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High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America

Jessica B. Harris’s absorbing new book, “High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America” zeroes in on what she sees as the two divergent strands of African-American cooking. The first reveres homey staples like corn pone, fried chicken and chitterlings (a pig’s small intestines), and embraces those cooks who can, as she writes, “put a hurtin’ on a mess of greens.”

The second strand is aspirational and omnivorous. Historically, it includes recipes from, she says, “Big House cooks who prepared lavish banquets, caterers who created a culinary cooperative in Philadelphia in the 19th century, a legion of black hoteliers and culinary moguls and a growing black middle and upper class.”