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  • Writer's pictureChef Angell

And so it begins....

Ever ate a dish that simply brought tears to your eyes? Yeah… that happened to me last year at food showcase of all African American women chefs.  I will never forget standing in the line waiting for the sample, looking all around the room, wishing it were me behind the table.  I just wanted to share my love for cooking with the world just as the women around me were doing.  As I stepped up to receive my little plastic cup, inside was a simple appetizer fork full of butter pound cake. So uncomplicated. No flavored glaze. Just pound cake.  I cried right there in front of my Sister-Friends and a bunch of folks I didn’t know.  Along with my tears, came a smile.If you have ever seen the Disney movie “Ratatouille”, you will understand exactly what I am talking about. At that moment, I traveled back in time to family get-togethers (major holidays mostly, because our house was the place to be), and asking to help with the desserts so I can lick the spoon or the bowl.  Every kid then knew the bragging rights of being able to lick the bowl!

Growing up in public housing, small things like this mattered. That taste of the amazing cake batter in my mother’s kitchen came right to my mind in that one bite. I don’t even think I chewed up, but more just let it sit on my tongue and dissolve, eyes completely closed off to the present tasting going on around me.  I remembered the smell of the kitchen, the flour container with the wooden handle attached to it, the large, white Tupperware bowl used to hand mix the cake batter.  The memories were so overwhelming, that I totally forgot about where I was.  Hence the tears. Now coming back to reality, here I am a year later from that memory lane flavor trip.  I have opened my own business and am the owner of Signatures By Angell Catering.  As a home chef, you tend to get slack for calling yourself a chef because you haven’t been to school.  However, the food my mother cooked (soul food most of the time), was extremely chef worthy in my opinion, lol. Between Julia Child, the Frugal Gourmet Jeff Smith and my Mom’s imagination, there were many southern dishes that were transformed into better southern dishes. Teaching myself to cook, at first because of the love of food and her, I became a self-proclaimed chef in my own rite.

As I began to love cooking as a teen, I started to experiment with spices I never heard of before, and that is still what I stand by today, although back then anything that wasn’t Lawry’s seasoning salt was experimental to me, lol. Which leads me to this wonderfully tasteful trip down memory lane.  Mama Made My Way will be me sharing those kitchen memories, the simple recipe’s that my Mama never wrote down, but I have committed to memory by taste.  A few months ago I shared on my YouTube channel “Cheffin’ with Chef Angell”, an elevated twist on Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese (you have to watch the video to see how I gave it my eclectic twist and it comes with a song, lol) based off of the comforting autumn/winter weekend lunches my Mom and Grandmother used to make.  I recently watched the video and decided I wanted to share more of these types of recipes that take you back to childhood when life was as simple as a chicken pot pie on a Friday night.But maybe that wasn’t your memory, and that is cool too! I want you to share your stories with me, as I share mine. Challenge me to cook one or all of your mama’s favorite recipes, I promise I am not afraid! LOL!! In the meantime, I can’t wait to take this Journey with you!

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