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Rafia Zafar's 'Recipes For Respect' Explodes Stereotypes, Illumines History Of African American Food

Rafia Zafar is the author of "Recipes for Respect: African American Meals and Meaning." Her teaching and research at Washington University focuses on literary, culture and food studies.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

“When is a cookbook more than a set of instructions? And how might a meal rewrite history?”

These two questions frame Washington University scholar Rafia Zafar’s exploration of the rich history of African American food and dining in her new book “Recipes For Respect: African American Meals and Meaning.” In it, Zafar leads readers to a deeper understanding of the authors and chefs whose lives and contributions she brings to the fore.

She offers insights on figures ranging from the enigmatic St. Louis mixologist Tom Bullock, to well-known figures such as George Washington Carver, to black women authors of cookbooks and novels that speak to the struggle of the 1960s as well as the preparation and centrality of food.

Zafar, who is a professor of English, African and African American studies, and American culture studies, joined St. Louis on the Air producer Evie Hemphill this week to talk about the ways in which food can be studied as “a field of action.”

Listen to the conversation:

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What: University Libraries Faculty Book Talk
When: 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 18, 2019
Where: John M. Olin Library, Room 142 (1 Brookings Dr., St. Louis, MO 63130)

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When: 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 22, 2019
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St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. "St. Louis on the Air" producers Alex Heuer, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Jon Lewis give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

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Evie was a producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.
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