A woman named Abby Fisher, a former slave from South Carolina, is the author of the first published African American cookbook. Born in 1832, Abby Fisher was freed after the Civil War. After she and her family moved to San Francisco, she entered her food in cooking competitions. Her recipes, especially pickles, jellies and preserves, would become an instant success with friends and the upper class. She would be known around town as “Mrs. Abby Fisher, Pickle Manufacturer.”
Mrs. Abby’s recipes were featured in local competitions. In 1879, she was awarded a “diploma” at the Sacramento State Fair and a year later, she won two medals at the San Francisco Mechanics’ Institute. Her recipes included those like Sweet Watermelon Rind Pickle, Jumble Cake, Green Turtle Soup and Hoe cake. It is also believed that Fisher was the first to present the recipe for fried chicken and waffles.