The Jemima Code

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Member Reviews

This book surprised me. Based on the title I thought it would be an expose on how Black women cooks are seen as Jemima's. Jemima is both loved and reviled in the Black community. This book, though it touched briefly on Jemima and her history, it was more of an encyclopedia of Black cookbooks. The rich history brought down through generations in dishes that hail from Africa to New York.  The love and care that's represented in dishes cooked at home, mansions and even the White House. An astute addition to any library, I hope to procure several of the cookbooks for my personal collection.
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What a treasure of a book!
This is a tribute to the unsung heroes of America and true shapers of what we know today. 
This is not a cookbook but rather an anthology and review of cookbooks produced by African Americans in the United States.
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This book is exceeding well written and provides a perspective I haven't seen elsewhere, despite reading a lot of food history, food memoir, food blogs, and food magazines. It's packed with historical information and insight, which at times can make it read more like a history or scholarly book, but the material is so interesting I didn't care.
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This is a fascinating and well researched book that tells the history of cookbooks in America by African American cooks. It's a heavy read and took me a long time to get through, but it's extremely informative and is the only book of its kind that I know of. The author has done extensive research into these cookbooks and describes each one in chronological order, with a photograph or two of the cover or (perhaps) a recipe inside it. The reader sees how these authors were often forced to present themselves to appeal to the prejudices of the time. I was really hoping to get recipes from the books, but this is not a cookbook and recipes are few and far between. I was able to look up many of them online and read them through public domain sources, though, and I highly recommend doing that for some of the older books.

My rating system:
1 = hated it
2 = it was okay
3 = liked it
4 = really liked it
5 = love it, plan to purchase, and/or would buy it again if it was lost

I read a temporary digital ARC of the book for the purpose of review.
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Thank you for this exciting and extremely different book! I've never read anything like it! It is not only a recipe book but an analysis and description with actual real pictures of old recipe books (2 centuries' worth) by Black American cooks. It is lively, well written and fascinating. I highly recommend it!
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This book was a wealth of information. Going in, I was expecting recipes and not a history lesson, and I was pleasantly surprised. The pictures in the book helped to bring context to the narratives in the story. What was surprising to me was the amount of information made available about this period, and the people who cultivated a style of cooking that had multiple influences.  I would recommend and would purchase for culinary lovers in my family.
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Passionately written and painstakingly researched over many years, The Jemima Code is a fascinating look into the rich history of African-American cookery. Author Toni shares with us some true cookbook gems from her vast collection, while illustrating each era they originated from with literary flair.

The recipes in excerpts from cookbooks peppered throughout the book are so interesting to read over, offering a clear indication of the depth of culinary knowledge and expertise that was accumulated by, and passed down by, black cooks all over America, as well as giving the opportunity to see the evolution and transformation of their cuisine over the decades.

A wonderful read for anyone with an interest in African-American cooking over the ages.
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A wonderful read a cookbook with wonderful recipes a look at African American culture so well written wonderfully illustrated.A book that teaches history mixed in with delicious food.Highly recommend,#netgalley #uoftexaspress,
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Having eluded my attention over the years, the author revealed some startling news concerning the world of cooking. Getting to the heart of the matter, the art of African American cooking evolved from its early beginnings in the Deep South. Many  slaves blessed with talented culinary skills provided outstanding meals for their owners. Back in the day, a preposterous notion was born out of a robust stereotypical black woman. Portrayed as happy-go-lucky, she provided all of the needed nanny, housekeeping and cooking skills for the white slave owners. As the fantasy had grown, she had become to be affectionately known as Aunt Jemima. 

Fortunately, misconceptions have greatly changed since those early days of ignorance. Ever so slowly, since the post-civil War era, recognition long overdue had been rightfully credited to many African-American cooks. The mold of the mythical Aunt Jemima had finally been shattered. Many African-Americans cooks and authors have now taken their acknowledged place among some of the best culinary chefs in America. Savory, award-winning secret recipes of yesterday grace the pages of this book. The time is at hand. I would recommend this cookbook to anyone wanting to take another look at some of the best dishes to satisfy our palates.

My gratitude is sent to NetGalley and University of Texas Press for this digital edition in exchange for an unbiased review.
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This is a fasinating read regarding how the culture of food and salvery have developed. However having now finished the book i am craving the food mentioned so a few recipies that people can try may have been useful.
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I have to say, I'm not exactly sure what I was expecting when I read this book, but it definitely took me by surprise, in a good way! This collection is poignant, moving and inspiring. I would recommend this book for foodies and history buffs alike!
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There is more than one way to burn a book and there are plenty of people running around with matches.  ~Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451

Celebrating #BannedBookWeek as I take a look at The Jemima Code by Toni Tipton-Martin. While this book has not been "banned," the contents of the book have been questioned, hidden and lied about for centuries. As Bradbury states in the quote above, you don't have to literally ban or burn a book in order to suppress the information. That is exactly what has happened to African American cooks, chefs, Nannies and Mammies over the years.

In The Jemima Code - which is NOT a cookbook, by the way - Tipton-Martin has compiled and curated the stories, histories and covers of many lost African-American cookbooks. The books were "lost" to us for the simple fact that they are authored or written by or about African American cooks. It was long held as a "fact" that southern cooking came from the white homes in the southern part of the US. It was also believed that the African Americans who cooked in these homes were "uncreative" and merely copied the recipes that they were taught. Furthermore, we are told that these recipes are unhealthy, lead to obesity, and should not be replicated in today's "healthier" homes. Yeah, right.

I was raised in the south and love southern food. However, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that white southern women did none of their cooking well into the latter part of the 20th century. Our grandmothers, great aunts, great grandmothers had "help," if not outright slaves who did their cooking and cleaning for them. As a result, nearly all of the recipes that today are considered "southern" by cooks in the south, actually originated by African slaves and Creoles living in the south. Cornbread, fried fish, waffles, grits, black-eyed peas, "southern" fried chicken and biscuits - all were originated by African Americans. Furthermore, in order for white southerners to take credit for these recipes and fine cooking, they suppressed the cookbooks that these African American chefs had printed.

Interestingly, I was raised in Arkansas, home to Bill Clinton. While governor there, he boasted about the great food that was served at the Governor's Mansion. For years, it was assumed that the chef at the mansion was a world renown chef. It turns out that for nearly a half century the food was prepared by a marvelous chef name Eliza Ashley. She had cooked for presidents, the Rockefellers, dignitaries and movie stars but until the 1980s, she received no credit as being the chef behind the delectable food. The Jemima Code is filled with similar stories and it is tragic. To completely "white-wash" the contributions made by these cooks is egregious. Thanks to Tipton-Martin, we now are able to see just how pervasive this cover up was.

I highly recommend reading The Jemima Code for its historical contribution to our heritage. 

Thank you to @ToniTipton Martin, #Netgalley and the University of Texas Press for my copy of this fabulous book! And now I am off to put on a pot of black eyed peas and bake up a pan of cornbread. Yummy!
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WOW!  the extensive research and planning the author devoted to this one of a kind cookbook and historical example of African American cooking has resulted in one of the most comprehensive cooking manuals I've ever seen or had the pleasure of reading.  Toni Tipton-Martin has put together so many differing examples of cultural cooking that it is hard to believe their history started in the same place.  The Jemima Code is NOT a tribute to Aunt Jemima, it is a factual tribute to the contributions African American cooking has made to our current diets and traditions.
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To be honest, I was a little unprepared for the book. I thought that this book would focus on recipes from the archives of cookbooks and go into depth on how these recipes defined the time and culture.  I also expected to see more innovative recipes that were a result of the limited availability of ingredients. I could clearly see the amount of passion the author poured into this book. The years of collecting and finding these cookbooks and the author's in depth analysis was impressive. The images and snippets from these books were some of my favorite parts of the book. However, I think the author could have organized the book by combining the analysis into topics based on time periods, locations, or as examples of the cultural stereotypes. Then maybe the author could have added more analysis on recipes that define the culture and added some recipes. Mostly, the book was a beautiful and informative compilation of African American culinary history.
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This was a great historical journey into the history of African Americans cooking in America. Influenced by the times and cultures near and far, I am ashamed to admit that I didn't realize just how much the "Aunt Jemima" characterization helped to perpetuate stereotypes for generations. I thoroughly appreciated the information on cookbooks, which are listed chronologically and serves as a valuable historical and culinary lesson.
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Thank you to the author, publisher, and Netgalley for allowing me to preview this book. This  is an amazing cookbook for those who are wanting to know more about the history of African American cooks, the culture, catering ideas, and information from the African American cooks, chefs, and community that hopes to share their pride and history. This is a must have for your cookbook collection!
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I am disappointed, I thought it would be a book with many recipes from the two centuries o f African American cooking books, but it was in the first place a history of cookbooks that was not what I expected when I had requested it. My other complaining was a format of this book that was not comfortable to handle for me as a reader.

For sure interesting insights in American history, but the book didn't get all my attention and I gave up somewhere in the middle of it.
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I voluntarily read and reviewed a copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Thanks to the author for providing a copy of this book via Netgalley!

Beautiful book: we get gorgeous illustrations, history of American cuisine, stories about african-american mothers and grandmothers who did stunning job to create some wonderful meals.

I recommend this one to everybody who like to cook and to learn some of history about their favorite meals.
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Jemima Code

My thanks to #NetGalley for this ebook in exchange for an honest review. The Jemima Code is no ordinary cookbook. Part history book, part anthology, and mostly a tribute to the magnificence and resiliency of the African-American culinary contribution.  The African and African American contributions to the American Southern cooking are well chronicled within the book, and a more complete understanding of the African-American place in the American culinary tradition. Highly recommended for any cook who likes to know the history of the American culinary tradition.
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This was an interesting book, in a format I don’t think I have ever seen before. According to the publisher’s notes about the book, the author has one of the largest private collections of cookbooks by/about African American cooks, and this book is a compilation of reviews/descriptions of more than 150 of these cookbooks. 

The book is divided into chapters that are broken down by time periods. Each chapter begins with a short essay about the historical period covered within that chapter, and the how the cookbooks of that particular era reflected the beliefs society held about these chefs and home cooks during that period.  This essay is followed by entries about each individual cookbook, featuring a photo of the cover, a description of the content, and sometimes images from inside the book as well. 

I found myself slightly disappointed with this book. At first because I was hoping to find more actually recipes, but once I really understood that this was not the intent of the book, I found myself disappointed that the later chapters felt much less analytical about the social milieu out of which those later books arose. 

I finished the book unsure whether the author was trying to provide a bibliography of sorts featuring African American cookbooks, in which case I would have liked to see more of the actual pages inside the books, or if she was trying to do a scholarly examination of society as reflected through the framework of cookbooks, in which case I wish she would have included fewer books, and examined the ones she did include more closely.  In either situation I finished this book with a better understanding of what my college professors meant when they told me that I hadn’t taken my argument far enough. I would love to read more from this author, but only if she digs more deeply into what we can learn about society through a careful examination of the domestic art of cooking.
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