The Jemima Code
The idea of a “Jemima Code” came to Toni Tipton-Martin as she was researching the varied history of African-Americans working in America’s kitchens. She discovered that they were virtually invisible. The character, Aunt Jemima, was built on a myth that combined various characteristics of African-American women into one, larger-than-life, mammy culinary stereotype. This stereotype was used to shame and demoralize African-Americans and deny their culinary professionalism and expertise. With her book, The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African-American Cookbooks, and the traveling exhibition of monumental historic photographs of African-American women at work in and around southern kitchens, Tipton-Martin works to reclaim the knowledge, skills, and abilities these women demonstrated in their daily lives.