When you picture Aunt Jemima, what do you see? While she generally makes white people feel nurtured, she tells black people they're destined for servitude. The fact that this one advertising character telegraphs such different messages to different races is what food writer Toni Tipton-Martin refers to as the 'Jemima Code.'
In her book of the same name, Tipton-Martin explores the lives of the real black women, and men, who worked as cooks and chefs after the Civil War and contrasts them with the racist 'mammy' propaganda of the day. Discovering their artistic and scientific contributions to the culinary world was her way of breaking the Jemima Code.