Abby, Abby Fisher, Cherry Bomb Magazine discussed on Encyclopedia Womannica
Hi, I'm Ku Damon, I'm a Florida born chef, writer, host, and recipe developer. I served as an executive chef of a New York City restaurant at the age of 24, and became cherry bomb magazine's first culinary director at 25. I've been named one of 16 chefs changing black food in America by The New York Times, and Forbes 30 under 30 in food and beverage. In 2021, I found it Kyiv is the people a budding mutual aid effort focusing on food apartheid in Brooklyn. I'll be your guest host for this month of manica. This month we're talking about taste makers, we're celebrating the black chefs, cooks and food historians who created new food ways and preserved important culinary stories of the past. Today we're talking about one of the first black American women to publish a cookbook. Her preserves, stews, cakes, and folk remedies offer a glimpse into southern food tradition and reminds us that black folks were often the ones establishing these culinary practices. Please welcome Abby Fisher. Not much is known about Abby's personal life. We do know that she was likely bored around 1832 in South Carolina to a black mother and a white French father. She was likely born in slave, though that's not confirmed. At some point, Abby moved from South Carolina to mobile, Alabama, where she met and married Alexander C Fisher. The couple would go on to have 11 children. Sometime in the late 1870s, the fishers moved California. There, Abby and Alexander set up a preserves business called misses Abby Fisher and co. Abby quickly gained notoriety as a skilled cook. An 1879 she won the highest award at the Sacramento state fair. A year later, she won two medals at the San Francisco mechanics institute fair. A bronze for best pickles and sauces and a silver for best assortment of jellies and preserves. Abby took her culinary success further, she wanted to create a written record of her recipes. She couldn't read or write, so she dictated to her friends who could. With their help, she immortalized her recipes on paper. In 1881, Abby's cookbook, what misses Fisher knows about old southern cooking was published. The cookbook begins with the preface and an apology. Abby revealed doubts about whether she could share her recipes without any formal education. But she did have over 35 years of quickening experience, and knew that sharing her food knowledge would have value for future generations. The preface reads this book will be found a complete instructor so that a child can understand it and learn the art of cooking. The recipes Abby shares range from briny shrimp salad with pickles to beefy okra gumbo to rich custardy sweet potato pie. Her cookbook exemplified a deep knowledge of southern black cooking tradition. And brought that knowledge to do audiences. One recipe she shared was for plantation cornbread or hoe cake. This dish was often made by enslaved people while out in the fields, using the flat side of a heated hoe, though Abby's recipes simply calls for a hot griddle. Elsewhere in the cookbook, I would describe her recipe for BlackBerry syrup as an old southern plantation recipe, common among black families. A few personal details about Abby's life can be gleaned through the pages of the cookbook. The last recipe in the book was for pap, a porridge like food served to babies. Alongside the recipe, Abby shared that she had given birth to 11 children and raised them all, and nursed them with this diet. At that time, raising 11 children without any infant death was a significant feat for any woman, let alone a black woman, most likely formerly enslaved woman. This detail is a testament to Abby's skill, not just as a cook, but a mother and caretaker. Little was known about.