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Mrs. Amie Long's Interactive Menu
This interactive menu incorporates menu selections from Mrs. Amie Long’s boardinghouse advertisement featured in the Delaware County American. It uses this menu as the framework for a visualization that features recipes from two nineteenth-century African American cookbooks: Malinda Russell’s 1856 A Domestic Cookbook and Abby Fisher’s 1881 What Mrs. Fisher Knows about Southern Cooking. Malinda Russell was born free in Tennessee around 1820. As a young woman, she planned to immigrate to Liberia. However, her plans eventually fell through and she remained in Tennessee where she established a successful pastry shop. During the Civil War, Russell and her family fled to Michigan. Shortly after settling there she published her cookbook becoming the first Black woman in the United States to do so. Abby Fisher was born into slavery in South Carolina during the early 1830s. She and her family were eventually relocated to Alabama during the 1850s. After Emancipation, Fisher and her family moved to California where she established a well-known catering business and published her cookbook. Although these two stories are not directly linked to Mrs. Amie Long’s boardinghouse, they shed light on the different types of successful businesses operated by Black women throughout the nineteenth century. These sources are also particularly useful in shaping our understanding of food preparation and cooking practices. Click through the menu to learn more about the types of food Mrs. Amie Long served her customers.
Researched and written by Anna Lacy. Edited by Dr. P. Gabrielle Foreman.
Rafia Zafar, “Recipes for Respect: Black Hospitality Entrepreneurs Before World War I,” in African American Foodways: Explorations in History and Culture, edited by Anne L. Bower (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2007).
- What the Slaves Ate: Recollections of African American Foods and Foodways from the Slave Narratives, edited by Herbert C. Covey and Dwight Eisnach (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2009).
- Malinda Russell, A Domestic Cookbook: Containing a Careful Selection of Useful Receipts (Paw Paw, MI: T.O. Ward, 1856).
- Abby Fisher, What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Southern Cooking (San Francisco, CA: Women's Cooperative Printing Office, 1881).