Mrs. Abby Fisher was born into slavery, and scholars believe she learned to cook in the kitchen of a plantation in North or South Carolina. After the Civil War, she and her family lived for a time in Mobile, Alabama, but moved west in the late 1870s and settled in San Francisco.
Mrs. Fisher quickly developed a thriving business as a caterer, and she made and sold her own pickles, preserves, and brandied fruits. She won two medals for her creations at the 1880 San Francisco Mechanics' Institute Fair.
What Mrs. Fisher Knows... is considered by many to be the original soul food cookbook, with recipes for beat biscuits, plantation cornbread, creole chow chow, oyster gumbo soup, and many other traditional dishes.