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Edna Lewis, an American Original

Last updated on 21/01/2020

Beyond her successes as a chef, author and activist, Edna Lewis was a woman with many loving friends and family. To learn more about what Miss Edna was like on a personal level, Francis Lam talked with Lewis’s niece Nina Williams-Mbengue.

Sara B. Franklin is the editor of a wonderful collection of essays about the work, life and food of Edna Lewis. Francis Lam talked with Franklin about the lasting effect that Edna Lewis has had on the world of food, particularly how people view Southern cooking and cuisine.

Famed Southern chef Scott Peacock was a cherished collaborator and dear friend of the legendary Edna Lewis. Francis Lam talked with Peacock about what it was like to be in the kitchen with Miss Edna, and how her sense of observation, wonder and patience still guide his work today.

Edna Lewis grew up with and was influenced by such a particular version of Southern cuisine – that of central Virginia. To learn more about the region’s food, Francis Lam called on the culinary historian Jessica B. Harris.

Toni Tipton-Martin is the author of The Jemima Code, a book that analyzes the history of African-American cooking told through 200 years of black cookbooks.

Managing Producer Sally Swift talks with Elle Simone, food stylist and test cook for America’s Test Kitchen, about the Edna Lewis-inspired recipe for Chicken and Pastry, a hearty soup with a thick broth that contains bits of dumpling-like pastry.