Everyone needs their own copy of “Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking” by Toni Tipton-Martin, a culinary journalist. She weaves a rich history of culinary storytelling that pays homage to Black culinary professionals and middle-to-upper class entrepreneurs. To do so, she uses a guide from Arturo Schomburg, an Afro-Puerto Rican historian and her personal collection as a framework for her research.
In “Jubilee,” release last year, Tipton-Martin presents over 100 recipes translated from 400 cookbooks dating back to the 1800s. I like how a few originals sit in the sidebar. They piqued my interest and show their evolution. I love the book’s gold flap pages and vivid imagery. Stunning!
I also appreciate how Tipton-Martin focuses on the artistry and science of cooking “…that will make you feel comfortable in the kitchen.” The hardcover contains manageable ingredient lists with items found at local supermarkets. The instructions also seem easy to follow. I see several meals in my future such as the ginger punch, Savannah pickled shrimp, beef with onions and wine, catfish etouffee and sweet potato mango cake. I guess I should’ve added some veggies for good measure. I’m thinking string beans a la creole or wilted mixed greens with bacon. If I change my mind about any of them, I have seven sections to choose from and plenty of bent corners to peruse. Her coverage in a New York Times article highlighted the pork chops in a lemon caper sauce which suggested that you would want to make it again and again.
The James Beard Award-winning author who released the “The Jemima Code” in 2015, does a great job at celebrating and displaying the liberation and resilience of African American cuisine as she intended. She allows readers to see its depth and range. She doesn’t put it in a box or dilute it with stereotypes. It makes me want to – unapologetically – call it American fare. I look forward to making some of the dishes.
I felt as though this cookbook offered a beautiful compilation of our ancestor’s gastronomic legacy. Schomburg passed the baton to Tipton-Martin as she wrote, “We earned the freedom to cook with creativity and joy.” Lucky for us, “Jubilee” is the result.
Order your copy on Amazon to see why this is a book for all food lovers.
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