In this Book

Cooking in Other Women’s Kitchens
summary
As African American women left the plantation economy behind, many entered domestic service in southern cities and towns. Cooking was one of the primary jobs they performed, feeding generations of white families and, in the process, profoundly shaping southern foodways and culture. Rebecca Sharpless argues that, in the face of discrimination, long workdays, and low wages, African American cooks worked to assert measures of control over their own lives. As employment opportunities expanded in the twentieth century, most African American women chose to leave cooking for more lucrative and less oppressive manufacturing, clerical, or professional positions. Through letters, autobiography, and oral history, Sharpless evokes African American women's voices from slavery to the open economy, examining their lives at work and at home.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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  1. Contents
  2. p. vii
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  1. Illustrations
  2. p. ix
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  1. PREFACE
  2. pp. xi-xxix
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  1. INTRODUCTION
  2. pp. 1-10
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  1. 1 I Done Decided I’d Get Me a Cook Job: Becoming a Cook
  2. pp. 11-32
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  1. 2 From Collards to Puff Pastry: The Food
  2. pp. 33-64
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  1. 3 Long Hours and Little Pay: Compensation and Workers’ Resistance
  2. pp. 65-88
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  1. 4 Creating a Homeplace: Shelter, Food, Clothing, and a Little Fun
  2. pp. 89-108
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  1. 5 Mama Leaps off the Pancake Box: Cooks and Their Families
  2. pp. 109-128
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  1. 6 Gendering Jim Crow: Relationships with Employers
  2. pp. 129-172
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  1. 7 If I Ever Catch You in a White Woman’s Kitchen, I’ll Kill You: Expanding Opportunities and the Decline of Domestic Work
  2. pp. 173-182
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. 183-184
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  1. Appendix: Cook’s Wages, 1901–1960
  2. pp. 185-188
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 189-236
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 237-262
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 263-273
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