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Abby Fisher was known for her southern cooking, particularly her pickles and preserves. In 1880, after winning a bronze medal at a fair in San Francisco, the jurors said, “Her pickles and sauces have a piquancy and flavor seldom equaled, and, when once tasted, not soon forgotten.”

Fisher learned to cook in plantation kitchens in the South, where she developed her distinctive style. After the Civil War, she moved to San Francisco and opened a preserves business. Those close to her encouraged her to publish a cookbook.

Because she could not read or write, she ended up carefully describing her recipes to writers who assembled the book for her. “What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking” was published in 1881. It included 160 recipes, corn fritters and okra gumbo among them.

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