"PRECIOUS SOUVENIRS OF THE PAST… JUST AS THEY WERE INSCRIBED BY LOVING HANDS OF MOTHERS AND GRANDMOTHERS": FIRST EDITION OF MINNIE FOX'S BLUE GRASS COOK BOOK, 1904, WITH FRONTISPIECE AND 11 FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS FEATURING IMAGES OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN COOKS BY FAMED PHOTOGRAPHER ALVIN LANGDON COBURN
FOX, Minnie C., compiler, and COBURN, Alvin Langdon, photographer. The Blue Grass Cook Book. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Octavo, original blue-gray cloth. $1750.
First edition of Fox's classic tribute to African American influence in America's Southern kitchens—"attests to the rich contribution of African Americans to a storied cuisine"—featuring dozens of Blue Grass recipes, illustrated with a full-page image of corn dodgers and biscuits, and 11 full-page photographic images of African American cooks by acclaimed photographer Alvin Langdon Coburn.
This landmark Kentucky cookbook from the turn of the 20th century represents the first time African American cooks were explicitly credited with their contributions to Southern cuisine. "Many of these [recipes] must be veritable heirlooms, precious souvenirs of the past, the originals of which were in faded ink, just as they were inscribed by loving hands of mothers and grandmothers" (contemporary review, New York Times). "This century-old treasure of Southern cooking attests to the rich contribution of African Americans to a storied cuisine. Its author, Minnie Fox, and her author brother, who wrote the introduction, were probably the first Southern whites ever to acknowledge the role of black culinary genius" (Sidney W. Mintz). Poised at a crucial turning point in the history of photography, representing the "transition from pictorialism to modernism, from 19th- to 20th-century photography," the work of Alvin Langdon Coburn illuminates "the concern of the more advanced pictorialist with 'modern' subjects… a shift in attitude that triggered the final push towards photographic modernism" (Parr & Badger I:74). Cagle & Stafford 270. This copy notably contains a contemporary gift inscription dated "Dec 23, 1904," along with three wonderful handwritten recipes at the rear for "Rolled Oats Bread," Grandma's Baked Flour Pudding" and a "Custard Souffle."
Interior very fresh, faintest rubbing to bright cloth. A lovely about-fine copy.