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Gratitude for Freda DeKnight


Cookbook Connections

A Personal Side to Research

My grandmothers spoke of Freda DeKnight (1909-1963) as a “good friend who passed away too soon”. Granny and Gran both described DeKnight’s A Date with A Dish (1948) as a landmark, because they considered it an elegant reflection of our culture, “written by an educated, well-traveled Negro woman for other  Negroes”. 
Research for the book I’m currently writing about Freda Deknight (1909-1963) daily fills me with gratitude for the inspiring woman who wrote the cookbook I count as a favorite.
Herbert Temple, married to my dad’s first cousin, Athelstan, was a close friend. He was also a fellow Ebony magazine editor, who designed the proud “Little Black Chef” illustration that accompanied Deknight’s column and appeared in the cookbook. My mentor, Chef William Laurie, described “every flavorful bite–some of them surprising” the Ebony Food Editor served at her Southside apartment when she lived in Chicago. When he passed away in 2004, Mr. Lawrie added his journals and his copy of A Date with a Dish to my collection. 


A Tate of Our Cultural Elegance

 Sweet Potato Biscuit Sliders


 Create a platter of Sliders with these flaky Sweet Potato Biscuits filled with prepared (or purchased) salmon, barbecue brisket or  roasted vegetables. Bake the biscuits early in the day and store at room temperature in foil or food storage bags. When ready to serve, brush the biscuits lightly with olive oil or butter before layering them with homemade (or purchased) Roast Salmon/ Root Vegetables /BBQ Brisket or your choice of fillings.


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Why Skillet Diaries? We risk losing special family dishes forever each time a family cook passes away without leaving the secrets, tips, ingredients and special family stories behind.
~Donna Battle Pierce


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