It's back!!! The top ten makes its '06 debut. After a week of race, economics and foreign affairs, we've earned the right to take it easy and talk about something everybody loves - food. More specifically, SOUL FOOD!!!
Now, everybody does their soul food a little differently. Southerners have a lock on the fried chicken and who makes shrimp gumbo better than folks from New Orleans? Now, some will say Cajun and soul food aren't the same but hey, it's my list and I'm making it so today. Sue me.
Anyway, here is my list of the top ten soul food dishes. Ya'll have a good weekend - and happy eating.
1. Collard Greens: Can you even call it a soul food dinner without collard greens? They are the staple of any Sunday dinner at grandma's house. Add a little seasoning salt and a touch of sugar and oh my goodness... the world becomes a beautiful place.
2. Candied Yams: Where I'm from, a bowl of candied yams is more precious than gold. I'll share greens and I might even give up some dressing. But candied yams are a rare commodity and it would take a whole lot for me to give some away. I made my first batch this past Christmas. It was cool - but I have a long way to go.
3. Homemade Macaroni & Cheese: Kraft aint got nothing on my grandmother's Mac & Cheese. I still recall how beautiful it looked the first time a pan is pulled from the oven. The golden brown top layer was evidence that we were about to partake in something special. I can smell it now.
4. Sweet Potato Pie: Can you even have a Thanksgiving dinner without a sweet potato pie? It is the pinnacle of any large family gather where dinner is served. I can actually eat an entire pie in one sitting but I never do because once the pie is gone... it's gone. It's not something you make every week so you have to savor the moment.
5. Hot Water Cornbread: I have no idea how to make it and it really doesn't have much of a taste to it. But when placed on the side of delectable collard greens, it became a glorious thing to behold.
6. Dressing: And I'm not talking about that sacrilegious crap they call stove top stuffing. No sir, I'm talking about the stuff you make out of cornbread and doused with the juice from the turkey. Dressing is the foundation on which every other soul food dish rest. If your dressing is not good, your dinner is not good. My best friend's mom makes the best dressing I've ever had. And that's saying a lot considering my grandmother cooked like it was going out of style.
7. Black Eye Peas: They do have an odd taste to them, but they belong. My folks make them with a little okra. Now, I can't stand okra so I always tossed that to the side. Some of the best conversations I've ever had were had over a nice hot plate of black eye peas and cornbread.
8. Pork Ribs: We cannot forget about the meat. I prefer my pork ribs cooked over hot coals (those of you with gas grills, you should be ashamed of yourselves) and doused with barbecue sauce. If you prepare and grill them properly, the meat should fall off of the bones. Oh, my mouth waters for the delectable taste of Grade A ribs with sauce filled with a perfect blend of brown sugar and vinegar.
9. Pork Chops: C'mon, ya'll know some pork chops were going to be on the list. I know you Muslim cats can't get with it, but the rest of us swine lovers know the importance of a good pork chop covered in pepper and Lawry's Seasoning Salt (no other seasoning salt with do). Prepared in a skillet and served with collard greens & cornbread. Pork chops are the perfect alternative to fried chicken. After all, it is the other white meat.
10. Kool-Aid: You may be asking yourself, how is kool-aid and dish? Well, my naive suburbanite, kool-aid is the quintessential catalysts between all of the other dishes and a required element to making a soul food dinner... soulful. Eating barbecue ribs is not complete unless washed down with a nice tall glass of Red kool-aid. And yes, Red is an actual flavor.
1. What is your favorite Soul Food dish?
2. Is there a dish you cook better than most people you know?
3. What ethnic food do you most enjoy eating?
4. What is your favorite restaurant and where is it located?