Family of the Spirit Cookbook: Recipes and Remembrances from African-American Kitchens

John Pinderhughes, Author, John Pinderhughes, Photographer Simon & Schuster $24.45 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-67510-3
What might have been an engaging blend of Studs Terkel-like oral history and Jeff Smith-like frugal cookery is instead a pastiche of familiar folk wisdom and uneven recipes that is closer kin to community church cooking than to full-blown culinary exploration. Many of the recipes collected here do convey a sense of the breadth of influences on African-American fare, especially evident in such dishes as curried goat, okra gumbo and stewed turkey necks. These also suggest a driving force behind the heritage--``to cook things that were sustenance and economical'' and ``to use everything.'' But many of the 11 cooks who reminisce and provide edibles are oddly unrevealing in their talk--``Life was hard, but I would say I had a really nice childhood''--and give us relatively little insight into their food traditions. Recipes of ``authentic'' dishes are undermined by such requirements as packaged cornbread mix. An introduction might have given the book a clearer focus; we leave it wanting more. Photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1990
Release date: 10/01/1990
Paperback - 978-1-56743-064-6
Hardcover - 978-1-56743-071-4
Hardcover - 978-0-7567-7121-8
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-06-095809-1
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