6 out of 71.
That’s how many cookbooks by black authors I have. One more anxiously awaited.
71 books on one book shelf, so that’s not including the many others shelved, and shoehorned and dotted in other places around the house. Probably another hundred or so, so 6 out of say 200.
Now. This is not bad per se, it’s certainly not conscious bias. It’s made up of books bought for me by other people, presents and oh Lisa will like that book and my usual love of anything Mediterranean and Middle Eastern but I wonder…does it occur to my wonderful friends that buy me amazing things, that I like all kinds of cooking, and if it doesn’t, why not? It doesn’t make me a bad person, or my taste in books wrong, but it does make me question the vibes and messages I give out.
Questioning why that occurs is good. This is no breast beating moment, no “ohh I am so awful!” cry because that presents as both fake, horribly naive and moves the focus onto me. It’s not about me. It is about learning, however awkward it may make me feel.
Broadening my cooking repertoire is always good, it’s something I try to do. Widening my knowledge of techniques, of ingredients is exciting so searching my shelves and being surprised and then cross at how much was missing from them was a good thing, because I can buy more – and I have – but…those authors, those books, that history of cooking that stretches back centuries to the plains, valleys, mountains of Africa, through them on to the Caribbean, and on to the USA and across the cold pond to our tiny Britain that needs to be promoted far, far better than the largely Caucasian world of publishing has done so far. I want to see those authors raised up, their cuisines explored as much as possible, the origins of foods we eat now investigated and rejoiced in by the mainstream food world. Not just the familiar, the smiling yellow patty, and the soothing rice and peas, the spike and heat and zing of jerk, but way more, and more in depth. The unfamiliar needs to come right to the fore so it can become the familiar.
Mrs Malinda Russell: https://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015091768104
Edna Lewis – The Taste of Country Cooking
Sheila Ferguson: Soul Food https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/603329.Soul_Food
Marcus Samuelsson: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Marcus-Samuelsson/e/B001IGUO5Q/
Samin Nosrat also has many more listed – https://www.instagram.com/ciaosamin/