredients that they used shaped the food history of America. I initially thought this would include some recipes but it does not othe While not a cookbook itself, The Jemima Code is an amazing resource which compiles the history of African American cookbooks from the 19th century to the present. I wasn't really sure how interesting a encyclopedia/resource type book would be, but it was fascinating to see what the cookbooks looked like and read how African Americans, specifically women, and the ingredients that they used shaped the food history of America. I initially thought this would include some recipes but it does not other than some reprinted pictures of recipes which are not easy to read. However if you are interested in finding the recipes, you are literally reading the book written about them so I don't think it will take too much work to track down some good cookbooks.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Read In Colour

    Would have liked more recipes. Instead it's more about who created the recipes & what cookbooks they published. Would have liked more recipes. Instead it's more about who created the recipes & what cookbooks they published.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    *sigh* This was the October 2018 selection for Nerd Night Out book club and, while we are all big fans of food history and foodways, I think we were all expecting something different. Most of us read some of this book but I don’t think any of us read it all. I, for one, started to lose interest as the cookbooks featured became more modern. Some of the older ones – I’d love to read sometime. Overall, my rating reflects what this book IS rather than what we thought it was. This is an amazing and n *sigh* This was the October 2018 selection for Nerd Night Out book club and, while we are all big fans of food history and foodways, I think we were all expecting something different. Most of us read some of this book but I don’t think any of us read it all. I, for one, started to lose interest as the cookbooks featured became more modern. Some of the older ones – I’d love to read sometime. Overall, my rating reflects what this book IS rather than what we thought it was. This is an amazing and needed catalogue of African American cookbooks – those published by African American cooks – and provides an interesting and at times uncomfortable peek into stereotypes and attitudes underlying a lot of the cultural, social, and foodways history of race and cooking in America. If nothing else, this book really emphasized for me the bizarre, almost contortionist attempts through history to both praise and elevate typical “southern” foods but also degrade the skill and knowledge of the cooks themselves, dismissing learned and honed technique as instinct or gut cooking.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kimba Tichenor

    Much more than a coffee table book, this book provides a unique illustrated history of two centuries of African American cuisine and of the broader culture in which each book came to be. The book is arranged in chronological sections; each section opens with a short introductory essay that provides an overview of the cultural backdrop against which the books were circulated or published. It traces the persistence of racial stereotypes and the moments of triumph over those stereotypes. After the Much more than a coffee table book, this book provides a unique illustrated history of two centuries of African American cuisine and of the broader culture in which each book came to be. The book is arranged in chronological sections; each section opens with a short introductory essay that provides an overview of the cultural backdrop against which the books were circulated or published. It traces the persistence of racial stereotypes and the moments of triumph over those stereotypes. After the introductory essay, the reader is treated to illustrations depicting the cookbook covers and select pages from between the covers. For each cookbook, there is also provided background information on the author(s), their contributions, and the significance of the book. Through the images, the author provides a firsthand look at the creativity, expertise, and ingenuity of African American cooks and their impact on a wide range of cuisines. I would like to thank Net Galley, the publisher, and the author for a chance to view this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    LenaRibka

    DNF at 50% I am disappointed, I thought it would be a book with many recipes from the two centuries o f African American cooking books, but it was in the first place a history of cookbooks that was not what I expected when I had requested it. My other complaining was a format of this book that was not comfortable to handle for me as a reader. For sure interesting insights in American history, but the book didn't get all my attention and I gave up somewhere in the middle of it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Emmalita

    It’s one thing to know intellectually that a system of oppression requires erasure of the oppressed, and another thing to try to understand how that erasure happens and glimpse the truth being hidden. When I read Michael Twitty’s The Cooking Gene, he referenced Toni Tipton-Martin’s The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks. It immediately went on my tbr. A few weeks ago I was browsing around on NetGalley and saw it there, though it was published in 2015. I snapped it up and ha It’s one thing to know intellectually that a system of oppression requires erasure of the oppressed, and another thing to try to understand how that erasure happens and glimpse the truth being hidden. When I read Michael Twitty’s The Cooking Gene, he referenced Toni Tipton-Martin’s The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks. It immediately went on my tbr. A few weeks ago I was browsing around on NetGalley and saw it there, though it was published in 2015. I snapped it up and have been reading it off and on for the last 5 weeks. This is an honest review. Tipton-Martin is an award winning author, a culinary journalist who has written for the LA Times and was the Food Editor for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and a community activist. While working at the LA Times, she began to wonder where the black cooks were in the history of American foodways. She began collecting the evidence of African American cooks and butlers – cookbooks from the 1800’s to the present, many of which were self published. The cookbooks provide a record of knowledge and skill, defying the stereotypes and illuminating the connections Black cooks maintained despite systemic oppression. In her introduction, Tipton-Martin talks about the importance of the record these cookbooks and household management book provide in the face of Aunt Jemima. Historically, the Jemima code was an arrangement of words and images synchronized to classify the character and life’s work of our nation’s black cooks as insignificant. The encoded message assumes that black chefs, cooks, and cookbook authors – by virtue of their race and gender – are simply born with good kitchen instincts; diminishes knowledge, skills, and abilities involved in their work, and portrays them as passive and ignorant laborers incapable of creative culinary artistry. Throughout the twentieth century, the Aunt Jemima advertising trademark and the mythical mammy figure in southern literature provided a shorthand translation for a subtle message that went something like this: “If slaves can cook, you can too,” or “Buy this flour and you’ll cook with the same black magic that Jemima put into her pancakes.” In short: a sham. Tipton-Martin puts the cookbooks in the context of the time in which they were published. As she moves into more contemporaneous times, we also see how the erasure of Black cooks and the importance of African American foodways is not confined to the distant past. Take Craig Claiborne, from Sunflower, Mississippi, for instance. In 1987, the the former New York Times food editor organized three hundred recipes from “many of the South’s best cooks,” including Paul Prudhomme and Bill Neal. Only one of them, Edna Lewis, was black. … But he blushes at never having heard of catfish in white sauce “until we experimented with it in my own kitchen, calling it, ‘an excellent Southern dish with French overtones.’” The free woman of color Malinda Russell called the dish Catfish Fricassee in her groundbreaking cookbook way back in 1866. She isn’t accusing Claiborne of being a malignant racist, she’s illustrating the impact of centuries of erasure. Claiborne never considers how integral African American foodways are to Southern cooking, even though he definitely should have known better. You should always be suspect of any proclamations about Southern cuisine that don’t include Black chefs. This has also happened with the popularization of BBQ and the hip white pit masters. BBQ has deep African roots, and anyone who lauds only the Aaron Franklins of the world is promoting a white washed lie. This is not a cookbook. It is a fascinating history. If you are interested primarily in recipes, Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African-American Cooking: A Cookbook will be released on November 5.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kristine

    The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks by Toni Tipton-Martin is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late June just after my boyfriend's birthday. After a couple of introductions from her colleagues about the offensive smarting sting of a racial stereotype like Aunt Jemima, Tipton-Martin sweeps in and talks about purchasing cookbooks, domestic service missives, and catering guides by African American authors, as well as the need to appropriate Aunt Jemima as a kind of power The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks by Toni Tipton-Martin is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late June just after my boyfriend's birthday. After a couple of introductions from her colleagues about the offensive smarting sting of a racial stereotype like Aunt Jemima, Tipton-Martin sweeps in and talks about purchasing cookbooks, domestic service missives, and catering guides by African American authors, as well as the need to appropriate Aunt Jemima as a kind of power character who has exclusive access to a powerful nurturing, culinary, homemaking, and managerial code. Then, armed with her arsenal of cookbooks, she critiques and outlines a select amount of them chronologically and a dry academic fashion. To get the true feel of each book, you really have to squint at the scant 2-3 photos that Tipton-Smith chose to represent them. A little disheartening.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Julie (Jewlsbookblog)

    The Jemima Code is more of a resource book, and not an actual cookbook, that provides a chronological compilation of the history of African American cooking beginning in the 19th century to 2000's. Although the book wasn't what I was expecting, the sheer wealth of information the author dispensed was fascinating. The presentation was a little on the dry side, but the sections were spaced in such a way that I never felt overwhelmed while reading. I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this bo The Jemima Code is more of a resource book, and not an actual cookbook, that provides a chronological compilation of the history of African American cooking beginning in the 19th century to 2000's. Although the book wasn't what I was expecting, the sheer wealth of information the author dispensed was fascinating. The presentation was a little on the dry side, but the sections were spaced in such a way that I never felt overwhelmed while reading. I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher via NetGalley.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    You would think cook books would be free of racial prejudice, but after reading The Jemima Code you see a long history of racial segregation that still exists in cook books today. Over hundred years of racial history told though cooks. The Jemima Code is great and highly recommend it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kidada

    This is a gorgeous history of African American cookbooks.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Melise

    This was an interesting book, in a format I don’t think I have ever seen before. According to the publisher’s notes about the book, the author has one of the largest private collections of cookbooks by/about African American cooks, and this book is a compilation of reviews/descriptions of more than 150 of these cookbooks. The book is divided into chapters that are broken down by time periods. Each chapter begins with a short essay about the historical period covered within that chapter, and the This was an interesting book, in a format I don’t think I have ever seen before. According to the publisher’s notes about the book, the author has one of the largest private collections of cookbooks by/about African American cooks, and this book is a compilation of reviews/descriptions of more than 150 of these cookbooks. The book is divided into chapters that are broken down by time periods. Each chapter begins with a short essay about the historical period covered within that chapter, and the how the cookbooks of that particular era reflected the beliefs society held about these chefs and home cooks during that period. This essay is followed by entries about each individual cookbook, featuring a photo of the cover, a description of the content, and sometimes images from inside the book as well. I found myself slightly disappointed with this book. At first because I was hoping to find more actual recipes, but once I really understood that this was not the intent of the book, I found myself disappointed that the later chapters felt much less analytical about the social milieu out of which those later books arose. I finished the book unsure whether the author was trying to provide a bibliography of sorts featuring African American cookbooks, in which case I would have liked to see more of the actual pages inside the books, or if she was trying to do a scholarly examination of society as reflected through the framework of cookbooks, in which case I wish she would have included fewer books, and examined the ones she did include more closely. In either situation I finished this book with a better understanding of what my college professors meant when they told me that I hadn’t taken my argument far enough. I would love to read more from this author, but only if she digs more deeply into what we can learn about society through a careful examination of the domestic art of cooking. I received an advanced reading copy from University of Texas Press via NetGalley. Thanks!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Fitzpatrick

    This is neither a cookbook nor a history book. It is more like an annotated bibliography, with really long entries. African American cookbooks published from the 1820s to the 1990s are described in great detail - how the book is organized, the kinds of recipes that are included, and any special features like illustrations. They are addressed chronologically and grouped into eras, each with a few pages of historical background at the beginning. Very few recipes are provided and there isn't much i This is neither a cookbook nor a history book. It is more like an annotated bibliography, with really long entries. African American cookbooks published from the 1820s to the 1990s are described in great detail - how the book is organized, the kinds of recipes that are included, and any special features like illustrations. They are addressed chronologically and grouped into eras, each with a few pages of historical background at the beginning. Very few recipes are provided and there isn't much information on the life of the author or their book's reception by the public. I did not find this book to be an easy read, even though I am interested in history. Looking at each cookbook one by one felt too fragmented to me. The shifts in culinary technique from one cookbook to the next were too nuanced to hold my attention for very long. Plus when they described each cookbook I repeatedly found myself asking, "How is this different from cookbooks of the time that weren't written by an African American author?" That wasn't the case for all cookbooks - for some the connection to the black experience in America was very clear. But I did a lot of skimming past other cookbooks that were just about how to cook.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Arielle

    2017 Reading Challenge - A book about food I wanted to love this book. I think I also wanted more from this book than it offered. In reality, it is a very detailed annotated bibliography of African-American cookbooks with small prefaces to each section. It didn't feel like an analysis of the cookbooks. It didn't have a lot of materials that historically contextualized them. There was very little information on how they were received, if they were bought and used within a predominantly Black commu 2017 Reading Challenge - A book about food I wanted to love this book. I think I also wanted more from this book than it offered. In reality, it is a very detailed annotated bibliography of African-American cookbooks with small prefaces to each section. It didn't feel like an analysis of the cookbooks. It didn't have a lot of materials that historically contextualized them. There was very little information on how they were received, if they were bought and used within a predominantly Black communities or White. The writing was often abrupt and left off in what seemed like thoughts almost unfinished. The recipe books in the first half of book seemed to be broken down in a more detailed manner and were accompanied by many graphics, including recipes. The second half of the book seemed to rush through the recipe books and rarely provided a graphic of recipes. Additionally it was quite frustrating when the author would talk about a recipe, but then the recipe included wouldn't be one that was discussed, this happened a few times. All this being said, it was clearly well researched and the author was passionate about the topic. It will serve as a great resource for further intellectual endeavors and food studies.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Philpotts

    The Jemima Code by Toni Tipton-Martin is a fantastic history of the contributions Black cooks have made to American foodways, explored through 150 profiles of cookbooks published from 1827 to 1990. There is nothing else quite like it available and shines a light on cookbooks by African American authors that have not been featured in other books. For instance, Sitwell's A History of Food in 100 Recipes features no African American authored recipes, and Kamali and Bohm's Cookbook Book features onl The Jemima Code by Toni Tipton-Martin is a fantastic history of the contributions Black cooks have made to American foodways, explored through 150 profiles of cookbooks published from 1827 to 1990. There is nothing else quite like it available and shines a light on cookbooks by African American authors that have not been featured in other books. For instance, Sitwell's A History of Food in 100 Recipes features no African American authored recipes, and Kamali and Bohm's Cookbook Book features only one cookbook by an African American authors. Arranged chronologically, each profile features a picture of the cover of the cookbook and one or two pictures of a recipe or text, and a description of the cookbook. It's a comprehensive book, best enjoyed a little at a time. To be noted, this is a book about cookbooks and not a cookbook; if you are looking for a cookbook with a compendium of recipes, see Tipton-Martin's "Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking." Highly recommended for readers interested in food history and/or black history. Thank you to #netgalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Alicia Bayer

    This is a fascinating and well researched book that tells the history of cookbooks in America by African American cooks. It's a heavy read and took me a long time to get through, but it's extremely informative and is the only book of its kind that I know of. The author has done extensive research into these cookbooks and describes each one in chronological order, with a photograph or two of the cover or (perhaps) a recipe inside it. The reader sees how these authors were often forced to present This is a fascinating and well researched book that tells the history of cookbooks in America by African American cooks. It's a heavy read and took me a long time to get through, but it's extremely informative and is the only book of its kind that I know of. The author has done extensive research into these cookbooks and describes each one in chronological order, with a photograph or two of the cover or (perhaps) a recipe inside it. The reader sees how these authors were often forced to present themselves to appeal to the prejudices of the time. I was really hoping to get recipes from the books, but this is not a cookbook and recipes are few and far between. I was able to look up many of them online and read them through public domain sources, though, and I highly recommend doing that for some of the older books. My rating system: 1 = hated it 2 = it was okay 3 = liked it 4 = really liked it 5 = love it, plan to purchase, and/or would buy it again if it was lost I read a temporary digital ARC of the book for the purpose of review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lori White

    The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks by Toni Tipton-Martin is a master class in the contributions African American cooks have made to the culinary world , and it is a class I deeply enjoyed. The lasting takeaway was simple - what most of us think of as Southern food was, in fact, crafted by African American cooks in Southern kitchens. This truth is brought home through the introduction and examination of a wonderful collection of over 150 cookbooks authored by African Amer The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks by Toni Tipton-Martin is a master class in the contributions African American cooks have made to the culinary world , and it is a class I deeply enjoyed. The lasting takeaway was simple - what most of us think of as Southern food was, in fact, crafted by African American cooks in Southern kitchens. This truth is brought home through the introduction and examination of a wonderful collection of over 150 cookbooks authored by African Americans from the 1800s through 2001. Each is carefully placed within a cultural, social and historical context, beginning with enslaved cooks and moving through caterers and paid domestic cooks to restauranteurs and modern day celebrity chefs. I got to know so many amazing cooks during the course of this book, and will definitely be checking out their cookbooks. I should probably mention here that The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks really is NOT a cookbook. The only recipes included within its pages are photos taken from cookbooks written by African American cooks. It is, instead, a look at how Black faces have been systematically and intentionally removed from the history of American - and specifically Southern American - cooking, and a wonderful effort at giving credit where credit is due. As a history book, there are some sections which get a bit academic, but overall, the topic is so fascinating and the storyline so tightly scoped, organized and written, that I was thoroughly engaged. This is a book I will be keeping on my shelf and using as a reference for my continued education on the role African American cooks have played in American foods. It is an education long overdue. This review is based on an advance copy read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sara Hill

    The Jemima Code by Toni Tipton-Martin is a fascinating historical read. I was expecting this to be a bit of history with a lot of recipes and instead, I got the opposite. However, it was absorbing. There were tons of cooking books broken up by time. Each book was shown and there was a critique written about it. There is so much food can teach you about culture and history, and this book is a shining example. If you are interested in history, cooking, or both this book would be an enjoyable read. The Jemima Code by Toni Tipton-Martin is a fascinating historical read. I was expecting this to be a bit of history with a lot of recipes and instead, I got the opposite. However, it was absorbing. There were tons of cooking books broken up by time. Each book was shown and there was a critique written about it. There is so much food can teach you about culture and history, and this book is a shining example. If you are interested in history, cooking, or both this book would be an enjoyable read. I received an eARC from University of Texas Press through NetGalley. All opinions are 100% my own.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    *This book was received as a free reviewer's copy from NetGalley. When I was little, my mom would take the bottle of Aunt Jemima syrup from the fridge (the one shaped like a human) and hide behind the fridge door and use the figure to talk to my brother to convince him to eat his pancakes. He believed she was real. At the time, I didn't realize just what that figure represented, my mother didn't either, it was just advertising and a staple bought from the store. But there's a whole history there, *This book was received as a free reviewer's copy from NetGalley. When I was little, my mom would take the bottle of Aunt Jemima syrup from the fridge (the one shaped like a human) and hide behind the fridge door and use the figure to talk to my brother to convince him to eat his pancakes. He believed she was real. At the time, I didn't realize just what that figure represented, my mother didn't either, it was just advertising and a staple bought from the store. But there's a whole history there, and one that represents both women and men who's contributions have gone unrecognized or works were stolen or brilliance overshadowed by stereotyping. I first heard about this book on one of my favorite podcasts, Gravy, put on by the Southern Foodways Alliance. The episode was so interesting and informative that I knew I had to read the book. It seems to me that so often the history we learn in school is not the history we should be learning. That the dates of wars are not as important as the people in them. Which brings us back to Jemima and the origination of the character. This book unlocks that code that was used to oppress and gives a history of African and Black American cooks and their contributions to cooking and cookbook making. Starting in the 1800's, the author explores by different time periods to show what publications were featuring these writers and cooks and how the general tone of the cookbooks changed over time. For each time period, she includes pictures (make sure you read this in a format that supports full-color pictures), recipes, and other information based on the cookbook collection she has amassed and provides a summary of that cookbook. In general, the format of this book was well done. I liked the summaries of the different cookbooks and how they tied into the generation that was being described. The pictures helped provide nuance and some of the cover illustrations are really wonderful. My only complaint about the format is that the writing itself is in column-style, which I found more difficult to read than the conventional paragraph style. This is definitely a book you don't want to read in one sitting. Like a cookbook, you want to meander, and explore the different time periods at leisure. Or maybe just flip through and look at the titles and pictures and go back to the reading later. However, you might enjoy. Each section starts out with some history of the time period as well, and I think those introductions helped provide useful context to the cookbooks that followed. Interesting, intriguing, and it gave me a new appreciation for these cooks and the adversity they had when marketing and creating these works. This is history that should be examined and just as familiar as that famous bottle of syrup and pancake mix. Review by M. Reynard 2020

  23. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    From the publisher --- Women of African descent have contributed to America’s food culture for centuries, but their rich and varied involvement is still overshadowed by the demeaning stereotype of an illiterate “Aunt Jemima” who cooked mostly by natural instinct. To discover the true role of black women in the creation of American, and especially southern, cuisine, Toni Tipton-Martin has spent years amassing one of the world’s largest private collections of cookbooks published by African America From the publisher --- Women of African descent have contributed to America’s food culture for centuries, but their rich and varied involvement is still overshadowed by the demeaning stereotype of an illiterate “Aunt Jemima” who cooked mostly by natural instinct. To discover the true role of black women in the creation of American, and especially southern, cuisine, Toni Tipton-Martin has spent years amassing one of the world’s largest private collections of cookbooks published by African American authors, looking for evidence of their impact on American food, families, and communities and for ways we might use that knowledge to inspire community wellness of every kind. The Jemima Code presents more than 150 black cookbooks that range from a rare 1827 house servant’s manual, the first book published by an African American in the trade, to modern classics by authors such as Edna Lewis and Vertamae Grosvenor. The books are arranged chronologically and illustrated with photos of their covers; many also display selected interior pages, including recipes. Tipton-Martin provides notes on the authors and their contributions and the significance of each book, while her chapter introductions summarize the cultural history reflected in the books that follow. These cookbooks offer firsthand evidence that African Americans cooked creative masterpieces from meager provisions, educated young chefs, operated food businesses, and nourished the African American community through the long struggle for human rights. The Jemima Code transforms America’s most maligned kitchen servant into an inspirational and powerful model of culinary wisdom and cultural authority. Of all the cookbooks published in the USA from the birth of its nation to the end of the 20th century only a small fraction of them bore the names of African American Cooks. In two centuries pf the estimated over 100,00 recipe that made it into print only 200 or so were credited to black cooks and writers. Cookbooks exist for many reasons: education, imparting culinary authority, passing on traditions, and to raise money for churches to name a few. (ALWAYS trust a church cookbook- my husband will tell you all about the hours I spend in used bookstores looking for books of recipes that you know are amazing and full-proof as their NAME IS ON IT!!!) I personally enjoyed the presentation of the different cookbooks within but the whole book read like a (very disturbing) textbook vs. a non-fiction book you might pick up at the library and enjoy reading your way through. I give it 4.5 stars, but will mark it here as four out of five as it could have been a bit more “enjoyable”!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    Originally published on my blog: Nonstop Reader. The Jemima Code is a historical retrospective of African American culinary tradition throughout American history. Released in 2015 by the University of Texas Press, it's 264 pages and available in hardcover format. This is a meticulously researched and indexed history of African American culinary culture as woven into the fabric of the United States in the form of published cookbooks written by black cooks. The author's respect and dignified tre Originally published on my blog: Nonstop Reader. The Jemima Code is a historical retrospective of African American culinary tradition throughout American history. Released in 2015 by the University of Texas Press, it's 264 pages and available in hardcover format. This is a meticulously researched and indexed history of African American culinary culture as woven into the fabric of the United States in the form of published cookbooks written by black cooks. The author's respect and dignified treatment of the subject is clearly written into the text alongside the academically rigorous and well written prose. The book is arranged in chronological order with facsimile pages, illustrations, and reprints. Although not a cookbook in any form, there are a number of full recipes included from older cookbooks (listed in bold print in the comprehensive index). The recipes are traditional, authentic, and inventive. Due to the nature of race history in the USA over the last centuries, there is a significant portion of the book which I found melancholy and I was deeply affected by the contained stories of generations of black cooks (usually women) working in an unbroken line down to the present day. The book covers dozens and dozens of cookbooks. Each entry contains a picture of the original cookbook cover, often some historical publication information along with the concise and insightful commentary. There are some recipes included as facsimile pages from original texts, but they're not the main attraction. The commentary is unflinching and sometimes painful (for this white girl) to read. There is little that is more culturally and emotionally relevant than our food traditions. This book provides an exhaustive and balanced look at a vital and unique (and large) part of American culinary history. This would be a valuable resource for related academic subjects such as gender studies, American history, black history, advertising, etc. Five stars. Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Denise Billings

    I'm not a great cook. In fact I don't even like to cook. I do like to eat. This collection of cookbooks is wonderfully historic. It tells the truth about who has been doing the cooking in this country for centuries. Painstakingly researched, with beautiful illustrations of the cookbooks and sample recipes that make your mouth water. Showing how we made do with what was available to becoming high end chefs. Sisters in the kitchen (and a few men) have done it all. Surprisingly there were some inte I'm not a great cook. In fact I don't even like to cook. I do like to eat. This collection of cookbooks is wonderfully historic. It tells the truth about who has been doing the cooking in this country for centuries. Painstakingly researched, with beautiful illustrations of the cookbooks and sample recipes that make your mouth water. Showing how we made do with what was available to becoming high end chefs. Sisters in the kitchen (and a few men) have done it all. Surprisingly there were some interesting historical tidbits. Who knew our first President George Washington, had an adopted son, George Washington Parke Custis? Custis, esteemed their chief cook, Hercules, as "a celebrated artiste...as highly accomplished and proficient in the culinary art as could be found in the United States". OK, I didn't know. That James Hemmings cooked for Thomas Jefferson, creating haute cuisine with an African sensibility? Since I don't cook, I didn't know that file', that I love so much in gumbo, is ground sassafras leaves. I copied and actually used the recipe on page 27 for Jambalya, it was delicious if I say so myself. I was especially interested in Georgia Gilmore, who secretly fed Martin Luther King and other civil rights leaders in a restaurant she set up in her living room. She sold pies and cakes in beauty shops to support the mass meetings and a carpool that provided transportation during the Montgomery bus boycott. My curiosity was piqued by a recipe (only mentioned by title in the book's review) in Plantation Recipes by Lessie Bowers. The Virginian Holiday Pie "was so rich, expensive, and time consuming that it could be prepared and served only two or three times each year." What could be in such a pie? And I wonder if Christmas Gif by Charlemae Rollins is still in print. I would love to read the stories by Zora Neale Hurston and Booker T. Washington. Another of Tipton-Martin's reviewed books I'd like to read for myself, is Vibration Cooking by Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor. Funny stories in between the recipes. I remember reading her recipes and stories in Ebony Magazine and wanting to read more. Thank you Marguerite Lathan for this terrific gift.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ileana Renfroe

    Description Women of African descent have contributed to America’s food culture for centuries, but their rich and varied involvement is still overshadowed by the demeaning stereotype of an illiterate “Aunt Jemima” who cooked mostly by natural instinct. To discover the true role of black women in the creation of American, and especially southern, cuisine, Toni Tipton-Martin has spent years amassing one of the world’s largest private collections of cookbooks published by African American authors, l Description Women of African descent have contributed to America’s food culture for centuries, but their rich and varied involvement is still overshadowed by the demeaning stereotype of an illiterate “Aunt Jemima” who cooked mostly by natural instinct. To discover the true role of black women in the creation of American, and especially southern, cuisine, Toni Tipton-Martin has spent years amassing one of the world’s largest private collections of cookbooks published by African American authors, looking for evidence of their impact on American food, families, and communities and for ways we might use that knowledge to inspire community wellness of every kind. My Review This is a fantastic cookbook and an amazing collection of privately owned recipes. Thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lara

    This is a fascinating book. The author collected and reviewed cookbooks by African American authors from the 19th century through the 20th, and provides information on books published more recently. The role of history, power, culture, trends all come into play as she illustrates how the cookbooks changed over time. The discovery/invention of Soul Food is addressed and it is sad how many books had to be self-published (nearly all). The author did a lovely job of providing photographs of covers f This is a fascinating book. The author collected and reviewed cookbooks by African American authors from the 19th century through the 20th, and provides information on books published more recently. The role of history, power, culture, trends all come into play as she illustrates how the cookbooks changed over time. The discovery/invention of Soul Food is addressed and it is sad how many books had to be self-published (nearly all). The author did a lovely job of providing photographs of covers for all books and interior pages for many. Often the interior pages have recipes, and the really nice thing is that those photos that have recipes are indicated in the index. There were a few books that I would really like to have and some recipes in the photos that I'd like to try as well. However, it is important to note that this is a social history, not a cookbook. The value is in the documentation of how African American cooks, who were so important as slaves but unacknowledged, became recognized and eventually valued as experts in their own right. I received a copy for review through NetGalley.

  28. 5 out of 5

    SmartBitches

    Lightning review at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books History buffs and foodies rejoice – The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks is an amazing resource. This book is not a cookbook, although it does reprint some recipes. Instead, this is an encyclopedia of about 150 cookbooks by Black authors. They are arranged chronologically, from The House Servant’s Directory (by Robert Roberts, 1827) to Jerk: Barbeque from Jamaica (by Helen Willinsky, 1990). This is definitely a book that will Lightning review at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books History buffs and foodies rejoice – The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks is an amazing resource. This book is not a cookbook, although it does reprint some recipes. Instead, this is an encyclopedia of about 150 cookbooks by Black authors. They are arranged chronologically, from The House Servant’s Directory (by Robert Roberts, 1827) to Jerk: Barbeque from Jamaica (by Helen Willinsky, 1990). This is definitely a book that will appeal to a niche audience, but I believe anyone interested in history, especially the history of African Americans, the history of food, and domestic history, will find this book to be invaluable. This book is a joy whether discussing church cookbooks, self-published cookbooks or professionally produced, polished cookbooks.At times it’s infuriating, at times it’s inspiring, but it’s always deeply respectful and affectionate towards Black cooks in America, so many of whom have gone unrecognized. - Carrie S.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Critterbee❇

    An extremely engrossing and well-ordered compilation of cookbooks written by African Americans, and definitely worth a read. The earliest example, 'The House Servant's Directory' is from 1827, and is followed by a guide to 'Hotel Management.' Authors included are celebrity not-chefs like Mahalia Jackson and Pearl Bailey, as well as the legendary chef and restaurant superstar Leah Chase. I found Soul to Soul: A Soul Food Vegetarian Cookbook especially interesting, and will borrow a copy to read vi An extremely engrossing and well-ordered compilation of cookbooks written by African Americans, and definitely worth a read. The earliest example, 'The House Servant's Directory' is from 1827, and is followed by a guide to 'Hotel Management.' Authors included are celebrity not-chefs like Mahalia Jackson and Pearl Bailey, as well as the legendary chef and restaurant superstar Leah Chase. I found Soul to Soul: A Soul Food Vegetarian Cookbook especially interesting, and will borrow a copy to read via inter-library loan. A vegetarian soul food cookbook from 1976! The books are all thoughtfully chronicled. There are not too many recipes, as this is more a study of African American cookbooks than a cookbook. The covers often speak volumes about the history of the USA. **eARC Netgalley**

  30. 5 out of 5

    Marian

    It was illuminating reading this book after reading "American Cake" and other cookbook histories. As others noted on Goodreads, this isn't a cookbook. It occasionally includes a photo of a sample page but that sample is not always a receipe. This book does provide a historic timeline from (a) early American cookbooks where recipes were attributed to the mistresses of the house, to (b) cookbooks of the the Jim Crow era when those mistresses admitted that the recipes were the creation of the Afric It was illuminating reading this book after reading "American Cake" and other cookbook histories. As others noted on Goodreads, this isn't a cookbook. It occasionally includes a photo of a sample page but that sample is not always a receipe. This book does provide a historic timeline from (a) early American cookbooks where recipes were attributed to the mistresses of the house, to (b) cookbooks of the the Jim Crow era when those mistresses admitted that the recipes were the creation of the African American women in the kitchen, (c) to cookbooks of the present time when cookbooks appear with the faces and names of the AA cooks/chefs. Along the way, there are occasional stars when the AA cooks were able to write their own cookbook even if the cover included no portrait. There were also occasional lapses where the Jemima image appeared on a post Jim Crow cover. It's an engaging book. Ms. Tipton-Martin's persistence in finding these cookbooks is remarkable.

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