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What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Southern Cooking (1881)

by Abby Fisher

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773302,253 (4.17)1
This is a wonderful collection of one-hundred and sixty authentic and tasty recipes of the Old South. Originally published in 1881, it was the first African-American cookbook. Prior to Applewood's edition, it had been reprinted only once in a limited edition of one hundred copies.
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I attended a library talk that was mostly about who Abby Fisher (and her family, and her owners, and her friends...) were, how she got to the situation she did (earned her own freedom and that of her children), and how she got a cookbook published. It was interesting - but I was more interested in the book and its recipes, and went and found it on the Internet Archives. I am amused by how similar the recipes are, in style, to the medieval cookbooks I encounter in the SCA - ingredients, a general idea of amounts, and then a lot of "deal with it as normal" or "cook until done". It would take some work to make these recipes useful in a modern kitchen - among other things, they're usually huge amounts of food. But I'm definitely going to try. The baking recipes are interesting, and some of the meat ones give me some ideas (though I doubt I'll try to accurately reproduce them, a lot of them start with "take a cow/pig/chicken"...). The jams, too, though again the fruit is often measured in bushels. Glad I came across it, though, and I will try to cook from it. ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Mar 3, 2021 |
Karen Hess adds her weight to this edition. See the 1st ed in my collection. She was from South Carolina, moved to Mobile then other spots until landing in SF. ( )
  kitchengardenbooks | Mar 25, 2010 |
Soups, Pickles, Preserves, Etc. Awarded Two Medals at the San Francisco Mechanics' Institute Fair, 1880, for best Pickles and Sauces and best assortment of Jellies and Preserves. Diploma Awarded at Sacramento State Fair, 1879. Only 1000 copies printed. EXTREMELY rare in 1st ed. Interior fine, exterior faded & top edgewear. Glover 100. Strehl 5. Mrs. Fisher was from South Carolina and Mobile, Alabama. MSU Historic American Cook Book Project.

Another copy, Good only condition ($5000 at auction 9/2010). ( )
  kitchengardenbooks | Mar 24, 2007 |
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This is a wonderful collection of one-hundred and sixty authentic and tasty recipes of the Old South. Originally published in 1881, it was the first African-American cookbook. Prior to Applewood's edition, it had been reprinted only once in a limited edition of one hundred copies.

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