Cake Ladies: Celebrating a Southern Tradition, was published in 2011 by Sterling Publishing’s Lark Crafts imprint, and was the culmination of many interviews Jodi conducted with Cake Ladies from across the South. In Cake Ladies, Jodi shares the life stories and recipes of 19 diverse Cake Ladies, from Louisiana to “down east” North Carolina.
In this excerpt from Jodi’s forthcoming memoir, she describes her inspiration for wanting to write the book:
“My mother had been regaling me with stories of the cake lady in her hometown of Monroe, Georgia, and I was discovering that the role of ‘Cake Lady’ in Southern communities was a long and venerated tradition. I was curious about these women, and what I could learn from them. I wanted to meet them, to talk to them, to bake with them. I wanted to elevate their stories, to tug at the everyday sacred thread that connected us. I knew I wanted the women to be diverse, to reframe the common understanding of Southern cooking to properly honor the Black women who were stewards of this cuisine, this uneasy amalgamation of European, Native American, and African traditions. I wanted to honor the Latina women who were migrating to the area and their contribution to the conversation about food. I wanted to contribute to the canon of the New South, rooted in the civil rights movement and in social justice. And I wanted to be part of a narrative that acknowledged and began to correct the sins of omission regarding the history of the South. I wanted this book to be about so much more than cake. I wanted it to be about the connections that people make when they come to the table, about the connection of our lives to the land, about women and how we survive as women, about reconnecting to domesticity and nurturing from a place of power and agency rather than obligation and servitude.”
Cake Ladies is now in its third printing, and its rich photography and reliable recipes, as well as the glimpse into the lives of the women it celebrates, has made it a beloved addition to many cooks’ libraries.
Praise for Cake Ladies:
Named one of Kitchen Daily’s Top Five Southern Cookbooks 2011
“A beautiful new book chock-full of cake recipes, Southern charm, and inspiring women. Y’all seriously need to check this out. The photos are beautiful and the recipes look divine. Just thumbing through the pages got me itching to preheat the oven and get baking.” – Bake It Pretty
“The stories and words of the cake ladies, the photographs of not just delectable desserts, but of the people and places, add a richness and depth not often found in cookbooks.” Craft Gossip
“If you’re looking for a dessert cookbook that has a wide variety of delicious recipes and a lot of heart, you should definitely pick up a copy of Cake Ladies: Celebrating a Southern Tradition.” -Danielle Zimmerman, editor for TheBestDessertRecipes.com