Toni Tipton-Martin is an acclaimed food writer and the author of The Jemima Code, a book that presents the history of African-American cooking told through 200 years of black cookbooks. It paints a picture of a cuisine that’s more diverse, technical, and sophisticated than the stereotypes of black food. For our tribute episode Edna Lewis, an American Original, Francis Lam wanted to talk to Tipton-Martin about her personal connection to Edna Lewis, and the inspiration and encouragement she received directly from the legendary writer.

"We get stuck sometimes in making physical observations, but I have to say that given the work that I've been doing and how it started in my desire to find an alternative view of African-American women in the food world, I don't guess I can escape the fact that what she looked like made a huge impression on me. Because she was so contrary to the stereotype myth of an Aunt Jemima mammy character as being the representation of an African-American woman in the kitchen. And my goal with all of my work is to use African-American cooks as an example of people who have been disparaged and spoken about prejudiciously, and they have so much that they can offer and share."

- Toni Tipton-Martin on her first time meeting Edna Lewis


Francis Lam

Francis Lam is the host of The Splendid Table. He is the former Eat columnist for The New York Times Magazine and is Editor-at-Large at Clarkson Potter. He graduated first in his class at the Culinary Institute of America and has written for numerous publications. Lam lives with his family in New York City.