Abby Fisher was a former slave in South Carolina. Born in 1832, she had a special gift when came to preparing good food. After the Civil War, Fisher moved with her family to San Francisco where she often entered her food in cooking competitions. Most people loved her jellies, preserves, and pickles, so she became known around town as, “Mrs. Abby Fisher, Pickle Manufacturer.”
During that period, it was common for women to enter their baked goods and special dishes into the competitions at the Sacramento State Fair. Fisher’s recipes were frequently featured; in 1879, she was given a period, and the following year, she won two medals at the San Francisco Mechanics’ Institute.
Fisher’s recipes were renowned throughout the region and included items such as Jumble Cake, Hoe Cakes, and Green Turtle Soup. According to certain sources, Fisher may have the mastermind because the comfort dish of fried chicken and waffles.
In 1881, Abby Fisher published her first cookbook entitled, “What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking: Soups, Pickles, Preserves, Etc.,” despite the fact she could not read or write. The book was published by the Women’s Cooperative Printing Office in San Francisco. In 1984, a volume of the cookbook was put up for auction and purchased by the Schlesinger Library at Harvard University.
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