Ask Rosie Mayes how long she has been cooking and the two-time author and successful social media entrepreneur may tell you since she was old enough to say her name. The Seattle, Washington, native can’t recall when food wasn’t a part of her life. Her food story is filled with rich memories of moments spent in the kitchen with her grandmother, mom and aunts.
Soul food is what they were making and teaching a young girl whose family celebrates its Southern roots. From Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to Seattle, Mayes is well aware of recipes, flavors creations and techniques her grandparents passed down to her mom, who then passed them down to her.
“I love soul food because that’s what I was brought up on. It will always be like my number one. It’s my comfort food; it’s what makes me happy. It takes me back to my roots,” says the mother of one. Mayes’ love for soul food returns in her second cookbook, “Super Soul Food with Cousin Rosie, “ released October 4. In it, Mayes is looking to bring her legion of fans —affectionately called cousins— to the table with more than 100 recipes that give traditional soul food dishes a modern twist.
From Hobby to Soul Food Darling
Mayes grew up cooking side-by-side with her grandmother, mother and aunts, who all worked in the healthcare industry. Aiming for a career in culinary instead, Mayes enrolled in Job Corps looking to gain the necessary experience needed to build her food dreams. The elementary curriculum coupled with an undesired job trajectory led her to follow her family’s footsteps into healthcare.
“I was definitely in the medical field for a long time. I worked 12 hours shifts, sometimes four days in a row, and cooking was just something that never went away. It was always my hobby. Something loved doing so on my days off. I would just cook and then I got hipped to YouTube thanks to my husband, and I started uploading YouTube videos and people started liking them. It was a nice cheap hobby and something I enjoyed doing,” says Mayes.
At the time, Mayes was one of few people showing others how to create amazing soul food dishes online. Fast forward over ten years later, and you have hundreds of professionals and home cooks sharing their love of cooking on public platforms. “It was nothing like it is today. When I started, I want to say there was only a handful of us sharing our recipes, and we all had our little different cooking techniques,” recalls the founder of the blog, I Heart Recipes.
RECIPE: Three-Cheese, Bacon and Herb Biscuits
Mayes would eventually leave healthcare to further establish her brand inspired by recreating dishes from her childhood while adding her touch as a home cook. Today, she has amassed a following of more than 84,000 on Instagram and 533,000 on YouTube.
On each social media platform, the food blogger and influence can be seen sharing her latest mouthwatering recipes with a vast audience of cousins or fans who know if you want to truly get down in the kitchen, look no further than Rosie Mayes.
A Little Bit of This and That
“Slow cooking is definitely my favorite cooking technique because I don’t have to babysit anything. I can prep it, toss it in the slow cooker, forget about it and dinner will be done,”shares Mayes, who knows this is one of the keys to creating her delicious meals for family and friends.
Her favorite ingredients to use include garlic, onions, bell pepper and her seasoning salt, RosaMae Seasonings, a collection created to take meats such as oxtails and poultry to the next level, put a foot in your favorite pot of greens and add all kinds of goodness to everyday dishes.
The pinch of this and a little bit of that self-trained cook confesses that measurement utensils are not involved when cooking on a regular day; it is all by taste. You season until the food says this is it. However, Mayes knows that measuring and testing are required when sharing her recipes, which didn’t stop the author from creating more than 100 recipes in her latest cookbook.
“Super Soul Food with Cousin Rosie” is a kitchen countertop staple that needs to be kept front and center for breakfast, lunch and dinnertime meal ideas. The page tuner will have you smiling and reminiscing about your childhood as you flip to recipes such as fried chicken gizzards and a muffuletta.
She hits the target for Southern-inspired meals with recipes to include Cajun-Style Leg of Lamb, Seafood Broil with Creole Garlic Sauce and Southern Meat Pies with Creole Chimichurri.
From savory to sweet, Mayes’ days of watching her Aunt Nisha as the family baker definitely rubbed off. You won’t be disappointed with her rendition of salted caramel and chocolate chip cookies, Southern tea cakes and a true classic, 7UP cake.
Finally, sip and be merry, as no meal is complete without some type of drink in hand. Get a little naughty with the Grown Folks Peach Sweet Tea or play it safe with the Easy Strawberry Lemonade.
For some, 100-plus recipes could prove to be a challenge to create, but not for Mayes, who says, “I am greedy and I am always thinking of something.” She even alluded that recipes not used in this book may find a home in her next cookbook.
When asked about narratives that depict soul food as unhealthy, Mayes wastes no time saying, “With the modern cooking ways that we have now, there are ways to cut down in sodium and fat.” True. Soul food often gets a bad rap instead of understanding and appreciating how it has empowered generations and continues to evolve like any other cuisine.
For Mayes, soul food is more than sustenance. It is about family and a legacy of bringing people together. And whether you are related by blood or not, you’ll always have an invitation to enjoy her food
“Super Soul Food With Rosie Mayes: 100+ Modern Twists on Comfort Food Classics” is available now and can be purchased at www.penguinrandomhouse.com. To purchase RosaMae Seasonings, visit https://rosamaeseasonings.com.