These cookbooks offer more than just recipes
For Juneteenth, we pulled together a list of cookbooks by Black authors to consider adding to your collection. From traditional Southern dishes to experimental fusion, each book includes a range of recipes, anecdotes, and history lessons that make for great cooking and reading. Cooks of any skill level and interest can find the perfect book for honoring and celebrating Black food every month.
#1 ‘Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking’ by Toni Tipton-Martin
In this James Beard Award-winning book, food and nutrition journalist Toni Tipton-Martin illustrates the richness and diversity of Black cooking over the past two hundred years. Drawing on her extensive collection of Black cookbooks, Tipton-Martin highlights over 100 recipes that recur throughout Black culinary history with new twists and modifications. As a chronicle of forgotten history and beautifully photographed cookbook rolled into one, Jubilee will appeal to anyone who opens it.
#2 ‘The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food’ by Marcus Samuelsson
Like Tipton-Martin’s Jubilee, Marcus Samuelsson’s The Rise celebrates the unsung genius of Black cooks and their vital role in American food and culture. Samuelsson challenges the stereotypes of Black food and highlights the breadth of flavors and styles it encompasses. Each of Samuelsson’s recipes serves as a tribute to a contemporary Black chef and honors those on the forefront of culinary innovation.
#3 ‘In Bibi’s Kitchen: The Recipes and Stories of Grandmothers from the Eight African Countries that Touch the Indian Ocean’ by Hawa Hassan and Julia Turshen
In Bibi’s Kitchen focuses on the role food and cooking play in identity and feelings of belonging. Somali chef Hawa Hassan, food writer Julia Turshen and photographer Khadija M. Farah team up to give readers an inside look at the kitchens and traditional dishes of grandmothers, or bibis, from eight East African countries. Gorgeous photography and loving writing bring these women and their family recipes to life.
#4 ‘Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed’ by Bryant Terry
In his 2014 cookbook, food justice activist Bryant Terry incorporates flavors from the African Diaspora into dishes that highlight how delicious fresh vegetables can be. Afro-Vegan includes seasonal menu suggestions to encourage cooks to use the freshest ingredients and, as an added bonus, each recipe is accompanied by a song recommendation. While many of the recipes are complex, they produce delicious meals that you can feel good about eating.
#5 ‘Son of a Southern Chef: Cook with Soul’ by Lazarus Lynch
If you are ever able to pull your eyes away from the technicolor pictures of food, fashion and of course, two-time Chopped winner Lazarus Lynch, you’ll find a joyful celebration of family and flavor in Son of a Southern Chef. Lynch pays homage to his Guyanese mother and Southern father with each recipe, offering a glimpse into his childhood in Queens and its enduring impact on his cooking.
#6 ‘Hallelujah! The Welcome Table: A Lifetime of Memories with Recipes’ by Maya Angelou
In Hallelujah! The Welcome Table, Maya Angelou pairs each heartwarming recipe with an experience that made it important to her. With dishes like lemon meringue pie, cassoulet and buttermilk biscuits, Angelou’s approachable book invites cooks to reflect on food’s power to connect us and its hold on our memories.
#7 ‘In Pursuit of Flavor’ by Edna Lewis
Edna Lewis’s classic cookbook includes almost 200 recipes adapted from her childhood in Freetown, Virginia, a farming community established by formerly enslaved people. Lewis emphasizes the importance of fresh, seasonal ingredients, and her thoughtful pairings and precise techniques speak to the care she has put into each recipe. Lewis’s clear tone and accessible explanations makes In Pursuit of Flavor a joy to read and cook from.
#8 ‘Soul: A Chef’s Culinary Evolution’ by Todd Richards
With Soul, Todd Richards pays homage to his culinary roots in soul food while experimenting with new dishes and technique. Richard’s organizes the book by ingredient so readers can cook what’s in season and readily available. Each chapter begins with a traditional recipe, which Richards then remixes and transforms into new dishes that honor the old. Each recipe comes with wine and beers pairings, as well as serving suggestions.
#9 ‘Black Girl Baking: Wholesome Recipes Inspired by a Soulful Upbringing’ by Jerrelle Guy
Jerrelle Guy organizes her baking book by the senses, inviting readers to immerse themselves in the recipes and fully embrace every scent and sound. Each recipe is accompanied by a short and simple anecdote that shows Guy’s love of food and family, and she offers vegan and healthy options throughout the book.
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