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Deetz’s Bound to the Fire named among Smithsonian’s best books about food

Kelley Deetz

Kelley Deetz

The Smithsonian has named Kelley Deetz’s book, Bound to the Fire: How Virginia’s Enslaved Cooks Helped Invent American Cuisine, as one of its 10 Best Books About Food of 2017. Deetz is a Randolph visiting sociology professor.

Bound to the Fire draws upon archaeological evidence, cookbooks, plantation records, and folklore to present a nuanced study of the lives of enslaved plantation cooks from colonial times through emancipation and beyond. Deetz reveals how these men and women were literally “bound to the fire” as they lived and worked in the sweltering and often fetid conditions of plantation house kitchens. The book focuses on enslaved cooks at Virginia plantations, including Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

In addition to this latest honor, Deetz’s article, “The Bones of Nat Turner: Reclaiming an American Rebel,” was published as the cover story for an issue of National Geographic History earlier this year.

See the complete list of the Smithsonian’s 10 Best Books About Food of 2017 at https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/ten-best-books-about-food-2017-180967285/.



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