Malinda Russell was tired of being stolen from by white thugs. Her prosperous business had been ransacked by Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. She’d been robbed AGAIN as she and her disabled son fled North. She needed a way to protect them both!
Russell had become wealthy with her incredible baked goods and her diverse, high-end entrées. She was determined to find a way to keep white marauders from ruining her by generating an UNTOUCHABLE stream of income. How on Earth could she achieve this?
She wrote a cookbook! Unlike so many Black cooks, her work wouldn’t be stolen by white women, who poorly copied Black recipes and took all the money and the credit. But could a mere cookbook protect her against thieving racists AND poverty?
Yes. It even did more than that! Her cookbook was the first written by a Black woman, and it directly disproved the widely held belief that Black women were too stupid to bake and were best at preparing leftover scraps.
Russell’s innovative work disproved racist narratives about Black cooking. She continues to inspire today’s cooks and inform gourmet Southern cuisine. We must remember that our skills can impact our people for generations to come. Let’s keep being our excellent Black selves!