Ms. Emeline Jones looks a cook to prepare a famous dinner every inch of her and they are a good many of those. – An Old Fashioned Cook
This week we talked about food as self-care. The process of feeding ourselves can nourish more than just our physical bodies. Feeding ourselves, especially with dishes passed down to us by our ancestors, can nourish our souls too. Brown girls cooking for self care is as old a tradition, with a richness in culture that is, as varied as Brown girls themselves.
As many of our readers know, we are also in the habit of honoring Black and Brown women with a legacy of life lived out loud. So of course, when we were considering content for this week, we wanted to find and center a woman of color who has fed us. Believe it or not, finding a famous woman chef of color was quite difficult, despite Black people having contributed so much to American cuisine. It was with this thought in mind that we went in search of the women who contributed to our country’s cuisine and we found Emeline Jones.
Described as, a “well-known NYC caterer,” Jones was offered positions to cook at the White House by Presidents Garfield, Arthur, and Cleveland which she refused. The originator of the “Saratoga chip” and famous for her Terrapin, Jones was an enslaved woman who became a house servant and finally moved onto a home of her own at 25. After being widowed at 27, she went on to cook in NYC clubs and become famous for her extravagant multi-course meals.
Emeline Jones was doing fancy cooking and marrying her traditionally southern cooking with local East Coast favorites to become a local East Coast Favorite in her own right.
We honor Emeline Jones because she represents a long tradition of cooking and feeding with love. We speak her name so that her legacy can live here in our pages as a Brown Girl who lived out loud through her cooking.