In 1904, Kentucky socialite Minnie C. Fox published The Blue Grass Cook Book with over three hundred recipes to celebrate the cuisine of the Bluegrass State. In the book, Fox gives the first known credit for southern hospitality to African American cooks. In Fox's time, the culinary history of black women in the South was usually characterized by demoralizing portraits of servants toiling in "big house" kitchens. In contrast, The Blue Grass Cook Book, with its photographs of African American cooks at work and a passionate introduction by Fox's brother, respected Kentucky novelist John Fox Jr., offers insight into the complex bond between well-to-do mistresses and their cooks at the turn of the century. A new introduction by Toni Tipton-Martin adds historical context to this neglected classic and offers a nuanced portrait of a unique and now-vanished culinary culture. She lives in Austin, TX.
Toni Tipton-Martin, past president of the Southern Foodways Alliance, is the coauthor of A Taste of Heritage: New African American Cuisine. She lives in Austin, Texas.
"Toni Tipton-Martin has shone a bright light on a neglected classic." - John T. Edge, Director, Southern Foodways Alliance"