Baking cornbread in a cast-iron skillet results in the ideal crispy crust enclosing a tender crumb. In this recipe, tender corn kernels provide additional texture. As with many recipes, how much sugar you like in your cornbread may depend on how your grandmother made it, so add more or less sugar to taste. Read the author's story behind this recipe: Skillet Diaries: A Cast-Iron Legacy
This is the macaroni and cheese recipe that would have been made in the kitchens at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. Jefferson first became familiar the creamy, cheesy baked dish of macaroni from his time in Paris and it was enslaved cooks, James Hemings, Peter Hemings, Edith Hern Fossett and Frances Gillette Hern, who prepared this favorite dish over the years. The popularization of this iconic American dish can be traced to Black cooks, like Peter Fossett (the freed son of Edith Hern Fossett), Rufus Estes and Freda De Knight, who helped spread the dish throughout the United States. Learn more about Macaroni and Cheese at Monticello.
This simple stew highlights two summer stars—tomatoes and okra—in a simple stew. Okra (known as gombo in much of West Africa) does especially well in a hot growing season. In this dish, it appears as both vegetable and thickener, as is typical of many of the continent's okra dishes. Serve it over brown rice.
A Dutch baby is a puffy pancake. Over the years, they have gained popularity as an alternative to standard breakfast fare and as a stand-in for dinner rolls. In this recipe, boiled and mashed sweet potatoes lightly scent the Dutch baby—you can also substitute mashed roasted sweet potatoes. This would be excellent served alongside hearty beans, vegetable soup or cooked leafy greens. Read the author's story behind this recipe: Pecans and Buttermilk in a Brooklyn Kitchen: My Food Journey from South to North