As I continue to educate myself, I have fallen into a deep rabbit hole of discovery. I began by seeking inspiration from Black interior designers, stylists, and Black-owned decor brands. But since my work straddles the design and food world, I now find myself fully immersed in the culinary world. SO much talent to discover and so much to salivate over as I read these recipes. My mind (and palate) is hungry to learn more and more about these dishes and the history behind it all. Researching BIPOC food stylists, cookbook authors, chefs, food photographers, black-owned restaurants… you name it. 
I was particularly inspired while reading an excerpt from the introduction to Toni Tipton-Martin’s cookbook Jubilee. 
Toni Tipton-Martin is a culinary journalist, community activist, and a James Beard Award–winning author. Her collection of more than three hundred African American cookbooks has been exhibited at the James Beard House, and she has twice been invited to the White House to participate in First Lady Michelle Obama’s programs to raise a healthier generation of kids. Tipton-Martin is a founding member of the Southern Foodways Alliance and Foodways Texas. 
“For more than two hundred years, black cookbook authors have tried to tell a multifaceted story of African American food that includes, but also looks beyond, what people call “soul food” today. I spent at least thirty of those years collecting their writings in search of nimble cooks like Freda DeKnight and the members of the Negro Culinary Arts Club of Los Angeles, who resisted tropes by publishing the recipes of middle-class black folks. I gave them back their dignity in The Jemima Code, and in turn, they set me free to tell the part of our food story that I grew up in and love.
Previously, when thinking about African American, Southern, and soul food, my angle of vision had always been through race; but discovering their lost legacy opened the view to an unexpected characteristic: class. This book broadens the African American food story. It celebrates the enslaved and the free, the working class, the middle  class, and the elite. It honors cooking with intentionality and skill, for a purpose and with pleasure. And it level sets notions of hospitality and confident cooking when resources are plentiful, as well as when they were less so. It is a culinary Jubilee!
At its core, African American cuisine reflects the blending of two distinct culinary styles. One was crafted by ingenious and industrious field hands in the slave cabin, from meager ingredients, informed by African techniques. The other signifies the lavish cooking—in the plantation kitchen or in kitchens staffed or owned by people educated formally and informally in culinary arts.” – Toni Tipton-Martin

Below is a collection of cookbook’s by trailblaising Black women and men in the culinary industry.  Please show your support!

Share this Swoon   –  


Subscribe to our newsletter

Get exclusive access to recipes, promotions, videos, and original content.
We'll never share your information.