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Roots, Heart, Soul: The Story, Celebration, and Recipes of Afro Cuisine in America

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by Todd Richards and Amy Paige Condon
Regular price $35.00

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Atlanta chef Todd Richards traces the history of African food’s influence on the cuisine of North America. 

Beginning with dishes from West Africa which arrived with enslaved people through the years of the Middle Passage, Richards profiles African influences in the Caribbean, Mexico, and the United States. He also looks at the migration of Black Americans and their cooking within the country, from westward settlement following the Civil War to the Great Migration north in the twentieth century.

Richards’ headnotes are not always rigorously historical. He’s more interested in demonstrating enduring influence and relevance than parsing the finest points of transmission. But it’s still fascinating to learn about the various permutations of jerk (is it a sauce? a technique?), the essential importance of black farmers in rice cultivation, and the ongoing intersection of black cooks with the cuisines of other ethnic groups.

Richards is a restaurant chef and his recipes are ambitious. If a dish calls for ham hock jelly, he offers you that recipe too. His profiles of cooks he encountered in his research are generous, happily sharing the spotlight with people who shared their experience with him.

In all Roots, Heart, Soul is similarly meticulous and inclusive.

Hardcover. Color photographs throughout.

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