With a successful Food Network show that has been renewed for an eighth season, hosting credits to include OWN’s “The Great Soul Food Cook-Off,” and a massive Instagram following, Kardea Brown just added celebrated cookbook author to her list of accolades.
The South Carolina native is inviting us to experience where it all began in her debut cookbook, “The Way Home: A Celebration of Sea Islands Food and Family with Over 100 Recipes.” Run, don’t walk to order off Amazon or purchase at a bookstore, as this book will have you drooling before you can even grab ingredients to start cooking.
From one-pot meals, true southern classics, feel-good comfort and sweet tooth pleasers, Brown did not hold back, and this cookbook may be the only one you’ll need to add to your collection this year.
Take Me Home
Since the debut of her show, “Delicious Miss Brown,” in 2019, Brown has always given us a counter seat in her kitchen as she cooked at her home on Sea Islands. Proud of her Gullah Geechee roots, the culinary star’s commitment to honoring the land and those who tended to it and also ate from it helped to enlarge audiences’ knowledge and awareness about the culture and her upbringing that has shaped who she is today.
With culinary traditions and flavors passed down from her grandmother and mother, Brown calls her cooking New Gullah, which she says is her “own personal interpretation of the traditions that make up classic Gullah cooking.”
It is her tribute to being in the kitchen while growing up on Wadmalaw Island and knowing that no matter where life takes you, home will always call you back.
Foods From the Land
With 100 recipes, where do you start? After you peruse and drool, I suggest starting with the basics as I did with Brown simple five-ingredient house seasoning that will get the party going for a lot of the dishes in the book. Onion powder, kosher salt, ground pepper, sweet paprika and garlic powder — mix and store in a Mason jar. Done.
Next, decide if you want easy and quick for lunch, slow and low or dinner or something to remedy the snack attack. Dirty rice, fried cabbage and a fancy BLT with pickled red onions top my list for quick and delicious go-to's.
When it is time to be comforted, lean toward the cheesy smoked pasta salad, She Crab soup, fried green tomatoes with a country sauce (yum) and red wine braised oxtails. And don’t forget the Gullah gumbo. If you make one recipe out of this book, this has to be it.
If you bake it, I will eat it, but this time I am going to get it a shot, especially for the upcoming holidays, because who is going to resist Oreo brown delights or sweet potato cheesecake?
Most importantly, I am here for the drinks! Yes! Although summer has passed, I’ve got my eye on the spicy watermelon sangria. But in the meantime, I mixed up a little something she likes to call swamp water (lemonade, iced tea and ginger beer) and had a tasty pairing with my short ribs.
Lastly, I love pickled vegetables, especially red onions and with Brown’s recipes right in front of me, it’s about time that I get to it and hopefully you will too.
“The Way Home” is available and waiting on you. For more recipe teasers, follow Brown on Instagram and, of course tune into “Delicious Miss Brown” on Sundays at 12 pm EST.
You can also listen to Brown talk about her journey and the essence of Gullah Geechee cooking on our podcast, Diaspora Food Stories.
This review contains an affiliate link. Please see our disclosure for more information.