Acclaimed artist Ntozake Shange offers this delightfully eclectic tribute to black cuisine as a food of life that reflects the spirit and history of a people. With recipes such as "Cousin Eddie's Shark with Breadfruit" and "Collard Greens to Bring You Money," Shange instructs us in the nuances of a cuisine born on the slave ships of the Middle Passage, spiced by the jazz of Duke Ellington, and shared by all members of the African Diaspora. Rich with personal memories and historical insight, If I Can Cook/You Know God Can is a vivid story of the migration of a people, and the cuisine that marks their living legacy and celebration of taste.
About the Author
Ntozake Shange (1948–2018), poet, novelist, playwright, and performer, wrote the Broadway–produced and Obie Award–winning For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf. She also wrote numerous works of fiction, including Sassafras, Cypress & Indigo, Betsey Brown, and Liliane.
“This book is the first one I recommend to all cooks to understand the soul of our food. . . . It’s as indispensable as hot sauce.” —Michael W. Twitty, author of The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South
“A rich, dense gumbo of food memories, history, recipes, and the special kind of magic that only Shange can create . . . I loved it the first time around; in this new version, it, like the rainbow, is more than enuf.” —Jessica B. Harris, author of My Soul Looks Back: A Memoir and High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America
“Listen. To sister Shange’s rainbow recipes of light and love. Listen. To the stirring of her pots and pans with food that fuels our movements and memories. Can’t wait for her to cook me up some of her magic so we can eat and laugh and be. Stay human.” —Sonia Sanchez, poet and activist
“Ntozake Shange has always been a salve. Her exploration of food as a conversation about ancestral logic, as story, as medicine, as road map, as celebration, and as reclamation is delicious.” —Dominique Christina, author of Anarcha Speaks
“An epic work of memoir, archive, cookbook, diasporic history, and culinary ethnography—this book is simply a remarkable gift.” —Morgan Parker, author of There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé
Praise for the first edition:
“Shange stirs and simmers the soul and moves the reader/eater/cook to rethink every morsel of Pan–African history, personal celebration, and global pain that enters our lives when we gather around her magical hearth to laugh, to cry—but most indispensably—to eat.” —Edwidge Danticat, author of The Farming of Bones
“Infused with a down-home feel and vernacular rhythms . . . this slim, lively book stimulates and elucidates, and is well worth chewing on.” —Luis H. Francia, The Village Voice
“This culinary memoir . . . is as valuable for its inspirational and factual nuggets as it is for its unusual recipes . . . . Soul-nourishing.” —Carmela Ciuraru, Entertainment Weekly
“A captivating collection of African-American food memories, meditations and recipes.” —Kathy Martin, Miami Herald
“Shange achieves . . . revolutionary splendor. She wraps history and legend and recipes and folklore around one big roti . . . makes a gumbo out of memories and laughter and recipes and black vernacular . . . throws spicy metaphors into recipes that have traveled from Africa and Brazil and the Caribbean and Brixton, England.” —American Visions
“A fervent, richly impassioned chronicle of African American experience.” —Booklist