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African American Cookbooks

For many Black cookbook writers of the 20th century, writing about food was inseparable from autobiography. The recipes of chefs like Edna Lewis and Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor were incomplete without the stories surrounding their origin, preparation and sharing. Not designed to be quick and convenient, these dishes were made with simple ingredients, refined techniques, and not a small amount of practiced intuition. As chronicled by historians such as Toni Tipton-Martin, the writing and publishing of African-American cookbooks became an integral aspect of claiming, celebrating, and sustaining diverse black American cultures.