WFAEats
12:30 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Cookbooks To Celebrate Black History Month

Looking for a tasteful way to celebrate Black History Month? Look no further than the shelves of your favorite bookstore.

But with more that 1.3 million search results online, how do you find a place to start? That’s easy: Ask an expert.

Carolinian Nancie McDermott has been writing cookbooks since the 1990s. All this month she’s been posting pictures and links on Facebook to some of her favorite cookbooks authored by African Americans. It’s an idea she got from her friend, Nicole Taylor a/k/a The Food Culturist, who hosts a Brooklyn-based radio show called “Hot Grease.”

Says Nancie, “I was a guest on the show a couple of years back for [my book] Southern Cakes, and we have been friends ever since.”

Some of the books being highlighted are brand new and easy to find, such as Adrian Miller’s Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time. Check out Lolis Eric Elie’s Treme: Stories and Recipes from the Heart of New Orleans.

Some are “new classics,” time-tested and beloved, such as Sheila Ferguson’s Soul Food: Classic Cuisine from the Deep South.  Famed chef Leah Chase is featured with her book, And Still I Cook.

Other books are harder to locate, such as The Foods of Georgia's Barrier Islands, with recipes by Cornelia Bailey, Yvonne Grovner and Doc Bill. You’ll need to hunt a bit for used copies of cookbooks by culinary icon Edna Lewis, but it will be worth it.

Of course, history marches on. There are more and more cookbooks being published all the time, too many to sample. But that can be a good thing. In reading, just like cooking, it’s smart to take a short cut once in a while – and learn from your friends whose tastes you trust.