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OP: The Taste of Country Cooking (signed)

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by Edna Lewis

One of the most recognized figures of modern American cooking, Edna Lewis (1916–2006) played a major role in establishing the view that the rural southern Black cooking with which she grew up was not just a local phenomenon but a strongly rooted tradition that had much to offer to the nation as a whole. 

Born in rural Virginia in a community that her formerly enslaved grandfather had helped found, Lewis later became a celebrated New York City restaurant chef, co-owning and cooking at New York’s celebrated Café Nicolson until the late 1950s and, later, cooking at Brooklyn’s Gage and Tollner. 

Her first cookbook, The Edna Lewis Cookbook (1972), favors her professional training with occasional hints at her southern roots, but it was The Taste of Country Cooking (1976) that truly gave a presence to greens, corn pone, and pork cracklings, making her most lasting contribution to American culinary heritage.

Here she returns to the food and culinary philosophy of her childhood. "Over the years since I left home and lived in different cities," Lewis wrote, "I have kept thinking about the people that I grew up with and about our way of life. Whenever I go back to visit my sisters and brothers, we relive old times, remembering the past. And when we share again in gathering wild strawberries, canning, rendering lard, finding walnuts, picking persimmons, making fruitcake, I realize how much the bond that held us had to do with food." 

Throughout The Taste of Country Cooking, even as Lewis is providing recipes for sausage cakes, crusty yeast bread, green peas in cream, and braised leg of mutton, she weaves in stories of the people from whom she learned to cook and the events like hog killing time, Christmas, and Revival Week that inevitably led to community gatherings. It's a compelling account of a way of life—we know many people who own the book simply to read it—that is hard to envision most Americans embracing today. 

It is our true honor to offer a signed 1987 11th printing of this classic. Our copy is in Near Fine condition with a very good price clipped dust jacket. The jacket shows moderate wear and a small closed tear on the top edge. Though the book remains in print today, we know of no other signed copies on the market.

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