black cookbooks and memoirs

6/4/20A few people messaged me this week asking for black cookbook and food memoir suggestions. So, I went to my bookshelves and I pulled out several — plus a few more I don’t have or have lent out but highly recommend — to share here, plus a little about each.Note:I originally shared it on Smitten Kitchen’s Instagram Stories and several people asked if I could put it at a more permanent url here. This is definitely not an exhaustive list of black cookbook authors, nor does this list every book from these authors. It’s merely what’s on my shelves and a few that currently aren’t that I’ve enjoyed over the years. I am linking to Amazon here because I know many of us begin our book searches there, but at the end I have a plethora of other bookstore resources, black-owned and/or independent.

Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking: A Cookbook (Toni Tipton-Martin)

This incredible book — it won a James Beard award last week — is a look at and celebration of African-American cooking beyond soul and Southern cooking to all of the foods of the African diaspora. I’ve made the biscuits, the Collard Greens with Cornmeal Cornmeal Dumplings (more on these soon), and I’m pretty sure the Rum Punch will be next on this hot, sticky week’s agenda. I bought it last November when it came out — I get sent a lot of cookbooks, but they’re rarely the ones I keep forever; the ones I buy on my own volition almost always are.

The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks (Toni Tipton-Martin)

Also by Tipton-Martin, she spent years amassing one of the largest private collections of cookbooks by African American authors. This book collects 150 of them. There’s a rare 1827 house servant’s manual but also more modern classics from authors like Edna Lewis and Vertamae Grosvenor, annotated with historical details hoping to give us a view of African-American cooking beyond the “Aunt Jemima” stereotype.

The Taste of Country Cooking (Edna Lewis)


My Soul Looks Back: A Memoir (Jessica B. Harris)

I’ve had the luck to hear Jessica Harris, an orator and culinary historian, speak twice now — first at the Cherry Bombe Jubilee in 2017, and last fall at an event with Les Dames d’Escoffier — and I want you to know if you ever have a chance to hear her speak anywhere, you should buy a ticket immediately because you will leave utterly inspired. Her memoir isn’t specifically food-focused but she talks about growing up in NYC in the 60s when her social circle included (nbd!) Maya Angelou and James Baldwin. You won’t want to put it down.

High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America (Jessica B. Harris)

Also by Jessica Harris, this book celebrates “the foods of the African American experience” — chitlins, ham hocks, and vegan re cipes too. There’s a great vegetable gumbo in here, watermelon pickles (my husband loves these), and also her mother’s fried chicken recipe.

Vegetable Kingdom: The Abundant World of Vegan Recipes (Bryant Terry)

A newer (February of this year) plant-based cookbook with a focus on real food (no “powders or meat substitutes”) with Afro-Asian flavors. I’ve been reading, not cooking from it so far, but I’ve got the Roasted Sweet Potato and Asparagus Po’Boy, Barbecue Carrots with Slow-Cooked White Beans, and the Berbere-Spiced Red Lentils with Creamy Cauliflower bookmarked, how could I not. This is not Terry’s first book (see also: Afro Vegan and more) but it came to my attention after reading an in-depth interview with Terry in a recent newsletter from Alicia Kennedy, who writes about the intersection of food and culture. You can read the interviewhereand subscribe for more.

Cooking Solo (Klancy Miller)

I’m including this book for two reasons. One, there are not enough solo cooking cookbooks and this is a great one. The other reason is that I think Klancy Miller is a great person to follow, if you do not already. She recently founded For the Culture: A magazine celebrating Black women in food and wine, a crowdfunded project I was happy to contribute to, and which you still can on the website — they’re currently accepting submissions for the first issue. Back to Cooking Solo, I haven’t cooked much from it because I’d be forced to share, but in pulling it back down from the shelves, it was clearly a mistake. I’m making myself lamb chops this week and I’m not sharing with anyone, mwahaha.


Guy is the food blogger behindChocolate For Basil和纽约时报做贡献。我喜欢圣ories behind the recipes and the bits of memories she inserts throughout — she writes in a such an evocative, poetic way. Don’t miss the Pecan Pie Rugelach, Pop Biscuits (yeasted!), and Griddled Cornbread Muffins.

年轻黑色厨师的笔记:一个回忆录(Kwame Onwuachi)

I zipped through this book in a few days last summer because I absolutely couldn’t put it down. I haven’t had Onwauchi’s cooking — although the memoir has a very well edited selection of recipes — but it’s pretty clear he could just write for the rest of his life and have a fantastic career. I hear they’re making this into a movie? Starring Lakeith Stanfield from Atlanta? [Fans self]

The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South (Michael W. Twitty)

The is an epic James Beard award-winning memoir by culinary history and educator Michael W. Twitty, whose site isarculinaria。He traces his ancestry, both black and white, through food from Africa to America, in slavery and freedom, and he adds real insight into the idea of who “owns” barbecue, soul, and Southern food. It’s fascinating and in-depth.

Grandbaby Cakes: Modern Recipes, Vintage Charm, Soulful Memories

亚当斯是流行后面的博主Grandbaby Cakesand I have yet to find a cake in this book I don’t want to bake. I mean! Pineapple Upside-Down Hummingbird Cake! Kentucky Brown Butter Cake! Key Lime Pie Cake! Nana Pudding Tiramisu Cake! German Chocolate Pound Cake! Marble Texas Sheet Cake. Yes, you need to buy this.


我不需要告诉你Carla大厅是谁 - 我们从顶级厨师一直跟着她 - 但是当人们变得足够大的名人时,我知道有时候,我们忘了他们也可能是惊人的作家和厨师。本书应删除任何错位的怀疑。破裂的虾卷重酱。蕃茄饼用大蒜面包壳。倒了焦糖蛋糕。她的纳什维尔热鸡,她最着名,说不出了漂亮的别名。

Sweet Home Café Cookbook: A Celebration of African American Cooking

This is a collection of recipes from the cafe at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in DC (which features prominently in Kwame Onwuachi’s memoir as well) and I haven’t cooked from it yet (my loss) but I hear the mac-and-cheese is not to be missed. You don’t have to tell me twice.

涉及火灾:弗吉尼亚州的奴役厨师如何帮助发明美式烹饪(Kelley Fanto Deetz)

Deetz uses cookbooks, plantations records, and even folkore to take a nunaced look at the lives of enslaved planation cooks before and after emancipation, as well as the foods they created from — from oyster stew, gumbo, and fried fish — that were credit to their white owners. This specifically focuses on Virginia plantations — Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and George Washington’s Mount Vernon which is very and I love it.

The New Way to Cake: Simple Recipes with Exceptional Flavor (Benjamina Ebuehi)

This is a ridiculous story but here we go: This book from the Great British Bake-Off semifinalist was actually pulled down from the stack by my daughter on Mother’s Day. She’s been learning how to write and my mother’s day card read — I couldn’t make this up if I tried — “I LOVE YOU MOMMY NEW WAY TO CAKE BENAJMINA EBUEHI” I guess she was copying a message my husband had shown her how to write and started copying nearby words and it got a little jumbled up and I’m saving it forever. She’s selected the Elderflower and Roasted Strawberry Cake (it’s pink) for my birthday but I am intrigued by the Caramelized Plantain Upside-Down Cake, the Date & Rooibos Loaf (a reader favorite), and the Plum and Black Pepper Cake. Do I have to choose?

New World Sourdough: Artisan Techniques for Creative Homemade Fermented Breads (Bryan Ford)

Sorry to tease but this won’t be out until June 16th of this year. (However, preorders are a very important way. to support books.) It caught my attention via this recent article on Taste, “New World Sourdough is Hardly New.” I love that it looks beyond the sourdough as a crusty, adored loaf at a local sandwich shop and reminds us that, technically speaking, “any fermented bread made between roughly 3,700 BC and the invention of commercial yeast in the 1800s could be considered sourdough too.”

In Bibi’s Kitchen (Hawa Hassan and Julia Turshen)

This book also isn’t out yet but I know it will be worth the wait until October. (And I repeat, preorders are a very integral part of a book’s success) I’m looking looking forward to this collection of recipes from grandmothers in eight eastern African nations which were considered the backbone of the spice trade (think: black pepper and vanilla, so central to SK cooking). Also, I’m Team Grandma Cooking, always.

6/19/20: Plus, a few great ones I missed:

  • B. Smith Cooks Southern-Style (Barbara Smith)
  • The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook (Cheryl Day and Griffin Day)
  • Between Harlem and Heaven: Afro-Asian-American Cooking for Big Nights, Weeknights, and Every Day (Alexander Smalls, JJ Johnson, and Veronica Chambers)
  • Brown Sugar Kitchen: New-Style, Down-Home Recipes from Sweet West Oakland (Tanya Holland
  • Meals, Music, and Muses: Recipes from My African American Kitchen (Alexander Smalls and Veronica Chambers)
  • The Gift of Southern Cooking: Recipes and Revelations from Two Great American Cooks (Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock)
  • Joy The Baker(Joy Wilson):100 Simple and Comforting Recipes(看到:Carrot Cake Pancakes),自制颓废:不可抗拒的甜,咸,粘糊糊,粘,蓬松,奶油,嘎吱嘎吱的零食Over Easy: Sweet and Savory Recipes for Leisurely Days(看到:Cornbread Waffles),
  • Soul Food Love: Healthy Recipes Inspired by One Hundred Years of Cooking in a Black Family (Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams)
  • Sweet Potato Soul: 100 Easy Vegan Recipes for the Southern Flavors of Smoke, Sugar, Spice, and Soul (Jenné Claiborne)
  • 品尝罗马:来自古城的新鲜风味和遗忘的食谱:一本食谱(克里斯蒂娜吉尔和凯蒂巴拉)威廉希尔娱乐
  • More places to shop for books:它可以将您指导到当地独立的书店直接支持或者如果您通过该网站订购,将与每个关联的独立书店汇集利润) also direct you to a local independent bookstore to shop from)

    Black-Owned Bookstores
    Black Pearl Books(Austin, TX)
    Brave and Kind Books(Kids books) (Decatur, GA)
    Cafe Con Libros.(布鲁克林,纽约)
    The Dock(Fort Worth, TX)
    Eso Won Books(Los Angeles, CA)
    Eye See Me(St. Louis, MO)
    Frugal Bookstore(Boston, MA)
    富尔顿街书(Tulsa, OK)
    Grassrootz Bookstore(凤凰城,AZ)
    Harriet’s Bookshop(Philadelphia, PA)
    Lit Bar.(布朗克斯,纽约)
    忠诚书籍(Washington DC & Silver Spring, MD)
    Mahogany Books(Washington DC)
    马利克书籍(Los Angeles, CA)
    Marcus Books(奥克兰,加利福尼亚州)
    Pyramid Books(Boyton Beach, FL)
    The Schomburg Shop(哈莱姆,纽约)
    分号(Chicago, IL)
    Shop at Matter(Denver, CO)
    Source Booksellers(Detroit, MI)
    第三只眼书籍,配件和礼品(Portland, OR)
    转动页面书店(Goose Creek, SC)
    Uncle Bobbies(Philadelphia, PA)
    Wild Fig Books(Lexington, KY)

    Please note: Even if these stores aren’t open right now due to the Coronavirus, they are usually happy to take orders on the phone or online; most will ship and many will do curbside pickup. Support the businesses you want to see in your neighborhood, always.