When you hear “African American cooking,” you probably think about the standards:  soul food, gumbo, grits, black-eyed peas, collard greens, “lesser” cuts of meat made delicious with patience and just the right flavors. Well you’re sure to find those in this book.  As a matter of fact, there are no less than 5 recipes for collard greens.  Don’t ask me why it needs that many.

But the confusion really hit me when I went from the “traditional” section to “other favorites.”  Here I found recipes like cranberry salad, Chinese beef and broccoli, Italian eggplant parmagiana, Czechoslovakian cookies, duck a l’orange, corned beef and cabbage.  Now I understand that people eat a variety of foods, but this book is not called “Things African Americans Eat.”  I expected it to be at LEAST 80% culturally African American cuisine.

As for the layout, this is structure much like a typical community church fundraiser type of cookbook, and it is basically that. Different members of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania submitted recipes….which is why there are so many repeats of the same types of dishes.

All in all, the food portion of the book isn’t all that appealing, and I wish they had spent more time talking about the churches involvement in the Underground Railroad.  That seemed much more interesting to me.

Rating = 1

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