February is Black History Month. Around this time last year, I was asked if I might be interested in giving a talk about African-American contributions to culinary history. … In 1912, S. Thomas Bivens wrote The Southern Cookbook: A Manual of Cooking and List of Menus including Recipes used by Noted Colored Cooks and Prominent Caterers. As we can infer from the activities and successes of previous African-American authors like Abby Fisher (What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking, 1881) , John B. Goins, Tunis Campbell (Hotel Keepers, Head Waiters, and Housekeepers’ Guide, 1848), and Robert Roberts (The House Servant’s Directory, or A Monitor for Private Families: Comprising Hints on the Arrangement and Performance of Servants’ Work, 1827), food had become a business, and an important one for African-Americans.
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