Celebrating International Black Women’s History Month and Southern Cooking with Recipes from the “Grande Dame of Southern Cooking”
April is a month of many things – including International Black Women’s History Month. In honor of this important month, we are paying tribute to admired chef and cookbook author Edna Lewis – a woman with a remarkable life story who has been referred to as the South’s answer to Julia Child and widely regarded as the person who put Southern cooking on the map in the 20th century.
Known as the “Grande Dame of Southern Cooking” and for teaching the American public to appreciate Southern meals in a new way, Edna Lewis was among the first African American women from the South to pen a cookbook that did not hide the author’s true name, gender or race, according to the National Women’s History Museum. She spent more than 75 years in the culinary world, where she was hailed as an esteemed chef in many popular restaurants. In addition, she published three highly acclaimed cookbooks and won multiple James Beard awards. The granddaughter of an emancipated slave, Edna rose to prominence cooking for celebrities, including Marlon Brando, Marlene Dietrich, Tennessee Williams, Greta Garbo, Howard Hughes, Salvador Dali, Eleanor Roosevelt and Truman Capote. She has also been immortalized by the United States Postal Service on a Forever stamp.