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If I Can Cook/You Know God Can: African American Food Memories, Meditations, and Recipes
Ntozake Shange


An expanded edition of a celebrated book that travels throughout the African diaspora to savor the timeless joy of black cuisine and culture. 

A hidden gem by the author of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf, Some Sing, Some Cry, Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo, and Betsey Brown, a delightfully eclectic tribute to black cuisine as a food of life that reflects the spirit and history of a people. This edition, with delectable illustrations, features additional recipes--including two vegan dishes--that connect the culinary past to the present and welcomes a new generation of readers. 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 generations across the African diaspora. Rich with personal memories and historical insight, If I Can Cook/You Know God Can is a timeless story of the migration of a people and the cuisine that marks their living legacy and celebration of taste.


Ntozake Shange (1948-2018) was a renowned playwright, poet, and novelist. Her works include the Tony Award-nominated and Obie Award-winning for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf, as well as Some Sing, Some Cry (written with her sister Ifa Bayeza), Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigoand Liliane.

Among her honors and awards are fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund and a Pushcart Prize. She was a graduate of Barnard and recipient of a Masters in American Studies from University of Southern California.


"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

Beacon Press  /  January 29, 2019

0.5" H x 8.4" L x 5.4" W (0.45 lbs) 140 pages