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Summer Reading 2021: Soul Food and Country Cooking

Discover new things to read this summer!

National Soul Food and Country Cooking Month

photo of a dinner plate with fried chicken, okra, collard greens, and mac n cheese

Soul food at Powell's Place by Jennifer Woodard Maderazo is licensed CC BY 2.0
 

Discover new recipes, explore culinary traditions of the South, and learn about the cooks and chefs who created many of your favorites. Check out the print and electronic books featured below.

Ebooks

book cover image - photo of fried chicken and other Southern foods

Appalachian Home Cooking

Mark F. Sohn's classic book, Mountain Country Cooking, was a James Beard Award nominee in 1997. In Appalachian Home Cooking, Sohn expands and improves upon his earlier work by using his extensive knowledge of cooking to uncover the romantic secrets of Appalachian food, both within and beyond the kitchen. Shedding new light on Appalachia's food, history, and culture, Sohn offers over eighty classic recipes, as well as photographs, poetry, mail-order sources, information on Appalachian food festivals, a glossary of Appalachian and cooking terms, menus for holidays and seasons, and lists of the top Appalachian foods. Appalachian Home Cooking celebrates mountain food at its best.

book cover image - a person in a chef's coat and hat

An Archive of Taste

A groundbreaking synthesis of food studies, archival theory, and early American literature   There is no eating in the archive. This is not only a practical admonition to any would-be researcher but also a methodological challenge, in that there is no eating--or, at least, no food--preserved among the printed records of the early United States. Synthesizing a range of textual artifacts with accounts (both real and imagined) of foods harvested, dishes prepared, and meals consumed, An Archive of Taste reveals how a focus on eating allows us to rethink the nature and significance of aesthetics in early America, as well as of its archive.

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A Domestic Cook Book

This title is a facsimile reprint of an 1866 book. The original book is the only known copy of the first cookbook authored by an African American. Malinda Russell, the author, was born a free woman of color.

book cover image - photos of Southern dishes and a map of Mississippi

Eat Drink Delta

The Mississippi Delta is a complicated and fascinating place. Part travel guide, part cookbook, and part photo essay, Eat Drink Delta by veteran food journalist Susan Puckett (with photographs by Delta resident Langdon Clay) reveals a region shaped by slavery, civil rights, amazing wealth, abject deprivation, the Civil War, a flood of biblical proportions, and--above all--an overarching urge to get down and party with a full table and an open bar. There's more to Delta dining than southern standards. Puckett uncovers the stories behind convenience stores where dill pickles marinate in Kool-Aid and diners where tabouli appears on plates with fried chicken. She celebrates the region's hot tamale makers who follow the time-honored techniques that inspired many a blues lyric. And she introduces us to a new crop of Delta chefs who brine chicken in sweet tea and top stone-ground Mississippi grits with local pond-raised prawns and tomato confit. 

book cover image - portrait of Edna Lewis

Edna Lewis

Edna Lewis (1916-2006) wrote some of America's most resonant, lyrical, and significant cookbooks, including the now classic The Taste of Country Cooking. Lewis cooked and wrote as a means to explore her memories of childhood on a farm in Freetown, Virginia, a community first founded by black families freed from slavery. With such observations as "we would gather wild honey from the hollow of oak trees to go with the hot biscuits and pick wild strawberries to go with the heavy cream," she commemorated the seasonal richness of southern food. After living many years in New York City, where she became a chef and a political activist, she returned to the South and continued to write. Her reputation as a trailblazer in the revival of regional cooking and as a progenitor of the farm-to-table movement continues to grow. In this first-ever critical appreciation of Lewis's work, food-world stars gather to reveal their own encounters with Edna Lewis. 

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Food That Really Schmecks

Updated version of this bestselling Mennonite cookbook. In the 1960s, Edna Staebler moved in with an Old Order Mennonite family to absorb their oral history and learn about Mennonite culture and cooking. From this fieldwork came the cookbook Food That Really Schmecks. Originally published in 1968, Schmecks instantly became a classic, selling tens of thousands of copies. Interspersed with practical and memorable recipes are Staebler's stories and anecdotes about cooking, Mennonites, her family, and Waterloo Region. Described by Edith Fowke as folklore literature, Staebler's cookbooks have earned her national acclaim. This edition includes a foreword by award-winning author Wayson Choy and a new introduction by the well-known food writer Rose Murray.

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If I Can Cook/You Know God Can

An expanded edition of a celebrated book that travels throughout the African diaspora to savor the timeless joy of black cuisine and culture. A hidden gem by the author of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf; Some Sing, Some Cry; Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo; and Betsey Brown, a delightfully eclectic tribute to black cuisine as a food of life that reflects the spirit and history of a people. This edition, with delectable illustrations, features additional recipes--including two vegan dishes--that connect the culinary past to the present and welcome a new generation of readers. With recipes such as "Cousin Eddie's Shark with Breadfruit" and "Collard Greens to Bring You Money," Shange instructs us in the nuances of a cuisine born on the slave ships of the Middle Passage, spiced by the jazz of Duke Ellington, and shared by generations across the African diaspora. 

book cover image - a young African American man in a chef's jacket

Notes from a Young Black Chef

"Kwame Onwuachi's story shines a light on food and culture not just in American restaurants or African American communities but around the world." --Questlove   By the time he was twenty-seven years old, Kwame Onwuachi (winner of the 2019 James Beard Foundation Award for Rising Star Chef of the Year) had opened--and closed--one of the most talked about restaurants in America. He had launched his own catering company with twenty thousand dollars that he made from selling candy on the subway, yet he'd been told he would never make it on television because his cooking wasn't "Southern" enough. In this inspiring memoir about the intersection of race, fame, and food, he shares the remarkable story of his culinary coming-of-age. But through food, he broke out of a dangerous downward spiral, embarking on a new beginning at the bottom of the culinary food chain as a chef on board a Deepwater Horizon cleanup ship, before going on to train in the kitchens of some of the most acclaimed restaurants in the country and appearing as a contestant on Top Chef.

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Jubilee recipes from two centuries of African-American cooking

Throughout her career, Toni Tipton-Martin has shed new light on the history, breadth, and depth of African American cuisine. She's introduced us to black cooks, some long forgotten, who established much of what's considered to be our national cuisine. After all, if Thomas Jefferson introduced French haute cuisine to this country, who do you think actually cooked it? In Jubilee, Tipton-Martin brings these masters into our kitchens. Through recipes and stories, we cook along with these pioneering figures, from enslaved chefs to middle- and upper-class writers and entrepreneurs.

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Up a Country Lane Cookbook

What can Evelyn Birkby possibly do to follow up the success of Neighboring on the Air: Cooking with the KMA Radio Homemakers? She can do what she has done in writing Up a Country Lane Cookbook. For forty-three years she has written a column entitled Up a Country Lane for the Shenandoah Evening Sentinel. Now she has chosen the best recipes from her column and interspersed them with a wealth of stories of rural life in the 1940s and 1950s, supplemented by a generous offering of vintage photographs. She has created a book that encompasses lost time. With chapters on The Garden, Grocery Stores and Lockers, Planting, and Saturday Night in Town, to name a few, Up a Country Lane Cookbook recalls the noble simplicity of a life that has all but vanished. 

book cover image - photos of Southern dishes including fried chicken, cornbread, mac and cheese, and others

Sweet Home Café Cookbook

A celebration of African American cooking with 109 recipes from the National Museum of African American History and Culture's Sweet Home Cafe. Since the 2016 opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, its Sweet Home Cafe has become a destination in its own right. Showcasing African American contributions to American cuisine, the cafe offers favorite dishes made with locally sourced ingredients, adding modern flavors and contemporary twists on classics. Now both readers and home cooks can partake of the cafe's bounty- drawing upon traditions of family and fellowship strengthened by shared meals, Sweet Home Cafe Cookbook celebrates African American cooking through recipes served by the cafe itself and dishes inspired by foods from African American culture. 

Soul Food and Country Cooking - Print Books

These books are available NOW for checkout via curbside/front door pickup! Click on a book cover or title for more information.

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African American Food Culture

Like other Americans, African Americans partake of the general food offerings available in mainstream supermarket chains across the country. Food culture, however, may depend on where they live and their degree of connection to traditions passed down through generations since the time of slavery. Many African Americans celebrate a hybrid identity that incorporates African and New World foodways. The state of African American food culture today is illuminated in depth here for the first time, in the all-important context of understanding the West African origins of most African Americans of today. 

book cover image - photo of the author in a kitchen

Carla Hall's Soul Food

In Carla Hall's Soul Food, the beloved chef and television celebrity takes us back to her own Nashville roots to offer a fresh, lip-smackin' look at America's favorite comfort cuisine and traces soul food's history from Africa and the Caribbean to the American South. Carla shows us that soul food is more than barbecue and mac and cheese. Traditionally a plant-based cuisine, everyday soul food is full of veggie goodness that's just as delicious as cornbread and fried chicken. From Black-Eyed Pea Salad with Hot Sauce Vinaigrette to Tomato Pie with Garlic Bread Crust, the recipes in Carla Hall's Soul Food deliver her distinctive Southern flavors using farm-fresh ingredients. 

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The Cooking Gene

A renowned culinary historian offers a fresh perspective on our most divisive cultural issue, race, in this illuminating memoir of Southern cuisine and food culture that traces his ancestry--both black and white--through food, from Africa to America and slavery to freedom. Southern food is integral to the American culinary tradition, yet the question of who "owns" it is one of the most provocative touch points in our ongoing struggles over race. 

book cover image - photo of the author sitting on a picnic table outdoors

Deep Run Roots

Vivian Howard, star of PBS's A Chef's Life, celebrates the flavors of North Carolina's coastal plain in more than 200 recipes and stories. This new classic of American country cooking proves that the food of Deep Run, North Carolina -- Vivian's home -- is as rich as any culinary tradition in the world. Organized by ingredient with dishes suited to every skill level, from beginners to confident cooks, Deep Run Roots features time-honored simple preparations alongside extraordinary meals from her acclaimed restaurant Chef and the Farmer. Home cooks will find photographs for every single recipe. 

book cover image - photos of French dishes

French Country Cooking

Here are 180 recipes of traditional French appetizers, entrees, and desserts that members of the French National Assembly, representing the myriad regions of their native country, have decided to share with the world. From a challenging slow-cooked hare recipe that predates the French Revolution to the simplest bread, this title is both wittily political and warmly personal. It comes with fascinating legends of La France profonde, historical information, and a great deal of Gallic charm. None of the recipes are chic, trendy, minimalist, or Nouvelle Cuisine. Here is the real thing. The diversity and originality of these recipes are representative of France's rich culinary heritage. 

book cover image - black and white photo of people sitting around an outdoor table

High on the Hog

Acclaimed cookbook author Jessica B. Harris has spent much of her life researching the food and foodways of the African Diaspora. High on the Hog is the culmination of years of her work, and the result is a most engaging history of African American cuisine. Harris takes the reader on a harrowing journey from Africa across the Atlantic to America, tracking the trials that the people and the food have undergone along the way. From chitlins and ham hocks to fried chicken and vegan soul, Harris celebrates the delicious and restorative foods of the African American experience and details how each came to form such an important part of African American culture, history, and identity. 

book cover image - two women pose with a dish of food in a kitchen

The New Soul Food Cookbook for People with Diabetes

More than 150 low-fat recipes in the first African-American cookbook for people with diabetes. Features snacks, soups, salads, main dishes, side dishes, desserts, and more. Complete nutrition information with every recipe.

book cover image - photos of featured dishes

The New American Plate Cookbook - Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life

We all want great-tasting meals, but we also want meals that help us maintain a healthy weight and live longer, healthier lives. Marrying the art and science of food, The New American Plate Cookbook is the first cookbook designed to accomplish all three goals.

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Princess Pamela's Soul Food Cookbook

A new edition gives due to this long-lost classic that helped define soul food. Princess Pamela ruled a small realm, but her powers ranged far and wide. Her speakeasy-style restaurant in Manhattan was for three decades a hip salon, with regulars from Andy Warhol to Diana Ross. Her iconic Southern dishes influenced chefs nationwide, and her cookbook became a bible for a generation who yearned for the home cooking left behind in the Great Migration. One of the earliest books to coin soul food, this touchstone of African-American cuisine fell out of print more than forty years ago. Pamela's recipes have the clarity gained from a lifetime of practice--cardinal versions of Fried Chicken and Collard Greens, but also unusual gems like Pork Spoon Bread and Peanut Butter Biscuits--all peppered with sage advice on living and loving. 

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Recipes for Respect

Food studies, once trendy, has settled into the public arena. In the academy, scholarship on food and literary culture constitutes a growing river within literary and cultural studies, but writing on African American food and dining remains a tributary. Recipes for Respect bridges this gap, illuminating the role of foodways in African American culture as well as the contributions of Black cooks and chefs to what has been considered the mainstream. Beginning in the early nineteenth century and continuing nearly to the present day, African Americans have often been stereotyped as illiterate kitchen geniuses. Rafia Zafar addresses this error, highlighting the long history of accomplished African Americans within our culinary traditions, as well as the literary and entrepreneurial strategies for civil rights and respectability woven into the written records of dining, cooking, and serving. 

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Soul Food

In this insightful and eclectic history, Adrian Miller delves into the influences, ingredients, and innovations that make up the soul food tradition. Focusing each chapter on the culinary and social history of one dish--such as fried chicken, chitlins, yams, greens, and "red drinks--Miller uncovers how it got on the soul food plate and what it means for African American culture and identity. Miller argues that the story is more complex and surprising than commonly thought. Four centuries in the making, and fusing European, Native American, and West African cuisines, soul food--in all its fried, pork-infused, and sugary glory--is but one aspect of African American culinary heritage. Miller discusses how soul food has become incorporated into American culture and explores its connections to identity politics, bad health raps, and healthier alternatives.

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Soul Food Selections

Part of the Month of Meals series, Soul Food Selections includes more than 55 recipes for African American and Southern favorites, including Ernestine's Pigeon Peas and Rice; Chicken and Dumplings; and Soulful Chili. Each menu planner has 28 days worth of new menu choices that can be manipulated into 20,000 menu combinations.

book cover image - photo of the author in a kitchen

Sweetie Pie's Cookbook

The beloved owner of the wildly popular Sweetie Pie's restaurant, and star of the OWN reality television show Welcome to Sweetie Pie's shares recipes for her renowned soul food and the lessons she's learned on the path to success. Growing up in Mississippi and St. Louis, Robbie Montgomery, the oldest of nine children, was often responsible for putting meals on the family table. Working side by side with her mother in their St. Louis kitchen, Robbie learned to prepare dozens of classic soul food dishes. Now, at seventy-two, Miss Robbie passes down those traditions for generations of fans to enjoy in Sweetie Pie's Cookbook. Robbie takes you into the kitchen to prepare her most favored meals--smothered pork chops, salmon croquettes, baked chicken--and tells you heartfelt and humorous stories, including amazing tales from her life at the restaurant and on the road as a back-up singer. 

book cover image - photos of Southern dishes including fried chicken, cornbread, mac and cheese, and others

Sweet Home Café Cookbook

Since the 2016 opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, its Sweet Home Cafe has become a destination in its own right. Showcasing African American contributions to American cuisine, the cafe offers favorite dishes made with locally sourced ingredients, adding modern flavors and contemporary twists on classics. Now both readers and home cooks can partake of the cafe's bounty- drawing upon traditions of family and fellowship strengthened by shared meals, Sweet Home Cafe Cookbook celebrates African American cooking through recipes served by the cafe itself and dishes inspired by foods from African American culture. With 109 recipes, the sumptuous Sweet Home Cafe Cookbook takes readers on a deliciously unique journey.