Love dinner and great literature? Why not merge the two and host a dinner party and book club at the same time. To get you started I have picked a few of my favorite culinary books and styled a summer inspired table full of southern and literature inspiration. Check out this African American Recipes Book Club Dinner Party Inspiration. Share images of your book club favorites and dinner parties with us using the hashtag #blacksouthernbelle
African American Recipes Book Club Dinner Party Inspiration
Black Girl Baking by Jerrelle Guy
For Jerrelle Guy, food has always been what has shaped her―her body, her character, her experiences and her palate. Growing up as the sensitive, slightly awkward child of three in a race-conscious space, she decided early on that she’d rather spend her time eating cookies and honey buns than taking on the weight of worldly issues. It helped her see that good food is the most powerful way to connect, understand and heal.
Inspired by this realization, each one of her recipes tells a story. Orange Peel Pound Cake brings back memories of summer days eating Florida oranges at Big Ma’s house, Rosketti cookies reimagine the treats her mother ate growing up in Guam, and Plaited Dukkah Bread parallels the braids worked into her hair as a child.
Jerrelle leads you on a sensual baking journey using the five senses, retelling and reinventing food memories while using ingredients that make her feel more in control and more connected to the world and the person she has become. Whole flours, less refined sugar and vegan alternatives make it easier to celebrate those sweet moments that made her who she is today.
Escape everyday life and get lost in the aromas, sounds, sights, textures and tastes of Black Girl Baking.
Buy here: https://amzn.to/2IBrgkT
A Real Southern Cook: In Her Savannah Kitchen by Dora Charles
In her first cookbook, a revered former cook at Savannah’s most renowned restaurant divulges her locally famous Savannah recipes—many of them never written down before—and those of her family and friends
Hundreds of thousands of people have made a trip to dine on the exceptional food cooked by Dora Charles at Savannah’s most famous restaurant. Now, the woman who was barraged by editors and agents to tell her story invites us into her home to taste the food she loves best.
These are the intensely satisfying dishes at the heart of Dora’s beloved Savannah: Shrimp and Rice; Simple Smoky Okra; Buttermilk Cornbread from her grandmother; and of course, a truly incomparable Fried Chicken. Each dish has a “secret ingredient” for a burst of flavor: mayonnaise in the biscuits; Savannah Seasoning in her Gone to Glory Potato Salad; sugar-glazed bacon in her deviled eggs. All the cornerstones of the Southern table are here, from Out-of-This-World Smothered Catfish to desserts like a jaw-dropping Very Red Velvet Cake.
With moving dignity, Dora describes her motherless upbringing in Savannah, the hard life of her family, whose memories stretched back to slave times, learning to cook at age six, and the years she worked at the restaurant. “Talking About” boxes impart Dora’s cooking wisdom, and evocative photos of Savannah and the Low Country set the scene.
Link to buy here: https://amzn.to/2XFrYE1
In Pursuit of Flavor By Edna Lewis
The classic, landmark cookbook of seasonal Southern recipes, from Edna Lewis, the beloved, James Beard Award-winning “first lady of Southern cooking” (NPR).
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. Some of my favorite Edna Lewis tips to live by: Always start with fresh garlic, put fresh meat in wax paper when you bring it home, and remember that bread should be part of every meal.
Across six charmingly illustrated chapters, Miss Lewis captures the spirit of the South. From Whipped Cornmeal with Okra to Pan-Braised Spareribs to Raspberry Pie Garnished with Whipped Cream, In Pursuit of Flavor is a modern classic and a timeless compendium of Southern cooking at its very best.
Buy here: https://amzn.to/2XFrYE1
Soul Food: Recipes and Reflections from African-American Churches by Joyce Wright
When Joyce White moved to New York City from Alabama, she left small-town life behind and landed ajob as a food editor at a major women’s magazine. Weekends, however, found her visiting churches in Harlem and Bedford-Stuyvestant, looking for a taste of home. Food has long been a part of the spiritual life of African-American churches, and what she found there, along with what she missed from home, was the comforting blend of cooking and fellowship that feeds both the body and soul.
In this warm and joyful collection, White offers more than 150 recipes for the foods that worshipers look forward to after services, and she captures the spirit of these sociable meals with warm, conversational and occasionally poignant reflections from African-American churchgoers around the United States.
Buy here: https://amzn.to/2XGNZCl
Zora Neale Hurston on Florida Food:: Recipes, Remedies & Simple Pleasures by Frederick Douglass Opie
Eatonville, Florida native Zora Neale Hurston’s early twentieth-century ethnographic research and writing emphasizes the essentials of food in Florida through simple dishes and recipes. It considers foods prepared for everyday meals as well as special occasions and looks at what shaped people’s eating traditions in early twentieth-century Florida. Hurston did for Florida what William Faulkner did for Mississippi–provided insight into a state’s history and culture through various styles of writing. Her collected food stories, folklore and remedies, and the related recipes food professor Fred Opie pairs with them, are essential reading for those who love to cook and eat.
Buy here: https://amzn.to/2XHKtHQ
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