Connect with us

Community

Edna Lewis: Humanizing the Black Chef

In 1948, female chefs were few and far between; black female chefs were almost nonexistent. But that didn’t stop Lewis from partnering with John Nicholson, an “antique dealer and bohemian with a taste for high society,” to open her own restaurant. It was called Café Nicholson. Located on East 57th Street in Manhattan, the café quickly became legendary.

Published

on

For decades, chefs, food critics, and writers neglected Southern cooking. Stereotypes dehumanizing chefs remain an echo in black culture today, from Aunt Jemima, the so-called happy servant on the syrup bottle to the promise of black servitude flooding TV commercials targeted at white American travelers to the fictional character Uncle Ben, created to sell rice to those in black communities. But Edna Lewis (1916–2006) was real and a giant in the culinary world.
Lewis was born on her grandfather’s farm in the rural community of Freetown, Va., a town founded in the late 19th century by three formerly enslaved people. One was Lewis’ grandfather. He also started the first school in Freetown, holding classes in his living room.
Despite not having modern conveniences, Lewis learned to cook early on. Most of her cooking lessons were taught by her aunt, Jenny. The two would prepare food using a wood-fire stove. Without fancy spoons or scales, they used coins and measured seasonings the old-fashioned Southern way: piling baking powder on pennies, salt on dimes, and baking soda on nickels. It has been said that Lewis could tell when a cake was done “just by listening to the sound it was making.”
Lewis left home after the death of her father; she was 16 at the time. She first relocated to Washington, D.C. and later to New York City. There she took on jobs as a presser in a Laundromat and at the Daily Worker, a local newspaper. She took part in political demonstrations and campaigned for Franklin D. Roosevelt. But what Lewis didn’t know was that her cooking was about to make her a local legend in The Big Apple.
In 1948, female chefs were few and far between; black female chefs were almost nonexistent. But that didn’t stop Lewis from partnering with John Nicholson, an “antique dealer and bohemian with a taste for high society,” to open her own restaurant. It was called Café Nicholson. Located on East 57th Street in Manhattan, the café quickly became legendary.
Lewis did all the cooking. Her simple Southern dishes, the ones she learned to prepare on a wood-fire stove, attracted a crowd of famous faces: Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Richard Avedon, Gloria Vanderbilt, Marlene Dietrich, and Diana Vreeland. Business was great and Lewis was making a name in the culinary world.
Lewis stayed with the restaurant until 1954. Café Nicholson was sold years later to Chef Patrick Woodside.
In the late sixties, Lewis broke her leg and took a hiatus from cooking professionally. It was then that she began to compile some of her recipes. The result: the Edna Lewis Cookbook. In 1976 she wrote The Taste of Country Cooking, which became was one of the first cookbooks penned by an African-American woman to reach a nationwide audience.
Lewis’ teaching and cookbooks have influenced and inspired countless young chefs. She retired as a chef in 1992.

Source: https://www.thespruceeats.com/edna-lewis-1664995
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edna_Lewis
https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/edna-lewis
Image: https://www.eater.com/2017/1/7/14200170/edna-lewis-cookbook-bestseller-top-chef

Activism

California-Hawaii NAACP Conference Sues Sec. of State Shirley Weber 

The Elections Code provides for a 20-day period to review the ballot materials and file any legal challenges. Because all legal challenges to ballot materials for the November 8, 2022, statewide general election must be completed by August 15, 2022, the lawsuit was filed on August 1.

Published

on

Rick Callender, California-Hawaii conference president of the NAACP, and Shirley Weber, California Secretary of State.
Rick Callender, California-Hawaii conference president of the NAACP, and Shirley Weber, California Secretary of State.

By Edward Henderson, California Black Media

The California – Hawaii State Conference National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (“NAACP”) NAACP and Conference President Rick Callender have taken legal action against California Secretary of State Shirley Weber asking that a statement included in the Argument Against Proposition 26 in the ballot pamphlet for the Nov. 8, 2022, statewide general election be removed.

Prop 26 would permit federally recognized Native American tribes to operate dice games, roulette and sports wagering on tribal lands. On-site wagering at privately operated horse-racing tracks in four specified counties for betters 21 years or older would become legal as well. The proposition also imposes a 10% tax on sports-wagering profits at horse-racing tracks and directs portion of revenues to enforcement and problem-gambling programs.

The lawsuit is challenging a statement from the “No on Prop 26” opposition using a quote from Minnie Hadley-Hempstead, former president of the NAACP’s Los Angeles branch. Hadley-Hempstead’s opposition statement read as follows:

“‘We oppose Prop 26 to protect young people from developing lifelong gambling addictions that often lead to ruined finances, relationships, even homelessness and crime.’ Minnie Hadley-Hempstead, retired teacher and President Emeritus of the Los Angeles NAACP Branch.”

The lawsuit claims the quote gives “the false and misleading impression” that the NAACP opposes Prop 26. The NAACP endorsed Prop 26 in February 2022. In addition, the Los Angeles branch of the NAACP has not endorsed the No on Prop 26 campaign. The NAACP bylaws prohibit local branches from taking positions contrary to the state branch. The lawsuit also raises concern about how the quote was obtained.

“The NAACP is proud to stand with Indian Tribes in strong support of Prop 26 to help further Indian self-reliance,” Callender said in a statement given to California Black Media (CBM). “We are outraged that the card room casinos and their No on 26 campaign would deceptively use the NAACP name in its arguments despite our strong support. We are suing to have these dishonest statements removed from the ballot arguments so it does not mislead voters.”

Callender’s lawsuit further points out that the position ‘President Emeritus’ does not exist within the NAACP and the only branch that can clear use of the trademarked term NAACP in support or opposition of any legislation is the state branch of the organization.

A declaration in support of the lawsuit from Hadley-Hemp. stead describes how she believes she was misled or misunderstood when she was asked to give the statement by Betty Williams, former President of the Sacramento Chapter of the NAACP.

Hadley-Hempstead declared that she was under the impression that Williams still worked for the state branch and believed that her statement against Prop 26 was in solidarity with Callender and the position of the state branch.

In her declaration, Hadley-Hempstead says “If I had known that Ms. Williams wasn’t working on behalf of NAACP, I would have said no right away…… As a long-time NAACP member, I would not agree to lend my name to a public document that took a contrary position to the official NAACP position and would not knowingly violate the NAACP’s bylaws.”

“The card room casino operators responsible for the deceptive No on 26 campaign have a well-documented and deplorable track record of flouting the law,” Callender told CBM. “They’ve been fined millions for violating anti money-laundering laws, misleading regulators, and even illegal gambling. We are suing to prevent their misleading statements from appearing in the voter information guide sent to tens of millions of voters.”

The Elections Code provides for a 20-day period to review the ballot materials and file any legal challenges. Because all legal challenges to ballot materials for the November 8, 2022, statewide general election must be completed by August 15, 2022, the lawsuit was filed on August 1.

Continue Reading

Commentary

COMMENTARY: Can You Name the Chief Justice of California’s Supreme Court? Get to Know Tani Cantil-Sakauye Before She Steps Down

If a judge’s job is to stay above it all and concentrate on the work at hand, then the fact that the chief justice of California’s State Supreme Court, Tani Cantil-Sakauye, is not exactly a household name testifies to her ability to have done her job exceedingly well — impartially. With hardly an objection. Without making the news.

Published

on

Chief justice of California’s State Supreme Court, Tani Cantil-Sakauye. (Photo: California Courts Newsroom)
Chief justice of California’s State Supreme Court, Tani Cantil-Sakauye. (Photo: California Courts Newsroom)

By Emil Guillermo

For the last 12 years, the chief justice of California’s State Supreme Court has been Tani Cantil-Sakauye, a history-making Filipino American, the first person of color and the second female ever to hold the position.

Of course, you can say her name, but just in case, here’s a pronouncer: Con-TEEL-Saw-ka-OO-yay.)

If a judge’s job is to stay above it all and concentrate on the work at hand, then the fact that Cantil-Sakauye is not exactly a household name testifies to her ability to have done her job exceedingly well — impartially. With hardly an objection. Without making the news.

That’s why I was shocked to hear Cantil-Sakauye’s announced her retirement on July 27 at age 62.

Cantil-Sakauye described the reaction from colleagues about news of her departure as “moans and groans and exclamations of concern and dismay and congratulations.”

But just marvel at what she’s left us. A state judicial environment where consensus is enabled in the pursuit of fairness under the rule of law.

Instead of a fragmented court constantly drawn into issues of rancor and division, California’s high court has been collegial and focused on its job. It’s a court that in Cantil-Sakauye’s words is now “solid and sustainable.” And perhaps that is the reason she has set a retirement date of January 1.

Appointed by then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, Cantil-Sakauye took her oath in 2011.

She’s guided the court system as its top administrator through budget cuts to budget surpluses, through COVID-19 shutdowns to ideological stagnation.

Once seen as a stodgy conservative bunch, with Cantil-Sakauye at the helm the high court has evolved into an institution shaped by Governor Newsom and his predecessor Jerry Brown, both Democrats.

People forget that Cantil-Sakauye was a Republican who worked her way up in her hometown of Sacramento, from a county prosecutor to cabinet positions under Republican Gov. George Deukmejian. She was a state appellate judge before her appointment to the state’s high court.

She garnered national attention in 2017 when she criticized federal agents for arresting immigrants in California’s state courthouses. Cantil-Sakauye saw it as eroding trust in the state courts and called it “stalking.”

Later in December 2018, she left the Republican Party after watching the Senate hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh and registered as an independent.

It’s hard to imagine Cantil-Sakauye is done in January when she’ll be just 63.

Biden and Feinstein think that 63 is the infancy of a career in elected politics.

But politics would be a natural thing for Cantil-Sakauye, whose inspiring origin story has voter appeal.

Consider how her Filipino-Portuguese father, Clarence Cantil, worked the pineapple plantations before coming to California. Her mother, Mary Gorre, a Filipina, was a migrant worker who followed the crops. Cantil-Sakauye grew up humbly and has said publicly that she remembers her mother’s savings guiding her principles about hard work being rewarded and providing the opportunities in the American Dream.

More dominant were phrases like, “There for the grace of God go you,” and “You listen to everyone because everyone has something to say,” the latter she admits has helped her in her work to this day. And perhaps that explains her conservative, but empathic nature.

After two years at junior college, Cantil-Sakauye went to UC Davis for her B.A. She also got her law degree from Davis, all while working as a waitress and blackjack dealer in Lake Tahoe.

At age 35, and already moving up the conservative ranks, she was Ms. Cantil-Gorre until she married Mark Sakauye, a retired Sacramento police lieutenant.

Her hyphenated name merges some major Asian American histories. The Hawaii plantations, the California fields, and her husband’s story, the son of farmworkers who became farmers and then were incarcerated in concentration camps. Cantil-Sakauye said the stories of her in-law’s struggles made her more of an immigrant rights advocate.

Could that be a hint of the future?

For now, we have four more months to notice and appreciate Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye as she winds down the historic nature of her tenure.

Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. See his work at www.amok.com

Continue Reading

Bay Area

Jamie Scardina Appointed Marin County Sheriff

Scardina was elected as Sheriff in the June primary election, running unopposed, and was to be sworn in when Doyle’s term ended Jan. 2, 2023. However, Doyle retired June 30 after more than 52 years of public safety service to Marin, and Scardina became acting Sheriff. The board’s action July 19 covers the time until Jan. 2.

Published

on

As Sheriff, Scardina will lead a department of 311 full time staff and oversee a $77,735,000 operating budget.
As Sheriff, Scardina will lead a department of 311 full time staff and oversee a $77,735,000 operating budget.

Courtesy of Marin County

Acting Marin County Sheriff Jamie Scardina had the “acting” taken off his title July 19 when the Marin County Board of Supervisors appointed him to the position, becoming the 22nd sheriff in county history. Scardina, a Marin native and 23-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, replaces the retired Robert Doyle. Scardina took the oath of office, administered by Doyle, at a public swearing-in ceremony on July 28.

Scardina was elected as Sheriff in the June primary election, running unopposed, and was to be sworn in when Doyle’s term ended Jan. 2, 2023. However, Doyle retired June 30 after more than 52 years of public safety service to Marin, and Scardina became acting Sheriff. The board’s action July 19 covers the time until Jan. 2.

Scardina grew up in Corte Madera and attended Marin Catholic High School and College of Marin. He earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology with an emphasis in criminology from the University of Montana. After starting his law enforcement career as a Tiburon police officer, Scardina joined the Sheriff’s Office in 2000 and gradually was assigned more responsibilities as he was promoted from deputy to sergeant to lieutenant to captain. Scardina replaced the retired Mike Ridgway as Undersheriff in 2018.

Scardina is only Marin’s third Sheriff since 1983. He thanked Doyle for giving him a “tremendous amount of autonomy” during the past four years as he served as Undersheriff. He pledged to listen to concerns and make decisions together with resident involvement.

“This is not an appointment I take lightly or for granted,” Scardina said at the July 19 Supervisors meeting. “I know it comes with a tremendous amount of responsibility. … This is something I’m looking forward to, working with staff and working with the community. I know there are a lot of people in the community who want to talk, and we’re looking forward to having those conversations.”

As Sheriff, Scardina will lead a department of 311 full time staff and oversee a $77,735,000 operating budget. His annual salary will be $251,825.60 and benefits will be consistent with those received by other department heads.

Continue Reading

Subscribe to receive news and updates from the Oakland Post

* indicates required

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE OAKLAND POST

ADVERTISEMENT

WORK FROM HOME

Home-based business with potential monthly income of $10K+ per month. A proven training system and website provided to maximize business effectiveness. Perfect job to earn side and primary income. Contact Lynne for more details: Lynne4npusa@gmail.com 800-334-0540

Facebook

Digital Issues20 hours ago

Oakland Post: Week of August 10 – August 16, 2022

Rick Callender, California-Hawaii conference president of the NAACP, and Shirley Weber, California Secretary of State.
Activism2 days ago

California-Hawaii NAACP Conference Sues Sec. of State Shirley Weber 

Chief justice of California’s State Supreme Court, Tani Cantil-Sakauye. (Photo: California Courts Newsroom)
Commentary2 days ago

COMMENTARY: Can You Name the Chief Justice of California’s Supreme Court? Get to Know Tani Cantil-Sakauye Before She Steps Down

As Sheriff, Scardina will lead a department of 311 full time staff and oversee a $77,735,000 operating budget.
Bay Area2 days ago

Jamie Scardina Appointed Marin County Sheriff

Top: Mother and daughter talking (From care.com). Bottom: English and Spanish covers of the booklet “Let’s Start Talking.” Go to letstalkmarin.org for more information, downloadable digital booklets, and video recordings of recent “Let’s Talk” community discussions.
Activism2 days ago

Marin County Offers Booklet to Parents to Prevent Preteen Substance Abuse

The street light revisions are being funded by the remaining budget of the Upgrade the Drake project and the Marin County Street Light Fund. To further offset the cost, DPW will explore resell opportunities for the currently installed street light poles, which are a standard pole design used across California.
Bay Area2 days ago

Sir Francis Drake Boulevard Lighting Update to Begin

The California Partnership to End Domestic Violence (CPEDV), is a coalition representing over 1,000 survivors, advocates, organizations, and allied individuals.
Activism2 days ago

Domestic Violence Group Honors Community Advocates from Around the State

Students with the Amos C. Brown Fellowship to Ghana visit the Jubilee House in Accra on Aug. 2, 2022.
Activism2 days ago

Amos C. Brown Fellowship to Ghana Begins

Dr. Wade Nobles says the healing hubs proposed by Oakland Front Line Healers will be a first in addressing specific traumas African Americans experience daily living in a racist environment.
Activism2 days ago

Oakland City Council Approves Funding for African American Healing Hubs

#NNPA BlackPress3 days ago

PRESS ROOM: First Book, an Innovative Leader in Education Equity, Releases Groundbreaking Research Illustrating the Impact of COVID-19 on Emotional Wellness of Students in Underserved Communities

As the first-ranked and highest respected Black sportsman, Bill Russell used his status to lead the nation’s leading Black athletes which included Jim Brown, Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul Jabbar) and many others to support Muhammad Ali’s stance against the Vietnam War.
Activism3 days ago

IN MEMORIAM: Oakland’s Own Bill Russell, 88, Greatest Athlete/Civil Rights Activist Ever (Part 1)

#NNPA BlackPress4 days ago

Moore Brown: Maryland Set to Have Two Black Statewide Officials

#NNPA BlackPress4 days ago

DOJ Indicts Four Police Officers Who Allegedly Lied to Secure Search Warrants for Breonna Taylor’s Home

#NNPA BlackPress4 days ago

White House Releases New Policy Goals for Sub-Saharan Africa

#NNPA BlackPress4 days ago

FBI Raids Donald Trump’s Resort in Florida

Trending