Good Eats

good eats-01.jpg
good eats-01.jpg

Good Eats

from 300.00

Rufus Estes was born a slave, but, as a free man, cooked for American presidents, foreign dignitaries and celebrities.

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When the Civil War ended, Estes trained as a cook, ultimately becoming a railway chef for the Pullman Co., a prestigious position for a black man so soon after Emancipation.

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And in 1911, he self-published a book of his recipes—the earliest known cookbook by a black railway chef. Estes writes that it was at the suggestion of some of those he served, whom he calls his “sta[u]nchest friends,” that he published his cookbook of more than 600 recipes.

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There are few original copies of “Good Things to Eat, as Suggested by Rufus: A Collection of Practical Recipes for Preparing Meats, Game, Fowl, Fish, Puddings, Pastries, Etc.” However, it is preserved and available online.

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The book was reprinted in 1999 with 60 images not in the 1911 book, and again in 2004 with an incorrect subtitle: “The First Cookbook by an African-American Chef.”

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In the dining-car kitchen hierarchy, most chefs, or first cooks, were white; second, third, fourth cooks and so on were black. While advancement was nearly impossible for most railway employees, such as attendants and porters, it was a real prospect for cooks to advance.

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It seems that Estes broke the norms and advanced from attendant to chef.

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This is not to imply that kitchens were havens on the train. Cooks may have been spared the racist encounters with passengers that waiters and other workers endured, but railway kitchens exacted a physical toll; they required strength for heavy lifting and the stamina to withstand temperatures reaching over 100 degrees—”not too favorable conditions,” as Estes writes.

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Print Sizes

(S): 8.5x11 in
(M) 24x36 in
(L) 30x40 in
(XL) 60x40 in

Printed on High Quality Archival Metallic Paper

Hand signed and numbered.

Ships within 14 days of purchase 

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