Photo credit: Jody Horton, courtesy Chronicle Books
From Yahoo Food’s Cookbook of the Week: Brown Sugar Kitchen
Ok – it’s time, I have to say it! I am sick and tired of everybody and their brother thinking they have to critique every recipe someone puts online! Cooking and trying new exciting recipes is a wonderful thing, but to be a true foodie, you need an open mind as well as an open mouth! For example, a few minutes ago, I saw a yummy looking photo with a caption on yahoo.com of “Killer Buttermilk Fried Chicken”. When I clicked the link it took me to a page featuring a new cookbook by a chef out of West Oakland, CA Tanya Holland. Her cookbook is called “Brown Sugar Kitchen” and it’s full of great recipes!
All that is great, except immediately after the feature is the comments section! People who simply have to have something to say are putting in their “2 cents” about how all the ingredients she uses are not necessary and how the cooking process is not the one they use and how and why you should follow their advice and do this and that instead of simply trying the recipe as it was given. One of my pet peeves is the comments sections after a recipe where people actually are proud to tell you how they didn’t follow the recipe – instead they added this or omitted that.
My point is, if you didn’t follow the recipe and you changed over 25% of it, then maybe you should just feature yours instead of commenting on someone else’s. These are the same people who would tell Colonel Sanders that 11 herbs and spices were FAR TOO MANY and unnecessary to make Kentucky Fried Chicken and all he really needs is salt and pepper! Come on, can’t we open our mind as well as our mouths and at least try something BEFORE we criticize it? You might even learn something!
I went to culinary school when I was in my 50s and I learned LOTS of stuff that I didn’t know even though I’d been cooking for years. Tanya Holland says that she grew up eating her Mom’s fried chicken but years later learned a new preparation method for chicken that “rocked her world”. I guess my point is, “can’t we all just get along”? The point of online recipes, food blogs, cookbooks and the like is to share what we know with each other. Yes, you can make changes to what you learn, you can turn it upside down and make it your own – no problem. Just don’t do it at the expense of other people’s feelings and hard work.
Who are we to tell someone that “all those ingredients are not necessary”! Unless you try it, how do you know? Maybe what you think you know, based on what you’ve been doing is being improved immensely but you’ll never know it because you won’t even try any other way. OK – everybody, take deep cleansing breaths and repeat after me, “I’ll try not to criticize things that I haven’t tried”! That’s all I ask! Comment away, but please don’t be so one minded about things that you won’t even consider another way! Like my mom used to tell me and my sisters, “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”! I inserted the article below for your viewing pleasure. I left the comments out – for the same reason :)! Congratulations Chef Holland and blessings to you and yours!
Our Cookbook of the Week: Brown Sugar Kitchen
Yahoo Food’s Cookbook of the Week: Brown Sugar Kitchen: New-Style, Down-Home Recipes from Sweet West Oakland (Chronicle Books)
The Team: Brown Sugar Kitchen and B-Side BBQ executive chef and owner Tanya Holland, food writer Jan Newberry, and photographer Jody Horton.
The Restaurant: Brown Sugar Kitchen, which opened in 2008 in gritty West Oakland, California. (Diners will wait in line for nearly two hours if at the end of it they find this pot of gold: buttermilk fried chicken and cornmeal waffles.)
The Cuisine: Soul food, baby. Though she grew up in New York, Holland’s roots are in the American South; her mother is from Louisiana and her father, Virginia. Beyond the renowned chicken and waffles, you’ll find shrimp and grits, gumbo, and pulled pork on the menu—and in the book.
Who Should Buy It: Lovers of salt, sweets, the South, and soul.
Who Shouldn’t: Anyone on a juice cleanse.
Must-Make Recipes: Cornmeal Waffles with Apple Cider Syrup, Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Creole Gazpacho, Dirty Rice, Sweet Potato Scones with Brown Sugar Icing, Westside Julep.
Noteworthy: Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon, who lives in Berkeley, wrote the book’s foreword. “I believe that I could be hauled back from the gates of the Underworld by the prospect of a bowl of Tanya’s shrimp and grits,” he writes.