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Bound to the Fire

How Virginia's Enslaved Cooks Helped Invent American Cuisine
Narrated by: Nancy Bober
Length: 5 hrs and 32 mins
Categories: History, American

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Publisher's Summary

Kelley Fanto Deetz draws upon archaeological evidence, cookbooks, plantation records, and folklore to present a nuanced study of the lives of enslaved plantation cooks from colonial times through emancipation and beyond. She reveals how these men and women were literally "bound to the fire" as they lived and worked in the sweltering, and often fetid, conditions of plantation house kitchens. These highly skilled cooks drew upon skills and ingredients brought with them from their African homelands to create complex, labor-intensive dishes such as oyster stew, gumbo, and fried fish. However, their white owners overwhelmingly received the credit for their creations. 

Focusing on enslaved cooks at Virginia plantations including Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and George Washington's Mount Vernon, Deetz restores these forgotten figures to their rightful place in American and Southern history. 

"A lively and insightful account of a still-largely-unfamiliar aspect of the history of American slavery." (Publishers Weekly)

"A great service of expanding the literature connecting African and African American foodways with those with which we are familiar." (H-Net Reviews)

"A fascinating account, illustrative of the invisibility of individuals whose work was central to the public performance of plantation culture." (Choice)

©2017 The University Press of Kentucky (P)2019 Redwood Audiobooks

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