The Jemima Code

The Jemima Code

Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks

James Beard Award Winner! This book is first of its kind, exploring more than 150 rare and important black cookbooks, the author honors culture, culinary, and nutritional history by those who nourished generations of Americans. Written by the first black food writer for a major newspaper—Cleveland Plain Dealer. Some early voices on eating for good nutrition were family cooks and others were trained nutrition or culinary professionals.


This historical book shows the evolutionary changes that black cooks had to go through to show their contributions to the culinary profession. It demonstrates how black cooks, chefs, and cookbook authors had to navigate negative stereotypes and overcome them to preserve their cultural legacy and identity… A quote from the author sums up why this is long overdue recognition for blacks in the culinary profession, “Their writings stand in for experiences of thousands of remarkable unnamed men and women who did not let the limitations society placed upon them determine the outcomes of their lives.” - Denine Rogers, MS, RDN, LD, FAND, Past Chair of NOBIDAN (National Organization of Blacks in Dietetics and Nutrition), Volunteer Master Gardener of Georgia, Integrative & Functional Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Owner of Living Healthy 

Valuable reference addition to my library. It was an enjoyable read. I liked the chronological format and the thoughtful way the historic climate was incorporated into the summaries of each cookbook. – Karen Patterson  1/22

The content of this book made me more aware of how a food choice/recipe defines one’s cultural identity. Therefore, I cannot assume a client/student will follow my suggestions without a desire to see food as it fits in their cultural acceptance. – Shirley Heichel 4/22    

Through pictures, [a few] recipes, and narrative, the author explains the blending of cultures to create a large portion of our uniquely American menu… I’m not done with the book yet –I’m taking my time because every page is a pleasure. - Amazon, 2019

Toni Tipton-Martin
Course Expiration Date: Apr-16-2027
Course Performance Indicators: 1.7.1, 1.7.2, 1.7.4, 1.8.5, 9.4.2, 13.2.6
Product Name

Book Only (2330)

Regular price $40.00 $40.00

15 CE Online Test Only (W2331)

Regular price $120.00

15 CE Book & Online Test (W2332)

Regular price $155.00

Book Details

Author Toni Tipton-Martin
Year Published 2015
Edition 1st Edition
Publisher University of Texas Press
ISBN 978-0292745483
Format Hardback
Page Count 264
CDR Activity Numbers
  • 15 CE Online Test Only: 182687
  • 15 CE Book & Online Test: 182687

Course Objectives

Level 1 & 2 CPE

CPE Type: 740 for Web-based/Online Tests

Upon successful completion, the users will be able to:

1. Discuss four significant contributions of the early history of cookbooks written by black authors.

2. Contrast the styles of cooking or ingredients in: classic Southern, “Soul,” Creole, African American, and Cajun recipes. 

3. Describe how the perception of African American cooks and chefs has evolved over the last two centuries. 

4. Describe: spoon bread, pot likker, calas, the “Holy Trinity,” gumbo, and berbere.

5. Explain the historical significance of using food as an activist’s tool in the 1950’s.

6. Discuss at least five unique cultural practices from African American heritage. 

Recommended For...

Registered Dietitian (RD/RDN)
Dietetics Technician Registered (DTR/NDTR)
Integrative & Functional Nutrition Academy Professional
American College of Sports Medicine

Why We Chose This Book

We wanted a book with top credentials in history, cultural, and culinary topics that also  emphasized food created and enjoyed by a large group of Americans. Our desire was for dietetics practitioners to become more competent in counseling, writing menus, and adapting nutrition guidelines for members of that group.

About the Author

Toni Tipton-Martin was the first African American food editor of a major daily newspaper—the Cleveland Plain Dealer. She is a culinary journalist and book author. Her collection of more than 300 African American cookbooks was exhibited at the James Beard House.