Historic African-American cookbooks with fantastic recipes from the 1800s

Mildred Europa Taylor June 28, 2019
These black cookbooks have given people a rich background of African-American cuisine. Pic credit: First We Feast

You name it. Catfish fricassee, Buckwheat Pancakes, Brown Celery Sauce, Lobster Sauce – you can find these recipes and many others in some of the oldest published cookbooks by black authors since the 19th century.

Most of these cookbooks were largely for the multicultural, the white and black middle class, but they have since given people a rich background of African-American cuisine and taste.

“Scholars have begun to consider cookbooks an important resource because in some communities, that was the only voice that women had; the only place to record names, activities, their own personal file. And especially for African Americans, who had few other outlets for creative energy, the cookbook has provided their own word without the need for interpretation,” said food journalist Toni Tipton-Martin who recently highlighted black culinary history through pages of recipes in her new book The Jemima Code.

It is generally believed that black authors have published a few more cookbooks than those that were found in the 1800s. Many of these cookbooks may have been lost due to the “vagaries of regional printing and their absence from public records,” writes The New Public.

The following are some of the major old cookbooks by African-Americans with some of the best ever recipes:

Last Edited by:Victor Ativie Updated: May 26, 2020


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