Gratitude for Freda DeKnight

My grandmothers spoke of Freda DeKnight (1909-1963) as a “good friend who passed away too soon”. Granny and Gran both described DeKnight’s A Date with A Dish (1948) as a landmark, because they considered it an elegant reflection of our culture, “written by an educated, well-traveled Negro woman for other Negroes”.

Research for the book I’m currently writing about Freda Deknight (1909-1963) daily fills me with gratitude for the inspiring woman who wrote the cookbook I count as a favorite.

Herbert Temple, married to my dad’s first cousin, Athelstan, was a close friend. He was also a fellow Ebony magazine editor, who designed the proud “Little Black Chef” illustration that accompanied Deknight’s column and appeared in the cookbook. My mentor, Chef William Laurie, described “every flavorful bite–some of them surprising” the Ebony Food Editor served at her Southside apartment when she lived in Chicago. When he passed away in 2004, Mr. Lawrie added his journals and his copy of A Date with a Dish to my collection.