African American Cookbooks for Easter Menu Planning

Easter is right around the corner and now is the time to start planning your menu. In the South, Easter is a big deal and we have curated a few books to update your menu full of southern staples. From the hills of Virginia to the Lowcountry of South Carolina, these African American cookbooks are the perfect resource for Easter Menu Planning. Be sure to share images of your Easter dinner with us on social media using hashtag #blacksouthernbelle

African American Cookbooks for Easter Menu Planning

In Pursuit of Flavor: The Beloved Classic Cookbook from the Acclaimed Author of The Taste of Country Cooking 

Decades before cornbread, shrimp and grits, and peach cobbler were mainstays on menus everywhere, Edna Lewis was pioneering the celebration of seasonal food as a distinctly American cuisine.

In this James Beard Foundation Cookbook Hall of Fame-inducted cookbook, Miss Lewis (as she was almost universally known) shares the recipes of her childhood, spent in a Virginia farming community founded by her grandfather and his friends after emancipation, as well as those that made her one of the most revered American chefs of all time. Interspersed throughout are personal anecdotes, cooking insights, notes on important Southern ingredients, and personally developed techniques for maximizing flavor.

Meals, Music, and Muses: Recipes from My African American Kitchen

Iconic chef and world-renowned opera singer Alexander Smalls marries two of his greatest passions―food and music―in Meals, Music, and Muses. More than just a cookbook, Smalls takes readers on a delicious journey through the South to examine the food that has shaped the region. Each chapter is named for a type of music to help readers understand the spirit that animates these recipes.

Filled with classic Southern recipes and twists on old favorites, this cookbook includes starters such as Hoppin’ John Cakes with Sweet Pepper Remoulade and Carolina Bourbon Barbecue Shrimp and Okra Skewers, and main dishes like Roast Quail in Bourbon Cream Sauce and Prime Rib Roast with Crawfish Onion Gravy.

Complete with anecdotes of Smalls’s childhood in the Low Country and examinations of Southern musical tradition, Meals, Music, and Muses is a heritage cookbook in the tradition of Edna Lewis’s A Taste of Country Cooking.

Carla Hall’s Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration

In her third cookbook, Sallie Ann Robinson brings readers to the dinner table in South Carolina’s Lowcountry. Born and raised on the small, remote island of Daufuskie, Robinson shares the food and foodways from her Gullah upbringing.

The Gullah of Daufuskie and the surrounding Sea Islands―descendants of enslaved West Africans and mostly isolated from the mainland―depended on hunting, fishing, and gardening. Robinson’s recipes are passed down through generations living off the land, and her lively stories capture “the island ways of doin.” She enriches regional staples with her own flair in recipes like Belly-Fillin Carolina Country Boil, Island Pineapple and Coconut Chicken, Gullah Chicken Gumbo, ’Fuskie Shrimp and Blue Crab Burger, and Sautéed Cabbage with Sweet Onion.

Sallie Ann Robinson’s Kitchen: Food and Family Lore from the Lowcountry 

As memories of this traditional way of life fade, Sallie Ann Robinson’s Kitchen helps preserve the food, culture, and community of Daufuskie and the Sea Islands.

The Gullah of Daufuskie and the surrounding Sea Islands―descendants of enslaved West Africans and mostly isolated from the mainland―depended on hunting, fishing, and gardening. Robinson’s recipes are passed down through generations living off the land, and her lively stories capture “the island ways of doin.” She enriches regional staples with her own flair in recipes like Belly-Fillin Carolina Country Boil, Island Pineapple and Coconut Chicken, Gullah Chicken Gumbo, ’Fuskie Shrimp and Blue Crab Burger, and Sautéed Cabbage with Sweet Onion.

As memories of this traditional way of life fade, Sallie Ann Robinson’s Kitchen helps preserve the food, culture, and community of Daufuskie and the Sea Islands.

Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking: A Cookbook 

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. With more than 100 recipes, from classics such as Sweet Potato BiscuitsSeafood GumboButtermilk Fried Chicken, and Pecan Pie with Bourbon to lesser-known but even more decadent dishes like Bourbon & Apple Hot ToddiesSpoon Bread, and Baked Ham Glazed with ChampagneJubilee presents techniques, ingredients, and dishes that show the roots of African American cooking—deeply beautiful, culturally diverse, fit for celebration.

Michiel Perry

Michiel is a Black Southern Belle living a lowcountry life. I love all things fashion, home decor and southern! When I am not running around doing fun stuff for Black Southern Belle, I live in antique stores and have a minor obsession with historic homes 🙂

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