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Chef Edna

Queen of Southern Cooking,

Edna Lewis



Cameron Kids

(Abrams Books for Young Readerr)

(pub.4.18.2023) 32 pages

Author: Melvina Noel

Illustrator: Cozbi A. Cabrera

Character: Edna Lewis


" Edna loved to cook. Growing up on a farm in Freetown, Virginia, she learned the value of fresh, local, seasonal food from her Mama Daisy, how to measure ingredients for biscuits using coins, and to listen closely to her cakes to know when they were done.

Edna carried these traditions with her all the way to New York, where she became a celebrated chef, who could even turn traditional French food into her signature Southern style. The author of several cookbooks and the recipient of numerous awards, Chef Edna introduced the world to the flavors of her home."

Tantalizing taste:

" Frying, roasting, stewing, baking. Roast chicken, filet mignon, fish, zucchini squash, green salad. Chocolate soufflé, caramel cake.

The restaurant was a smash. Edna peeped out from the kitchen to watch actors and editors, poets and playwrights, even a a First Lady enjoy her food. It reminded her of family dinners in Freetown. One diner would beg her to make her biscuits. Another asked her if she'd studied her craft in Paris. What was her secret?

Edna just smiled. Her Paris was Freetown, the flavors of home passed down from one generation to the next."

And something more: Melvina Noel in the Author's Note explains that "The Edna Lewis Foundation was created in January of 2012, six years after Edna passed away. Their mission statement is to 'revive, preserve, and celebrate the rich history of African American cookery by cultivating a deeper understanding of Southern food and culture in America.'"


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