These Cookbooks By Black Authors Are Filled With Inspiring Stories & Tasty Recipes
If you're ready to further diversify your palette, there are tons of cookbooks written by Black authors ready to be part of your growing kitchen collection. During a time when it's imperative to amplify Black voices and promote the work of Black creators, especially in the cooking space, these books will not only increase your awareness of and appreciation for the traditions behind these delectable dishes, but you'll also be encouraging and bolstering future support for the Black community.
In addition to dynamite recipes, you'll find each cookbook on this list is fit to burst with anecdotes and memories that make each plate more meaningful and enjoyable to prepare. In Jerrelle Guy's cookbook, Black Girl Baking: Wholesome Recipes Inspired by a Soulful Upbringing, she includes snacks that remind her of her childhood. Her father loved "the marriage of the sweet and salty" topping on an oatmeal cream pie with sliced cheddar cheese. At the time, Guy thought the orange cheese on top was gross, but it later served as inspiration behind the Oatmeal Cheddar Cheese Moon Pies in her cookbook.
Jam Sessions, created by the team at Trade Street Jam Co., is jam-packed with delicious drinks, waffles, and dressings, each developed and shared on social media by owner and CEO Ashley Rouse. The cookbook spotlights low-sugar, vegan jam, as Rouse guides you in making them part of your pizza or grill nights. She created the recipes after quitting her job and moving to Brooklyn, telling Essence in Feb. 2019 that the book was inspired by fans requesting a cookbook of her jams and more. The final masterpiece has spunk and personality, with its colorful pages and pun-laded recipes inspiring you to create a jam session of your own as you cook your way through its pages.
Adding any of these cookbooks to your shelf should always be a no-brainer, but as people across the U.S. come together to protest unjust instances of police brutality, and as thousands donate to bail funds after the senseless death of George Floyd and the killings of Rayshard Brooks, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Philando Castille, Tamir Rice, Oscar Grant, and dozens more, use this moment to analyze your cookbook collection. Make a concerted effort to diversify what you read and how you cook by adding more Black authors to your shelf.
1. 'Black Girl Baking: Wholesome Recipes Inspired by a Soulful Upbringing' by Jerrelle Guy
This cookbook by Jerrelle Guy, the powerhouse behind the Chocolate For Basil cooking blog, is dedicated to baked goods. It's broken up into sections based on the five senses to ensure you're fully immersed in the experience of making Fudgy Flourless Brownies or Peaches and Cream Cake. Every recipe lets you to dive into the world of Guy as she shares her palette through her memories.
2. 'Jam Sessions' by Trade Street Jam Co.
Ashley Rouse from Trade Street Jam Co. came out with a cookbook so you can turn her tasty, "non-conventional" products — like Smoked Yellow Peach Jam and Strawberry Chipotle and Fig Jam — into milkshakes, sweet cocktails, tangy dressings, and more. The cookbook is just one product her New York City-based business offers, which, according to the website, Rouse began in a small North Carolina apartment.
3. 'Carla Hall's Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration' by Carla Hall with Genevieve Ko
You may have already watched Carla Hall lend her expertise on ABC's The Chew or Bravo's Top Chef. Her latest cookbook takes you straight to the TV personality's roots in Nashville. There are a total of 145 original recipes in the book, most of which you'll immediately want to add to your weekly rotation. Each dish you make and each bite you take will end in a true celebration of culture and food.
4. 'Sweet Potato Soul: 100 Easy Vegan Recipes for the Southern Flavors of Smoke, Sugar, Spice, and Soul' by Jenné Claiborne
Are you vegan, or do you enjoy vegan foods? If so, look no further than this cookbook by Jenné Claiborne, the woman behind the blog, recipes, and videos over at Sweet Potato Soul. Claiborne is a blogger, author, and YouTuber. Her recipes include dishes like Bourbon BBQ Tempeh Sliders and Fried Cauliflower Chicken. You can watch her cook those tasty recipes and pick up new tricks from her via her YouTube channel.
5. 'Between Harlem and Heaven: Afro-Asian-American Cooking for Big Nights, Weeknights, and Every Day' by Alexander Smalls and J. J. Johnson with Veronica Chambers
Alexander Smalls and J. J. Johnson collaborated on this cookbook, which Johnson talked about in an interview with Bon Appetit in 2018. In the interview, he spotlighted their oxtail dumplings and how African, Asian, and American cultures come together in his cooking.
Essays by Veronica Chambers are sprinkled throughout the pages to enrich the stories behind each plate, making you think more about cooking, food, ingredients, and how all three have evolved over the decades.
6. 'Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African-American Cooking' by Toni Tipton-Martin
The pan of perfectly prepared shrimp on the cover of Toni Tipton-Martin's cookbook will catch your eye, make you hungry, and entice you to pick up a copy of Tipton-Martin's masterpiece. The book is overflowing with heart and history, and Tipton-Martin's recipes recently got a shoutout from none other than Sen. Kamala Harris. Jubilee features over 100 recipes, and you should try to make every single one, like Sweet Potato Biscuits, Baked Ham Glazed with Champagne, and Pecan Pie with Bourbon.
7. 'Soul Food Love: Healthy Recipes Inspired by One Hundred Years of Cooking in a Black Family' by Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams
The mother-and-daughter duo of Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams prove that recipes are memories meant to be passed down from one generation to the next. Get a glimpse into their family, culture, and history with recipes such as Fiery Green Beans and Sinless Sweet Potato Pie.
8. '28-Day Plant-Powered Health Reboot: Reset Your Body, Lose Weight, Gain Energy & Feel Great' by Jessica Jones and Wendy Lopez
Plant-based eaters will love cooking alongside Jessica Jones and Wendy Lopez, the faces behind the blog and website Food Heaven and the hosts of the Food Heaven podcast. According to their website, they're both registered dietitians, and share a common goal of helping you find joy in food. The best part? You don't have to be looking to lose weight in order to fall in love with their recipes. More than anything, they're about keeping things straightforward and fostering community when it comes to their readership. Their meal-planning challenge is proof of that.
9. 'The Up South Cookbook: Chasing Dixie in a Brooklyn Kitchen' by Nicole A. Taylor
Have you ever wanted to make fried chicken at home? Do you have a soft spot in your heart for flavors like coconut and lemon? Nicole A. Taylor is ready to guide you in cooking all the classic dishes of the South, and while she's at it, she's going to use the recipes to educate you on her delicious roots. Each recipe comes with a side of appreciation for foods that may make you feel closer to home, even when they're given a modern twist.
10. 'Zoe's Ghana Kitchen' by Zoe Adjonyoh
Chef Zoe Adjonyoh shares an endless list of food secrets in her cookbook. Never again will you eat a boring, flavorless meal, because Adjonyoh brings traditional Ghanaian recipes into your kitchen that are buzzing with flavor. There are chapters dedicated to how to cook a yam or plantain five different ways, and what spices to add to your kitchen for delicious eating.
11. 'Vegetable Kingdom: The Abundant World of Vegan Recipes' by Bryant Terry
If there is a such thing as "vegetable kingdom," it's right here in Terry's book. One look at it and you'll want to eat every meal Terry creates. You'll also learn how to easily forge vegan delicacies with the ingredients available in the grocery stores. Pick this book up for all your upcoming kitchen adventures — it's been dubbed "phenomenal" by distinguished professor and political activist Angela Davis.
12. 'Living Lively: 80 Plant-Based Recipes to Activate Your Power and Feed Your Potential' by Haile Thomas
Pre-order this cookbook from Haile Thomas, due out July 28, 2020, to live your best life in the kitchen and beyond. It was recently promoted by Bryant Terry on Instagram, where he shouted out Thomas' many accomplishments as a "19-year-old international speaker, wellness and compassion activist, vegan food and lifestyle content creator." Pre-order her cookbook and you'll have nurturing, inspiring, and plant-based meals to look forward to.
13. ‘New World Sourdough: Artisan Techniques for Creative Homemade Fermented Breads; With Recipes for Birote, Bagels, Pan de Coco, Beignets, and More’ by Bryan Ford
Sourdough is reimagined in each recipe in Bryan Ford’s cookbook, New World Sourdough, which shows you how to make bread at home without the stress of continuously weighing or prepping your dough. Ford works his Afro-Honduran roots into each recipe, showing the connections between baking Honduran pan de coco (aka coconut bread) and sourdough. He also shares his techniques for sourdough starters, pizza dough, and focaccia. Catch some of his laidback baking tricks — which don’t place focus on exact percentages — in addition to mouthwatering photos on his Instagram (@artisanbryan), while you wait for your copy of New World Sourdough.
14. ‘The New Way to Cake: Simple Recipes with Exceptional Flavor’ by Benjamina Ebuehi
Baking the most beautiful cake is simple with The New Way to Cake: Simple Recipes with Exceptional Flavor by The Great British Baking Show finalist Benjamina Ebuehi. In Ebuehi’s cookbook, she shares delicious cake recipes that won’t take too much time, effort, or skill to conquer. Beginners can benefit from having this cookbook in their collection, since it covers basics like the main ingredients to include in each dessert dish. However, experts can also get something out of it, as Ebuehi encourages bakers to branch out with ingredients like fruit, toasted nuts, and herbs.
15. ‘Son of a Southern Chef: Cook with Soul’ by Lazarus Lynch
You may have seen Lazarus Lynch, the creative personality behind Son of a Southern Chef: Cook with Soul, on Food Network’s Chopped, Snapchat’s Chopped U, or even on Instagram (@sonofasouthernchef). If you’re a fan or simply want to expand your cooking skills, you’ll want to check out this cookbook that’s jam-packed with colorful recipes that celebrate Lynch’s love for food, specifically some dishes from his childhood. Lynch’s very own recipe for sweet potato cinnamon rolls are included, too, and are drizzled with a bourbon glaze.
16. ‘In Bibi's Kitchen: The Recipes and Stories of Grandmothers from the Eight African Countries that Touch the Indian Ocean’ by Hawa Hassan with Julia Turshen
In this cookbook, chef Hawa Hassan and writer Julia Turshen compiled 75 recipes from African grandmothers (or bibis, as they’re referred to in Swahili), and the rich stories about how they created their dishes. The grandmothers all come from countries that are known for spice trading, including South Africa, Kenya, Somalia, and Madagascar. With every page, you’ll not only diversify your knowledge of meals like Matoke (stewed plantains with beans and beef) and Samaki Wa Kupaka (coconut fish curry), but you’ll also be able to put a dish on your table that’s filled with history and flavor.