“I Heart Soul Food: 100 Southern Comfort Food Favorites” by Rosie Mayes, food blogger and social media influencer, is the only resource you need for holiday cooking. “You’re not gambling and hoping that the recipes taste good because tons of people have already given their stamps of approval,” Mayes shares. Right off the bat, the paperback hits you in the face with caramel pecan cinnamon rolls that make you want to lick the page. I don’t recommend it with COVID and all. Simply read it on a full stomach.
This delightful cookbook features 100 recipes most fans have never seen. They include classics such as soul food macaroni and cheese, deep-fried catfish and pull-apart yeast rolls. But they also showcase Creole lasagna, shrimp sliders, pimento cheese and fried green tomato sandwich and praline Bundt cake. I’m not revealing Mayes’ secret ingredient for the southern potato salad.
The ingredients list contains items commonly found at grocery stores and the instructions are easy to read. Mayes uses seafood in several dishes. Makes sense since she lives in the Pacific Northwest. I like the slow cooker options, especially for the beef brisket. I also admire the glossy images. They present large, vivid dishes that are deliciously styled. They tempt my soul. I’m definitely ready to conquer the kitchen.
For those who are unsure, Mayes got you covered with a list of spices, products, and tools to get you going.“I also have video tutorials on my blog so you can not only watch me make specific recipes but learn some basic techniques, too,” says Mayes.
Born to Cook
Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, her parents named her Rosemary after her grandmother Rosa Mae who died when she was a two-year-old. Mayes learned to cook from her family by helping in the kitchen at the age of three and by five, she was making spaghetti.
By 12, she had full range of the family kitchen. One of her first meals consisted of seafood-stuffed peppers (see book for the recipe). Her maternal grandparents were from Baton Rouge and migrated to the Emerald City and had 18 children. Mayes grew up surrounded by lots of aunts and uncles. She also experienced delicious soul food rich in Louisiana traditions.
Later, she became a patient care technician and certified nursing assistant. After five years, she became exhausted by the work. One day, she decided to post a video of herself frying chicken and the views skyrocketed. In 2009, she created her blog and YouTube channel, “I Heart Recipes” which focused on Southern and soul food. It grew in popularity. In 2014, she took a leap of faith and quit her full-time job to concentrate on her brand.
I’m glad she did. Mayes debut cookbook, “I Heart Soul Food” is a tasty treat. “It’s my own unique blend of soul food: authentic, approachable, and well-seasoned love on a plate.” Get it now. Start practicing. You will be ready by Thanksgiving to impress your family. I promise.
Order a copy on Amazon.