Library Journal Review
Edna Lewis (1916-2006) was an African American chef and cookbook author whose The Taste of Country Cooking (1976) is considered a classic on the subject of Southern cuisine. Lewis grew up on a farm in Freetown, VA, and later went on to work as a chef in the Bronx, NY. She was also a vocal political activist. Food studies scholar Franklin (Tradition, Treme, and the New Orleans Renaissance) has compiled a collection of 21 essays by contemporary food writers such as chef Mashama Bailey as well as authors John T. Edge (The Potlikker Papers) and Michael W. Twitty (The Cooking Gene) to discuss their recollections of Lewis and her influence on American cooking. The essays are divided into three sections. The first focuses on the contributors' first impressions of Lewis. The second considers Lewis's standing in culinary history, and the final section is devoted to her contributions to today's culinary culture. The book concludes with recollections by Lewis's sister and niece. VERDICT A fitting tribute to a legendary chef, for anyone interested in culinary history.-Phillip Oliver, formerly with Univ. of North Alabama, Florence © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
*Starred Review* Of all the great American originals, Edna Lewis (1916-2006) left a remarkable legacy. Often overlooked at a time when achievements of African Americans were routinely belittled or ignored, Lewis broke new ground in what became a major movement in American culinary history: farm-to-table cooking. From rural Virginia, she moved to New York City and become chef at Café Nicholson, frequented by a host of Manhattan celebrities. She produced a classic and influential cookbook, The Taste of Country Cooking (1976). This collection of essays by devotees of Miss Lewis, in which her contemporaries share their respect and love, serves as an appreciation of her life, her achievements, and her legacy. Alice Waters lauds Miss Lewis as an inspiration for her own cuisine. Megan Elias situates Miss Lewis within the grand history of black people moving out of slavery and into freedom. Celebrity southern chef Vivian Howard finds a soul mate in her predecessor. In a moving piece, noted food personality Francis Lam recalls a visit to Miss Lewis' unassuming Virginia grave. A few recipes appear, too.--Knoblauch, Mark Copyright 2018 Booklist