Princess Pamela’s Soul Food Cookbook

“There ain’t a thing I do, / a person I know, / a dish I cook, / couldn’t be made / a mite better. That’s / no reason / not to love it / for the best that it is / right now.”

Not just recipes, but full of wisdom about cooking and life.

In the Introduction of the 2017 edition, it points out that any seasonings indicated in the recipes beyond salt, fat and sugar can probably be quadrupled to be right. They were probably revised downward to reflect the bland 1960s New York palettes of the audience of that time. I tried Turnip Greens ‘n Corn Dumplings with some changes, such as yogurt for sour milk, and enjoyed the result.

Originally discovered this cookbook from the article below:

“But in The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks (2015), food historian Toni Tipton-Martin argues that Princess Pamela’s cookbook positions itself as a ‘clever retort to scientific cooking’ that could characterize so much of cookbook writing of the era, especially the kind that got published by predominantly white authors. Tipton-Martin provides a useful framework: Princess Pamela’s Soul Food Cookbook isn’t a manual so much as it’s a highly organized diary of her culinary knowhow. Numerous notes in the margins of the book’s reissue, inserted with asterisks by the Lee brothers, fill in the gaps that her original instructions invite.

She prefaces each chapter with a sort of evocative, lush canto; each poem is a time machine. Some read like proverbs: ‘You play ‘possum with that man and you end up cookin’ it for him,’ she writes before a recipe for roast opossum with sweet potatoes. Others attack the dazed, uninformed ignorance of soul food that surrounded her in New York City: ‘Practically every kind of people eat somethin’ that somebody else make a godawful face at,’ she opens her entry on tripe. ‘If that don’t tellya what this race-hatin’ is all about, nuthin’ will.'”

—Mayukh Sen. “She Was a Soul Food Sensation. Then, 19 Years Ago, She Disappeared.” Food52.com. February 2, 2017.

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