Grandmothers and aunts across the country are getting ready to prepare their favorite holiday recipes that have been passed down for generations. Although they will probably say there’s no need to follow cookbooks or recipes exactly, sometimes you just need that added guidance or reassurance to ensure your meal will come out perfectly.
Cookbooks are also a great resource for those looking to expand their palate or add new twists to dishes you may have already perfected. With Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving, Christmas and more coming at us fast, we wanted to highlight a few books from popular Black chefs and authors that are excellent guides not only this holiday season, but anytime you’re in need of new ideas and cooking inspiration. Even if you’re vegan or dairy-free, there are cookbooks written just for you with spins on culturally-relevant dishes that you can still enjoy.
Here are some of the cookbooks from notable and highly-respected Black chefs and authors that we’re referencing for our holiday spreads.
Cooking from the Spirit by Tabitha Brown
Filled with tons of ‘Tabisms’ and stories from the “well, hello there” talent, this vegan and plant-based cookbook has everything from vegan potato salad to a jackfruit pot roast. And, well, we all know ‘Auntie’ Tab always throws down in the kitchen.
Bludso’s BBQ Cookbook by Kevin Bludso
Compton-born chef and Netflix personality Kevin Bludso features over 75 recipes for main meats such as fried turkey, BBQ lamb leg, spicy curried oxtails, plus sides including creole cabbage, pinto beans, and down home mac & cheese.
Comfort Kitchen by Carla Hall & Califia Farms
Carla Hall, a former co-host of The Chew, teamed up with her favorite dairy-free products brand to give us 16-recipes just in time for the holiday season. EBONY recently spoke with the chef about the new release, and she says the “chicken-fried” mushrooms with gravy should definitely be on your dinner table.
Southern Inspired by Chef Jernard Wells
Mississippi-raised chef Jernard Wells is giving is a glimpse into his Southern upbringing with this book over more than 100 mouth-watering recipes. The CLEO TV host raves about his sweet tea brine fried chicken, chunky buffalo cauliflower bites, as well as Granny Gwen’s banana pudding— dishes all found in his newly released cookbook.
Watermelon and Red Birds by Nicole A. Taylor
Watermelon and Red Birds is the very first cookbook to celebrate Juneteenth, from food writer and cookbook author Nicole A. Taylor. It features over 75 recipes, including drinks like Afro Egg Cream and Marigold Gin Sour, dishes like Beef Ribs with Fermented Harissa Sauce, Peach Jam and Molasses Glazed Chicken Thighs, as well as desserts.
Eat Plants B*tch by Pinky Cole
As the owner of the wildly popular Slutty Vegan franchise, Pinky Cole has certainly mastered creating mouth-watering plant-based dishes that even the non-vegan can enjoy. This cookbook has 91 easy-to-follow recipes for dishes like avocado egg rolls, a black pea cauliflower Po’Boy and oyster mushroom Parm.
Gullah Geechee Home Cooking by Emily Meggett
The joy of being able to stand beside the family elder as they walk you through some of their favorite dishes is indescribable. That’s the same feeling this New York Times bestseller and NPR ‘book of the year’ will bring. At 89 years old, and with more than 50 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Meggett is a respected elder in the Gullah community of South Carolina, and she’s now sharing her favorite Gullah dishes with the world.