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Food is one of the most vital and beautiful things in life. Food is nourishment. Food is art. Food is generational, social, and cultural connection. This month in conjunction with our Black History Month celebrations, we invite you to check out cookbooks by Black authors, chefs, and bakers not only to inspire your kitchen muse, but also to connect with how food has shaped their lives and loves.

*CCPL Staff picks are chosen by CCPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We’d love to hear your ideas too, so write to us and tell us what you’d recommend!*

Afro-Vegan by Bryant Terry

A groundbreaking cookbook from beloved chef-activist Bryant Terry, drawing from African, Afro-Caribbean, and Southern food to create over 100 enticing vegan dishes. Rising star chef and food activist Bryant Terry is known for his simple, creative, and delicious vegan dishes inspired by African American cooking. In this landmark cookbook, he remixes foods of the African diaspora to create exciting and approachable recipes such as Corn Maque Choux-Stuffed Jamaican Patties with Hot Pepper Sauce, Berbere-Spiced Black-Eyed Pea Sliders, Crispy Teff-Grit Cakes with Eggplant, Tomatoes, and Peanuts, and Groundnut Stew with Winter Vegetables and Cornmeal Dumplings. He also explores key African ingredients that are popular in Caribbean and Southern dishes–like okra–tracing their history and giving them cultural context. Afro-Vegan will delight Bryant Terry fans; vegans looking for exciting new recipes; cooks interested in African, Afro-Caribbean, and Southern cuisine; and health- and eco-conscious eaters. – From Cosmos

Black Girl Baking: Wholesome Recipes Inspired by a Soulful Upbringing by Jerelle Guy

Growing up sensitive and slightly awkward in a race-conscious space, Guy decided early on that good food is the most powerful way to connect, understand, and heal. She leads readers on a sensual baking journey, using the fives senses, as she retells food memories with ingredients that involve whole flours, less refined sugar, and vegan alternatives. – From Cosmos

Carla Hall’s Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration by Carla Hall

A co-host of the Emmy Award-winning lifestyle show The Chew offers 145 recipes for classic soul food, including Black-Eyed Pea Salad With Hot Sauce Vinaigrette, Cracked Shrimp With Comeback Sauce and Sweet Potato Pudding With Clementines. Hall takes us back to her own Nashville roots to offer a fresh, lip-smackin’ look at America’s favorite comfort cuisine. She traces soul food’s history from Africa and the Caribbean to the American South and shows that, traditionally a plant-based cuisine, everyday soul food is full of veggie goodness. Offering distinctive Southern flavors using farm-fresh ingredients, the results are light, healthy, seasonal dishes with big, satisfying tastes. – From Cosmos

Grandbaby Cakes: Modern Recipes, Vintage Charm, Soulful Memories by Jocelyn Delk Adams

Since founding her popular recipe blog Grandbaby Cakes in 2012, Adams has been putting fresh twists on old favorites. Adams has earned praise from critics and the adoration of bakers both young and old for her easygoing advice, rich photography, and the heartwarming memories she shares of her family’s generations-old love of baking.

Grandbaby Cakes pairs charming stories of Big Mama’s kitchen with recipes ranging from classic standbys to exciting adventures–helpfully marked by degree of difficulty–that will inspire your own family for years to come. Adams creates sophisticated flavor combinations based on Big Mama’s gorgeous centerpiece cakes, giving each recipe something familiar mixed with something new. From pound cakes and layer cakes to sheet cakes and “baby” cakes (cupcakes and cakelettes), Grandbaby Cakes delivers fun, hip recipes perfect for any celebration. – From Goodreads

In Bibi’s Kitchen: The Recipes and Stories of Grandmothers from the Eight African Countries that Touch the Indian Ocean by Hawa Hassan with Julia Turshen

Grandmothers from eight eastern African countries welcome you into their kitchens to share flavorful recipes and stories of family, love, and tradition in this transporting cookbook-meets-travelogue.

Through Hawa’s writing—and her own personal story—the women, and the stories behind the recipes, come to life. With evocative photography shot on location by Khadija Farah, and food photography by Jennifer May, In Bibi’s Kitchen uses food to teach us all about families, war, loss, migration, refuge, and sanctuary. – From Penguin Random House

Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking by Toni Tipton-Martin

Throughout her career, Toni Tipton-Martin has shed new light on the history, breadth, and depth of African American cuisine. She’s introduced us to black cooks, some long forgotten, who established much of what’s considered to be our national cuisine. After all, if Thomas Jefferson introduced French haute cuisine to this country, who do you think actually cooked it?

In Jubilee, Tipton-Martin brings these masters into our kitchens. Through recipes and stories, we cook along with these pioneering figures, from enslaved chefs to middle- and upper-class writers and entrepreneurs. With more than 100 recipes, from classics such as Sweet Potato Biscuits, Seafood Gumbo, Buttermilk Fried Chicken, and Pecan Pie with Bourbon to lesser-known but even more decadent dishes like Bourbon & Apple Hot Toddies, Spoon Bread, and Baked Ham Glazed with Champagne, Jubilee presents techniques, ingredients, and dishes that show the roots of African American cooking—deeply beautiful, culturally diverse, fit for celebration. – From Penguin Random House

Life is What You Bake of It: Recipes, Stories, & Inspiration to Bake Your Way to the Top by Vallery Lomas

The first Black person to win The Great American Baking Show shares her story of personal growth and more than 100 delicious recipes. Popular baking personality and lawyer turned baker Vallery Lomas was ecstatic when she learned she won the third season of The Great American Baking Show. However, her win was never seen by the world–Vallery’s season was pulled after just a few episodes when one of the judges became a focal point in a Me Too accusation. Rather than throwing in her whisk and lamenting all of the missed opportunities she hoped to receive (Book deal! Product endorsements! TV show!), she held her head high and hustled–which resulted in her getting press coverage everywhere from CNN to People magazine.

Now, Vallery debuts her first baking book. With 100 recipes for everything from Apple Cider Fritters to Lemon-Honey Madeleines and Crawfish Hand Pies to her Grandma’s Million Dollar Cake. Vallery shares heirloom family recipes from her native Louisiana, time spent in Paris, The Great American Baking Show, and of course sweets and breads inspired by her adopted hometown, New York City. Vallery’s “when life gives you lemons, make lemon curd” philosophy will empower legions of bakers and fans to find their inner warrior and bake their best life. – From Cosmos

Son of a Southern Chef: Cook with Soul by Lazarus Lynch

Thousands of fans know Lazarus Lynch for his bold artistic sensibility, exciting take on soul food, and knockout fashion sense. Laz has always had Southern and Caribbean food on his mind and running through his veins; his mother is Guyanese, while his father was from Alabama and ran a popular soul food restaurant in Queens known for its Southern comfort favorites. He created “Son of a Southern Chef” on Instagram as a love letter to the family recipes and love of cooking he inherited.

In his debut cookbook, Laz offers up more than 100 recipe hits with new takes on classic dishes like Brown Butter Candy Yam Mash with Goat Cheese Brülée, Shrimp and Crazy Creamy Cheddar Grits, and Dulce de Leche Banana Pudding. Packed with splashy color photography that pops off the page, this cookbook blends fashion, food, and storytelling to get readers into the kitchen. It’s a Southern cookbook like you’ve never seen before. – Penguin Random House