African American News and Genealogy

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Chef Drew on Family's History in Reviving Southern Cuisine

By Mary Rourke, Times Staff Writer Edna Lewis, who helped launch a revival of Southern regional cooking with her four books, particularly "The Taste of Country Cooking," died Monday. She was 89.Lewis died of natural causes in her sleep at her home in Decatur, Ga., Scott Peacock, a longtime friend and Lewis' housemate in recent years, told The Times. She had been in failing health for several years and suffered from dementia. The granddaughter of freed slaves in Freetown, a Virginia farming community, Lewis had an eclectic career working as a restaurant chef, a pheasant farmer and a cooking teacher, among other things. But her cookbooks brought her national recognition. Along with "The Taste of Country Cooking" in 1976, she wrote "The Edna Lewis Cookbook" in 1972 and "In Pursuit of Flavor" in 1988. She and Peacock wrote "The Gift of Southern Cooking" in 2003."Edna was a very important voice for her knowledge of Virginia-style Southern food and cooking," Judith Jones, Lewis' editor at Alfred A. Knopf publishers, told The Times in 2003. "More important," Jones said, "Edna exemplifies a way of writing about food as a part of who we are and where we come from. It is food writing as memoir."Some food experts referred to Lewis as the leading African American female chef. Others placed her as the dean of all Southern cooking. Full Story:,0,5352436.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-california


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