Monday, December 21, 2009

Moving Beyond your comfort zone

Why is it that if you are African American and a chef, you are expected to always cook ‘soul food’?

Don’t get me wrong, I love good soul food. But give me a well cooked French, Italian or Mexican meal and I am more than happy to dine with gusto.

Moving beyond the comfort food zone has never been easier. Everything from vegetables & fruit to beer are seasonal. Even meat & cheese are seasonal, so you can always be eating the freshest food available.

Much of the food that is considered classic soul food today, was created by slaves who were forced to eat scraps left by their masters. Cooks were adept at creating something from nothing. What would they say though, if they could grow their own food for themselves and had access to the freshest food obtainable?

As winter looms, the seasonal choices are vast: apples, basil, figs, sprouts, squash, avocados, pears, sweet potatoes, persimmons, and pomegranates. With such a bounty, the old ways of soul food can be reborn.

I have only recently become a sweet potato fan, as I hate them with marshmallows…. Here is how I like them:

Sweet Potato mash

Take one sweet potato, peel and chop it.

Boil that darling root until soft, add a bit of butter, salt & pepper as you mash it, and I promise that it will be the best most delicious food you have ever eaten.
Simple, pure, and best of all, inexpensive.

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