In addition to the excitement around the season premiere of “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” on November 21 on OWN, Robbie Montgomery can now add cookbook author to her list of accolades that include being an original Ikette, a Goodwill Musical Ambassador, restaurant owner and creator of a specialty tea beverage. The Mississippi native is enjoying her success outside the music industry that has captured the stomachs of foodies and viewers around the country.
With the show now in its sixth season, fans can look forward to more thrills and excitement and perhaps a little drama as it continues to follow Montgomery, affectionately called Miss Robbie, around as she grows and operates her soul food restaurant empire with son Tim, makes time for family and friends and steps back into the studio since exiting more than 20 years ago when she was diagnosed with sarcoidosis. Always making it known that singing was still something she loved, Montgomery’s return to the studio is sure to be a highlight of the season.
Turning a New Chapter
This past September, Montgomery celebrated the release of her first cookbook, “Sweetie Pie’s Cookbook: Soulful Southern Recipes From My Family to Yours,” to share recipes she has enjoyed making and serving over the years. She is also a little competitive when she says she wants to make the New York Best Sellers List. “I am hoping I will be a number one best-seller with my cookbook. This is my first book using my family recipes with a lot of my private collection secrets,” says the OWN personality.
The oldest of nine children, she says her mom was her biggest culinary inspiration, teaching her everything she knows today. “[My mom] had nine kids and was an excellent cook. I don’t know anybody who can beat her and I know a lot of people who cook well. She made a meal out of nothing and taught me. I don’t call myself a chef, I say I am a cook,” says Montgomery who first had a little wings restaurant in Pomona, California before moving back to St. Louis. Once returning to Missouri, she worked as a kidney dialysis technician but deep down inside, there was a nagging for something more; “my own thing,” she says in the book. She currently owns three restaurant locations which include the latest addition in North Hollywood, Calif.
With the cookbook, readers can now get a taste of Miss Robbie’s food right in the comfort of their own homes. With recipes from family and friends at the heart of the book, fans of the show and restaurants are in for a soulful experience that includes her grandmother’s Tea Cake and a Scripture Cake recipe that was placed in her housekeeper’s mother’s obituary. In the book, Montgomery writes that she later learned the recipe went back to the 1800s and tested the baker’s Bible knowledge. Girls were taught how to bake and their Bible verses at the same time. “Sweetie Pie’s Cookbook” also includes recipes inspired by her travels around the world as well as different people that she has met along the way.
“My favorite [recipe in the book] is the Pear Cobbler but everybody likes the macaroni and cheese which is something everybody can’t really make. I use everything that I used from day one that my mom taught me, so butter, the best cheese. I use all that stuff. But then everybody don’t use that in their macaroni, they kind of substitute or put it on top of the stove. I bake my macaroni,” says Montgomery.
Always Have to Keep Involving
Coming up during the 1940s, the 75-year-old has lived through a lot of America’s history, from segregation to seeing the first black President take office for two terms. While on tour with Ike and Tina Turner, Montgomery notes that restaurants were still segregated and if they wanted a little taste of home, they had to cook it themselves. “Everything was segregated back then and so there weren’t a lot of restaurants for us to go into. We always carried a hot plate and electric skillet. When we had a day off, we would prepare our own home-cooked meal.”
Just as the country continues to change, so does the music industry which Montgomery is fully aware of. With plans to put out an album, it will be great to see younger generations connect with that part of her life that they may have missed once her career ended.
If you are in the Los Angeles area, be sure to stop by the latest Sweetie Pie’s restaurant at 5230 Lankershim Blvd. Opened by Tim and her nephew Charles, Montgomery says they are looking for a new location as the current one is too small for the Sweetie Pie’s concept and is a historical building which means it can’t be touched.
Enjoying a piece of the success pie in the sky, Montgomery is truly excited about the book and how everything has just unfolded over the years. When I wondered what she is eating to celebrate it all, she says, “I love my sweets. I love homemade from scratch cakes and pies. My desserts are my favorite.” And the book is filled with a lot of wonderful sweets to choose from and celebrate right along with her.
Tune into “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” starting this Saturday, November 21 on OWN at 9 pm EST.
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