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Family of the Spirit Cookbook

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The quintessential cookbook/family album by master home-chef and photographer John Pinderhughes serves up traditional African American cooking with a dash of the nouvelle. From his grandmother Gum Gum's Crab Cakes to his own Papaya Flame, to Redfish with Pecans, Pinderhughes features his favorite recipes by his favorite cooks, who include Verta Mae Grosvenor, author of Vibration Cooking, and Leah Chase, owner of the famous Dooky Chase restaurant, located in New Orleans and ...

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Overview

The quintessential cookbook/family album by master home-chef and photographer John Pinderhughes serves up traditional African American cooking with a dash of the nouvelle. From his grandmother Gum Gum's Crab Cakes to his own Papaya Flame, to Redfish with Pecans, Pinderhughes features his favorite recipes by his favorite cooks, who include Verta Mae Grosvenor, author of Vibration Cooking, and Leah Chase, owner of the famous Dooky Chase restaurant, located in New Orleans and author of the Dooky Chase Cookbook.

John Pinderhughes presents his family "in spirit" with their favorite recipes and fondest memories in this treasury of good eating. It captures the diversity of the African-American experience in its savory cooking and rich heritage of its oral tradition. There is something for everyone here, expert and beginner alike.

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Editorial Reviews

USA Weekend
...celebrates the savory and abundant roots of black cooking across USA through the talents of 11 home cooks.
Newsweek
Pinderhughes...triumphs. More than a cookbook, this is an affectionate album of portraits from African-American kitchens.
Essence
Each page of this cookbook-memoir yields another great recipe or reminiscence that reflects the diversity of our culture.
People
...with eats like these, this spirit is not just friendly, it's probably sated too.
New York Newsday
As good as this book is to read, it's even better to cook with.
Washington Post Book World
...fascinating and amusing commentaries...Thank you, Mr. Pinderhughes, for this delicious book.
Food & Wine
...embrace[s] the diversity of African-American cooking.
Nancy Harmon Jenkins
For lovers of African-American food, there is Family of the Spirit Cookbook. —New York Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
What might have been an engaging blend of Studs Terkel-like oral history and Jeff Smith-like frugal cookery is instead a pastiche of familiar folk wisdom and uneven recipes that is closer kin to community church cooking than to full-blown culinary exploration. Many of the recipes collected here do convey a sense of the breadth of influences on African-American fare, especially evident in such dishes as curried goat, okra gumbo and stewed turkey necks. These also suggest a driving force behind the heritage--``to cook things that were sustenance and economical'' and ``to use everything.'' But many of the 11 cooks who reminisce and provide edibles are oddly unrevealing in their talk--``Life was hard, but I would say I had a really nice childhood''--and give us relatively little insight into their food traditions. Recipes of ``authentic'' dishes are undermined by such requirements as packaged cornbread mix. An introduction might have given the book a clearer focus; we leave it wanting more. Photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Pinderhughes, a New York photographer, has collected recipes and memories from a dozen of his relatives and friends, who include Leah Chase, chef and author of The Dooky Chase Cookbook ( LJ 8/90) and Verta Mae Smart-Grosvenor, author of Vibration Cooking (Ballantine, 1986). But the contributions from these two women are among the more interesting in this undertaking; many of the dishes are standard Southern home cooking, and the recollections of most of the other contributors are just too personal to be of wide interest.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060958091
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/1/2001
  • Edition description: 1ST AMISTA
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 7.37 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

John Pinderhughes, an award-winning commerical and art photographer as well as a fabulous cook, lives in New York City.

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Read an Excerpt

I love to cook. It's like therapy for me, getting in the kitchen, not thinking or worrying about anything else, just cooking. It's great.

I started learning to cook when I was fairly young. My mother only had sons, so when she wanted some time off, we were expected to cook. She made sure both my brothers and I knew how to put something on the table for ourselves. We're not gourmet cooks, mind you, but we can put something on the table.

My true love for cooking began with my grandmother. I really adored her, and when I would be sent to stay with her in the summers, I'd always be right beside her in the kitchen, trying to help. And I did help -- just a little. I used to enjoy just anything she would let me do, any little job at all, such as peeling potatoes, trying to shuck oysters, picking tomatoes, or just sitting with her. I grew up liking the kitchen.

Pork Chops with Onion and Garlic Gravy

1lemon
8pork chops (1/2 inch thick)
salt, to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1teaspoon garlic powder
1cup vegetable oil
1cup flour
1/2teaspoon thyme
1/2teaspoon sage
4tablespoons butter
1medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups water
3cloves garlic, minced
1tablespoon minced parsley

Squeeze a little lemon juice over the chops. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Set aside for 30 minutes, allowing the meat to come to room temperature. Heat the oil in a large cast-iron skillet. Season the flour with salt, pepper, thyme, and sage. Dredge the chops in the flour and fry slowly 5 minutes per side or until golden brown and done. Set aside. Pour off some of the fat. Add the butter and turn up the flameslightly. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of the seasoned flour, stirring constantly to blend well. Add the water and simmer to thicken. Check for salt and pepper. When the gravy is done, add the garlic and parsley. Allow to sit for several minutes, then serve over the chops.

Serves 4

Mom D's Salad Dressing

1 cup olive oil
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 teaspoon paprika or curry powder
1/4 teaspoon thyme or basil
dash of cayenne pepper, or to taste

Place all ingredients in a bottle. Shake well to mix. Reshake before serving.

The Family of the Spirit Cookbook. Copyright © by John Pinderhughes. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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