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An African American Cookbook

Exploring Black History and Culture Through Traditional Foods

Published by Good Books
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

400 Soul Food Recipes for Appetizers, Main Meals, Breads, Pies, Cakes, Salads, and More!

An African American Cookbook: Exploring Black History and Culture Through Traditional Foods is a bountiful collection of favorite foods and the memories that go with them. The foods reflect the ingenious, resourceful, and imaginative Africans who made them. Woven among the four hundred recipes are rich historic anecdotes and sayings. They were discovered or lived by the cookbook’s contributors, many of whose ancestors participated in the Underground Railroad or lived near where it was active. This is a cookbook rich in history and rich in easy-to-prepare, wonderfully tasty food! Recipes include:

• Collard greens with ham hocks
• Cornbread sausage stuffing
• Smoked turkey and black-eyed peas
• Pan-fried okra
• Fried green tomatoes
• 14-day sweet pickles
• Yogurt and chives biscuits
• Sweet potato pie
• And more!

Author Phoebe Bailey’s congregation in historic Lancaster, Pennsylvania, has a long history with Underground Railroad activity. Today they offer Underground Railroad reenactments and a buffet of traditional African American food to their many visitors. This cookbook celebrates those historic events, when this church fed and then helped to spirit enslaved Africans to safety.


Some of my fondest memories of my mother surround her ability to create a meal out of anything. Having to prepare supper for 15 children every evening required a lot of creativity and patience. Thankfully, my mother never ran short of either. She could make a simple meal a gourmet experience. I thank God that my mother had the ability to plan and prepare meals as she wanted to for us children.

Our ancestors who lived on plantations, however, did not have this luxury. Many mothers were in the fields working from sunup to sundown, planting and preparing the fields for harvest. These mothers’ young children were often left back at the slaves’ quarters, usually with an elder enslaved African, who because of illness or feebleness could no longer offer free field labor for the Massa. 

Those mothers who worked in the Big House, the great house, the house that offered comfort—these mothers who were separated from their babies—would try to sneak down to the slave quarters with some small morsel of food for their children, praying every step of the way not to be discovered.

This is more than a cookbook—it’s a labor of love that honors those who came before, even as we continue the tradition of soul food cooking today.” —Sisters from AARP

More books from this author: Phoebe Bailey