tv Kelley Fanto Deetz Bound to the Fire CSPAN February 19, 2018 7:48am-8:01am EST
we hope you'll join us on the late afternoon of february 5th with that, i want to thank the panel and we'll see you in the background signing books. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> he was here that we spoke with kelley fanto deetz about her book "bound to the fire" about the cooks of southern virginia. >> i decided to write a book about the way it cooks a
virginia premise collar slavery in virginia. it was usually the most interesting part of the landscape and as a professional chef or 10 years and i found myself in a few spaces for the children had to cook and i realized there were no answers to the questions about their lives and contributions. my work in my book is focused on the 18th to 19th century plantation homes than the larger ones. but the ones where where the cook mind of the the cook might've been a longer set than any, but the ones that they send for it kitchen that was run like a business. those particulars had a mastery of flavor, the mistress, the wife, so the cook would have to cook for all of them and of course it's virginia. all of the culture of hospitality and so they would have to be cooking for neighbors
to visit it. there was no social world outside of these plantation homes during this period. all of the court shall life involving parties and mary and their children off to the next person down the road and had a very significant role in cooking on the food for this and making sure it was run perfectly every dish at the right time executed with perfection. enslaved cooks are typically the most soluble under plantation. butlers are typically valued at a higher monetary value than enslaved cooks and sometimes the cook was the most by a person under plantation that they switched back and forth and from what i can tell butlers had a tiny bit if they had done that and a lot of that has to do is select the butlers beaten and in the cooks being predominantly
women although that's a bit of a mess because there's plenty of enslaved women cooking in the kitchen throughout the entire period of slavery. there was a lot of pride in flavors took a new cds in the letters back and forth from the mistress is talking about how grand it's going to be and how amazing the food was on a certain night. you see references about how there is enslaved cooks might not be well enough to cook. little things like data also showed the cook's role was very significant. i'd have to argue what other enslaved person has that kind of power to influence the rescheduling of the events put on by weight people. they were always on call in if you think about the culture in the south in virginia in particular, you think about weeks to get to the plantation homes to the at their homes and
when any of these people would arrive, they be expected to have sued if you think about while the hospitality comes from a making sure whoever comes to your front door as food, water, shelter and so they are responsible for feeding someone who walked into the front door and making meals for not only everyone in the household, but any other guests as well. so enslaved cooks are trained in multiple ways. they might've been cook in the field and do that from their own training. you have been learning from their mothers, grandmothers. you have been learning occasionally as well from cook books. some of them were literate because they taught an inflated cook how to read over and over again. some of them sent to paris to
learn french cuisine by the best of the best. in cooking style that happened during this period a little bit of everything and that is the essence of our cuisine now. they have access to mobility in the way of their faith people did. for instance here if you're an inflated cook, you might be allowed to go down to market to get some food for the meal did in williamsburg he be allowed to go down to marketing get food for males and come back. they have the ability to leave the plantation and get ingredients and talk to other people in ways you couldn't if you were a field slave. george washington chef hercules and virginia in philadelphia,
who is a vibrant free black community and he was able to walk up and down the street, parade around. a wonderful description of him walking down main street in philadelphia. he's got a cane and is walking in people are bowing to him because they were start to them so much. he was an inflated cook for the president of the united states in a city that was enslaved, that he was unable to meet people and the travels that he made through towns and the things that happened between his trips back and forth to mount vernon because george washington found out there was a gradual act in pennsylvania sure that after there, which meant if you owned enslaved people in pennsylvania, they would have to be free within six months.
every five months and some change, george washington with center staff including soil and then back up again to get around the law. others worked a mad house meeting people every time they're going back and forth to a free state. every time they walking down main street to get their collars or their butter from the market, they are meeting people that eventually helped them become free. so enslaved cooks, with all the snow soft power they had within the complex than they were still enslaved. they still had the threat has been burned by the horrible accounts of torture happening. horrible accounts of the mistress is in mistress is mistreating enslaved cooks because they burned the biscuits or because dinner wasn't put on the exact way they wanted to. the difference between that world and not as somebody who's
working as a butler or in the field is that they were able to push back. so there was this thread that would loom over there in flavors that betsy might kill us tonight so maybe we should pull back a little bit. you see this kind of hysteria, especially where you've got 1831, 55 slaveowners killed by insurrection in the county. would not have, shockwaves were sent across the south in the people of the women in virginia that owned pieces of people and all of these plantations were terrified that they were going to be poisoned and killed by their cooks in their enslaved slaveowners. the research they found that the presidential homes of the very wealthy doing a lot of entertaining heads of states or people from other nations you see a lot of different things happening. a lot of land gave to reflect
sort of beyond comfort of owning slaves. you see it in places like mount vernon, monticello and the phenomenon at montpelier on the james river. you see the development and the creation of architectural masks. thomas jefferson enhances dumbwaiter built into the fireplace in the dining room. you have little literal dumbwaiter tables being put up in place of someone who's not going to be able to communicate. you are responding to ideas on slavery and furniture and passageways allow flexibility to high enslaved bodies are present inside bodies depending on who is coming to visit your plantation that day. it's not as if someone from friends that this somehow thomas thomas jefferson didn't own the enslaved people, but the fact that not show it off in a way that kept people out of the room
to them not listen to conversations about the morality of slavery and the laws being passed in the fact that there were free nations all over the world and the united states of america was taking a little bit long to get around to abolishment. there is a huge misunderstanding about enslaved cooks in the country, businesses in the images of uncle ben are still on our grocery shelves, still there. they are multi-fold. on one hand, people going into a grocery store will say it must be good. it's a black lady cooking my food. there's this sort of comfort in appetite for black servitude. there is and always will be. on the other side of the coin we have a complete absence of enslaved cooks as true contributors to american cuisine. so which is it? he can't have it both ways.