This is our list of the most indispensable Black cookbooks for your bookshelves by the best Black Chefs, Authors and Historians. Perfect recipes to help you celebrate Juneteenth & Black History Month.
We’ve compiled, a number of beautiful, well written cookbooks by Black authors published over the last decades. Perfect gifts to yourself if your a food lover, just starting your journey or for Mom or your bestie.
We’re sharing a collection of some of the best and our favorite cookbooks by Black authors and chefs that explore Black culture, African American cuisine, and the African diaspora through: food, culture and history. Recipes that honor traditional foods of Juneteenth and Black History Month.
- Watermelon and Red Birds: A Cookbook for Juneteenth and Black Celebrations by Nicole A. Taylor
- Everyday Grand By Jocelyn Delk Adams
- Edna Lewis: In Pursuit of Flavor by Edna Lewis
- I Heart Soul Food by Rosie Mayes
- Carla Hall’s Soul Food - Everyday and Celebration by Carla Hall With Genevive Ko
- Black Food by Bryant Terry
- Jubilee Recipes From Two Centuries of African American Cooking By Toni Tipton-Martin
- Son of A Southern Chef - Cook With Soul By Lazurus Lynch
- Fix Me A Plate By Scotty Scott
- Sweet Potato Soul By Jenne Claiborne
Online and digital books are great but feeling the paper as you flip the pages in an actual book, can’t be underestimated. If you’re looking to start or expand your cookbook library, here are some of the best books celebrating traditional foods of Juneteenth and Black History Month.
We know that purchasing any of these cookbooks will bring some amazing tastes into your home. So what are you waiting for? Get to reading, clicking, buying, and cooking! Oh, and bring an empty stomach. You are going to need it, for sure.
You can order any of the following cookbooks on Amazon.
Watermelon and Red Birds: A Cookbook for Juneteenth and Black Celebrations by Nicole A. Taylor
This is the very first cookbook honoring Juneteenth with more than 75 recipes.
Nicole A. Taylor is a James Beard award-nominated food writer and master home cook who has written for the New York Times, Bon Appétit and Food & Wine.
As a lover of cookbooks in general and especially enjoying black cookbooks; imagine my joy when reading through Nicole A. Taylor’s - Watermelon & Red Birds. She talks about her love of cookbooks, even describing her huge collection “my bedroom has a floor to ceiling bookshelf filled with titles written by Black authors. Edna Lewis cookbook… a signed High on the Hog… I’ve never been more elated about the wealth of authors telling their families’ stories, sharing recipes…”. The foreword is actually written by Stephen Satterfield of Netflix’s, High on the Hog.
Taylor offers a wealth of resources. A variety of recipes from barbecues and seasoning blends. To an assortment of wonderful red drinks like Miso bloody marys. Desserts like Hibiscus Sichuan snow cones and Strawberry hand pies.
Comment below and let us know your favorite recipe from these Black cookbooks or share with us your favorite Black cookbooks and tag us on Instagram #thevgnway.
Everyday Grand By Jocelyn Delk Adams
Jocelyn’s cookbook is a delight. A wonderful celebration of family and soulful recipes. Her philosophy of celebration is woven throughout the book.
Shad and I love reading cookbooks for inspiration. Normally we have to veganize recipes but I love that Joycelyn didn’t forget about her vegan fans. She offers all the traditional southern faves like carrot cake, classic southern potato salad and bbq ribs. But she also offers a few tasty plant-based recipes like vegan curry jumpin john with a delicious foundation of peas, okra and rice; red beans and rice; and mango jerk jackfruit tacos. We enjoyed making her cornmeal butter biscuits. The recipe comes together easily and the biscuits are delicious with a crispy exterior but moist and tender inside.
Of all the things I love in her book, I love her menu suggestions. Everything from Juneteenth, Treat Yo’ Self Day to Netflix and chill, in her words “what else deserves to be celebrated? In my world, anything and everything”. We couldn’t agree more, everyday is indeed a celebration and a day to create recipes the entire family will enjoy. Find her at @grandbabycakes on Instragram.
Edna Lewis: In Pursuit of Flavor by Edna Lewis
Before reading this book I was shamefully unaware of the contribution of Edna Lewis known as “the Grande Dame of Southern Cooking. In 1995 she received the James Beard Living Legend Award (their first such award) and in 1999 she was named Grande Dame by Les Dames d’Escoffier. In 2014 a stamp was created to honor her image.
Miss. Lewis, dubbed, the first lady of Southern cooking; shared southern focused recipes featuring fresh and in season ingredients. Introducing celebrities like Diana Vreeland, Truman Capote and Marlon Brando to regional dishes like shrimp and grits. The book is chalked full of cooking tips and tricks as well as stories from her childhood as well as her years as a revered chef.
Judith Jones, the cookbook who also edited Julia Child worked to write The Edna Lewis Cookbook (1972). Follow the Edna Lewis Foundation on Instagram @ednalewisfoundation
I Heart Soul Food by Rosie Mayes
In the book, YouTuber and blogger Rosie Mayes talks about the importance of a well stocked kitchen pantry. Using the standard ingredients found in your average home, but making sure to always keep your food staples to, bring out the best flavors in dishes.
Covering breakfast, lunch, dinner and desserts, the recipes are easy, with the flavors of your grandparent’s kitchen. We enjoyed comparing her Aunt Josie’s accidentally vegan friendly peach cobbler recipe to ours. Find her at @iheartrecipes on Instagram.
Carla Hall’s Soul Food - Everyday and Celebration by Carla Hall With Genevive Ko
TV personality and chef Carla Hall's Soul food cookbook delivers her "cooking with love" philosophy big time. From Caramel cake to Black-Eyed Pea salad with Hot sauce vinaigrette, Carla's recipes deliver.
Carla on soul food vs. Southern food:
“I think people try to have this intellectual discussion about the difference between soul food and Southern food, and simply put, soul food is the food of Black people. Southern food is a derivative of the food of Black people. Because who was cooking? I mean, even though Black people were doing other things. But I also like to share the example of a hymn and a Negro spiritual. You can take that same song — same notes and everything — but there is a riffing that happens when it becomes a Negro spiritual so that it is coming from your belly into your soul and out to share a passion or a story that you can't really say in words.” via www.bittmanproject.com
Carla shares everything you'll need to be successful in making the recipes. She made all the mistakes making them so she could tell us how not to make those mistakes but instead produce delicious wonderful recipes. Find her at @carlahall on Instagram.
Black Food by Bryant Terry
"Stories, Art & Recipes from across the African Diaspora" Edited & Curated by James Beard winning Chef, Editor in Chief and Author Bryant Terry.
The book is divided into chapters that explore major themes in the African American Diaspora: Spirit; Leisure & Lifestyle; Black Women, Food & Power; Motherland; Migrations; Radical Self-Care; Black Future; Land, Liberations & Food Justice and Black, Queer, Food and features artwork by iconic artist like Deborah Roberts.
Each chapter starts with essays followed by food and drink recipes like: Ackee & Callaloo Patties, Collards & Vegan Sweet Potato Coconut Biscuits. Sarah Ladipo Manyika; writes a wonderful essay recalling an afternoon lunch with Toni Morrison and jollof [jaw-lawf] rice and the many meanings of food in Toni Morrison works. And Tricia Hersey of Nap Ministry contributes an essay: Care & Rest is our Liberation.
We enjoyed making Jenne Claiborne of Sweet Potato Soul; Nana's Sweet Potato pie, a sweet blend of baked sweet potatoes combined with the unexpected ingredient of butternut squash, delightful.
The book offers a range of recipes and essay from famous chef, culinary historian and cookbook author like Jessica B. Harris (who you might recognize from Netflix's series High On The Hog).
This book deserves to be put front and center of your book collection. Find him at @bryantterry on Instagram.
Jubilee Recipes From Two Centuries of African American Cooking By Toni Tipton-Martin
Covering 200 years of African American foodways and Black cooking. Food historian and writer Toni Tipton-Martin honors the traditions of joyous cooking and has a story to tell with almost every recipe. While Toni’s cookbook is full of traditional recipes like the classic West African, okra gumbo; it’s equally filled with imaginative twists on Southern classics like the Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad with Curried Dressing.
A must have cookbook, a great Mother's Day, Father's or Christmas gift for the foodie in your life. Find her on Instagram at @tonitiptonmartin
Son of A Southern Chef - Cook With Soul By Lazurus Lynch
Multi-hyphenate creator Lazurus Lynch - musician, model, actor, filmmaker, writer, and author of this celebrated cookbook. Lets also shout out they are the only Black, Queer chef ever to cook at the prestigious Met Gala ball. An annual fundraising gala held for the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute in New York City. With his natural cooking talent, he studied culinary arts at his Food and Finance High School. And Inspired by his father's passion for cooking in his self owned restaurant, Baby Sister’s Soul Food in Queens, New York.
Lazurus himself was born and raised in New York, his father was from Alabama and introduced his entire family to southern cooking. This sparked his love and passion for southern cooking.
The cook book is a mix of recipes from his father like Salmon Croquettes, his own spin on some long time traditional recipes and inspiration from the food culture of the surrounding New York neighborhoods like NYC Bagel French Toast Pudding With Blueberry Crumble.
"Keep It Simple: Live Bold And Cook With Soul. Make It Gravy!" Lazarus Lynch
Find him on Instagram at @sonofasouthernchef.
Fix Me A Plate By Scotty Scott
Growing up in the kitchen from an early age with his grandmother Scotty found that his best conversations always seemed to be when food was being prepared. Cooking for family and friends was consistently in his life all the way through college where he was able to blend social media photography and his love for cooking into photos and videos about making food. And this book is an extension of that creative expression that he found in the kitchen for himself and is hoping it will be a spark for someone else.
Find him on Instagram at @scottyscott
Sweet Potato Soul By Jenne Claiborne
Jenne is a chef and blogger who grew up in Atlanta eating classic soul food. Her first cookbook is the result of thinking that she would have to give up all of the delicious flavors and textures once she became vegan.
But she instead realized after spending years experimenting in the kitchen that she could Infuse plant-based dishes with all the flavors, textures and depth of good old-fashioned soul food.
We enjoyed her twist on classic hummus with her recipe for spicy sweet potato hummus. A dish that would go well at a Super Bowl Sunday spread with spicy Buffalo Cauliflower wings.
Find her on Instagram @sweetpotatosoul
Comment below let us know your favorite recipe from these Black cookbooks or share with us your favorite Black cookbooks and tag us on Instagram #thevgnway.