Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Our Soul Runs Deep & Tastes Mighty Good

I wish I could burn in the kitchen. But I just can't. My child and I aren't going to starve. I can do a little something - bake some fish and chicken, steam some veggies, scramble some eggs and such.

But if it's any more complicated than that, well, I'm really a recipe girl. And that's alright, especially with cool releases like the America I Am Pass It Down Cookbook. It feeds me in every way. The delicious recipes in this treasure are augmented with essays and historical content about the soul of African American cuisine.
I wish I could pass on some of the recipes from my grandmother, who spent the majority of her life in Tuskegee, Ala., near Tuskegee Institute, where the above photo was taken. In her heyday, she used to make some succulent salmon patties and a serious peach cobbler. Unfortunately, my brother got the peach cobbler genes I guess because he puts it down - and blesses me with a birthday batch annually (thanks bro!). I can make a mean shrimp quiche, some black bean stew, and tasty chicken salad - all from recipes I've hooked up. So, if you've got some superfantastic recipes you wanna share, I'm certainly up for trying them.

In the meantime, here's an excerpt of the piece I wrote for Heart & Soul about the cookbook, which includes Collard Green Soup with Smoked Turkey, a recipe by the author, Chef Jeff Henderson, the first African American to be named Chef de Cuisine at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas and executive chef at Café Bellagio.

Passing Down Recipes and the Stories They Tell

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill once dined on sweet-and-sour pigs’ feet that were prepared by a member of the White House’s all-black culinary staff. Lieutenant General Russel L. Honoré, who commanded coordinating military relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina-affected areas across the Gulf Coast in 2005, is an avid griller and is producing his special seasoning mix, Honoré’s Spice blends, including a low-sodium version.

These notable facts and other amazing essays and personal reflections bring to life the 130 recipes gathered in America I Am Pass It Down Cookbook, edited by Chef Jeff Henderson with Ramin Ganeshram. Celebrating how soul-filled African-American cuisine is inextricably linked to the way America eats, the book includes traditional Southern cooking, new millennium twists and irresistible desserts.

Check out the rest of the piece on Heart& and keep Enjoyceinglife!

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