All Articles Tagged "food"

Spaghetti Remix: 14 Creative Recipes

June 29th, 2015 - By Rich
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Spaghetti is a preferred meal of many moms and dads because it’s simple to make, inexpensive, and loved by even the pickiest eating toddlers. While most know the standard way to prepare spaghetti with noodles and tomato sauce, but have you considered spaghetti outside of the box? With a bit of creativity, add a twist to your family’s tried-and-true staple with these great recipes from around the web.

Spaghetti Remix: 14 Creative Recipes

Serious Question: Where Are The Soul Food Restaurants Around The World?

May 29th, 2015 - By Charing Ball
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Corbis

Corbis

Yesterday morning I woke up craving grits and catfish. Problem? I’m in Cape Town, South Africa, and have been for the past couple of months and, unlike home, where there are soul food spots on just about every corner, there are no places here that serve the traditional African American delicacy.

I set out to find a restaurant that served anything close. That turned up nada. I went to one restaurant known for their seafood and asked if they had catfish, however all the hostess heard me say was “cat” and then she subsequently frowned her face and told me I was in the wrong part of Africa for that. I went from supermarket to supermarket, but there was not a black eyed pea or blue and white Jiffy cornbread mix box to be found in the vast land. Defeated, I decided to make the next best thing: red speckled sugar beans curry and stew perch and putu pap, just like somebody’s South African grandma used to make. It was tasty. But it was just not the same. I need some collard greens, some fried chicken with tons of hot sauce, some baked macaroni and cheese and some hush puppies, dammit.

Throughout my short travels around the world, I’ve always wondered why soul food has been missing from the culinary exchange. The time I visited Brazil I remember walking down the strip near my hotel room in Salvador Bahia and being inundated with restaurant choices from Italian, to Chinese, to Mexican and even Thai. And yet there was not a single place to get a decent hoppin’ john or good gumbo.

I had the same feeling and experience in The Netherlands. And in Jamaica. And in Ghana. And now South Africa. However, there is a KFC…

I remember being in Ghana a year after it got its first franchise peddling the 11 herbs and spices. It was in Osu, which is in central Accra, and was a multi-level structure, almost three times the size of any KFC I have seen in America. A couple of my local friends told me of the excitement folks there had upon its grand opening. Not only were there lines around the block, but people wore their best Sunday outfits for the occasion. Today, the chain, which once tried to position itself as a soul food restaurant, is now on its third restaurant in Ghana and has since opened up franchises in the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Mauritius, Swaziland, Lesotho and Mozambique.

And yet, an authentic soul food restaurant has yet to make its mark in the place where most of its ingredients and cooking techniques originated.

And why not? It’s not like folks throughout the world don’t have a taste for global cuisine. Heck there isn’t a modern place in this world that doesn’t consider eating “exotic” foods a matter of showing one’s social status and how supposedly cultured we are. Surely Soul Food has a place in the fine dining global experience?

And so what if soul food is loaded with fats and high cholesterol. Mexicans are the fattest people in the world, but that hasn’t stopped us from chowing on half-priced tacos and margaritas. Italian people are pretty heavy too (According to the UK Daily Mail, 36 percent of Italian boys and 34 percent of girls are considered overweight or obese), but I don’t see the global community pushing the pasta away from their plates. So why, too, can’t soul food have a global audience appreciating it?

The thing is, it’s happening right under our noses.

In the piece titled, Like it or Not, Soul Food is Black History Too, I wrote about popular Charleston, South Carolina, “Southern food” chef Sean Brock who took a trip to West Africa a couple of years ago in an effort to trace the roots of several popular soul food dishes. He found them in Dakar, Senegal. As noted in the Food and Wine article about his trip:

“Throughout his visit, Brock was scribbling down notes in a red book and communicating with the cooks in his kitchens back home, sending them changes to menus in real time. At one point, as he watched Ly steam rice over a pot of aromatic broth to infuse it with flavor, he cried out, “Genius! Why don’t we do this?” He then promptly emailed his sous chef to tell him about it. “I would love to see what I’ve learned here not just on my menus, but on low-country menus everywhere,” he says. “Western African traditions have shaped one of the oldest cuisines in America, but as we modernized these dishes, they lost their soul. We owe it to both Southerners and Western Africans to find it back again.”

And as I noted in my previous piece, there was not one single sentence in the article that bothered to mentioned how the traditional style of West African cooking and recipes managed to end up on these shores. (Here’s a hint: it has to do with the Transatlantic Slave Trade, which not only on produced free labor out in the fields but in the kitchens as well. For more specific information, see this article by Christina Regelski on the history of cornbread, okra, greens and yes, even barbecue in the South). In fact, the term “soul food” is nowhere to be found in the article. Instead the author, as well as Chef Brock, opted to use the more racially inclusive term, “southern food.”

Food gentrification is not just happening stateside. Over the last decade or so, London, UK, has seen an explosion of sorts of “American Southern Food” restaurants serving everything from BBQ, okra, hoppin’ john and other traditional soul food recipes.The thing is, the grand majority of these restaurants are owned by white people whose roots are nowhere close to these shores, let alone the American Black community. One such example of this culinary white washing is the very popular Anna Mae’s Street Food truck, which has been profiled in not only the Guardian UK but also British GQ as a favorite among the Southern Food eatery. Only thing is that Anna Mae is not run by an older Black woman with a southern drawl as the name would suggest. Anna Mae is a petite white woman who said that she and her equally white husband Tony got the “Southern Food” truck idea from her many visits to the States, including soul food eateries in Harlem, NYC.

Now I am not a chef; I am a writer. Therefore, the chances of me opening up a soul food eatery in South Africa are close to nil. Still, for a long time we have been taught our food is bad, unhealthy and not worth the scraps from the table it was taken from. But obviously folks like it. And they like it enough that they are running with it worldwide. The problem is that we, the creators of this cuisine, are nowhere to be found in Soul Food’s globalization. And that means that not only are we not profiting off our own creation, but it also means that our history is once again being erased and washed over. So perhaps it is time that those of us who are professional chefs and restaurant proprietors to begin setting up shop in places outside of the U.S? God knows, Harlem, Philly, Chicago, and Memphis don’t need another soul food restaurant.

 

Get Your Burger On!: 15 Best Burgers Around the Country

May 18th, 2015 - By Rich
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Did you know that May is National Hamburger Month? As if we need a full 31 days to indulge in red meat, we thought it would be fun to drool over a few delicious patties around the U.S. So, pack your bags and get ready to travel because we are taking a look at some of the best burgers around the country!

Get Your Burger On!: 15 Best Burgers Around The Country

Cultural Cuisine: 12 Slow Cooker Recipes from Around the World

April 13th, 2015 - By Rich
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Go around the world in…well, a lot less than 80 days with savory (and simple) slow cooker recipes your whole family will love. From Africa to Indonesia, these exotic dishes will take your taste buds on a trip they’ll never forget.

Cultural Cuisine: 12 Slow Cooker Recipes from Around the World

Busy Mom Approved: 12 Tasty Make Ahead Meals

April 2nd, 2015 - By Rich
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Your days of dreading the words, “What’s to eat?” are over, thanks to these 12 time-saving make ahead meals. Kid-friendly, mom approved, and ready when you need ’em. Who says there’s anything wrong with frozen food?! It’s okay to give yourself a break with these easy family meals.

Busy Mom Approved: 12 Tasty Make Ahead Meals

Can You Eat Your Way To Thin? 15 Foods That Help You Lose Weight

March 31st, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Ready to kiss those hunger pangs goodbye? These foods help you lose weight by tackling cravings before they start and burning calories as you eat them.

Working It Out: The Eating Habits That Led To My 63-Pound Weight Loss

March 25th, 2015 - By Brande Victorian
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Working It Out is a health/fitness column chronicling MadameNoire Manging Editor Brande Victorian’s journey to drop the pounds and get healthy. Follow more of her story on BrandeVictorian.com.

March 12, 2015 vs. October 20, 2014

March 12, 2015 vs. October 20, 2014

A month ago, I revealed that I’d dropped 54 pounds within five months and many of you asked me to share details on the eating habits that got me there. Now with a total loss of 63 pounds under my belt, I’ve narrowed down a few key behaviors that have contributed to my success. Keep in mind, I am not a nutritionist, personal trainer, or doctor, but I can say that incorporating these methods has helped me stay on track during the past six months.

1. Counting Calories: Weight loss is math. About 3,5000 calories equals one pound. If you want to lose one pound per week, you must have a deficit of 3,500 calories per week, which would mean eating 500 less calories per day. I went about my current weight loss journey more aggressively, with an average loss of about 2.5 pounds per week, which means on any given day I eat about 1300 less calories than I expend.

To figure out how many calories to eat, I recommend an online calorie calculator like this one that takes into consideration your height, weight, age, and activity level, and recommends a small range of calories you can eat to lose, burn, or maintain your current weight.

2. Measuring Everything I Eat (and Drink): Yes, I have poured vodka in a liquid measuring cup before putting it in a glass with a splash of club soda and lemon and lime. Don’t judge me! Part of counting calories is making sure you’re calculating the right amount. While there are plenty of portion guides that will tell you four ounces of chicken is equal to the inner palm of your hand, I’m pretty anal about knowing the caloric value of everything I eat. So before anything goes in a baking pan or my stomach, it hits a food scale or measuring cup. #PortionControlOnFleek

3. Logging Everything I Eat: After I measure my food, I log it. I won’t act like this isn’t one of the more meticulous aspects of my journey (especially when calculating the total calories for a dish with a million ingredients), but for those times I step on the scale and don’t see the figures I expect, knowing that I didn’t underestimate my calories (and can therefore likely chalk up the disappointment to water weight or muscle gain) gives me peace of mind. I currently use DotFit to log all of my food because it comes with my Crunch personal training but prior to this I used MyFitnessPal.

Logging not only keeps me organized, but it keeps me accountable. It’s easy to convince yourself that you didn’t eat that many baked tortilla chips, but when you actually count and log your portions you know whether there really is room in your caloric budget to have that late-night snack you’re craving or if you need to drink some water and lay yourself down.

4. Tracking Calories Burned: If you want to take the accuracy of your caloric input and output to the next level, I recommend some method of calorie tracking. I use an Exerspy, again, via Crunch, and a couple of my coworkers use a FitBit. There are a couple of benefits to calorie tracking. The most obvious being that when you know how many calories you’ve expended, you know exactly how much you can eat to hit your deficit goal (again, weight loss is math). Calorie tracking also serves as a reminder to get moving. If it’s 4 p.m. and you’re thinking about skipping the gym tonight but you’re nowhere near 10,000 steps for the day, you know you need to get your butt moving! Third, we also tend to overestimate the number of calories we burn working out at the gym — as do the exercise machines we use — and a personal calorie tracker provides the highest level of accuracy.

5. Giving Up Everything I Thought I Loved: I don’t want to be too TMI, but the fact that I would end up on the toilet in the middle of the night every time I ate Popeyes, which I used to proudly proclaim my love for, should’ve been an indicator that such food wasn’t for my body. That’s why I say I’ve since given up all the food I thought I loved, like fast food (minus the occasional sub from Subway), soda, and even fried food that left me with “the itis” instead of energy.

Protein shakes and bars have been a big part of my diet over the past six months. I typically have two of either option per day, usually either as breakfast or a snack. I mix the shakes with unsweetened almond milk because it tastes better than water and has less calories than skim milk. And even though I’m totally over chicken at this point, I do routinely eat grilled chicken and also shrimp or turkey. For a dose of healthy fats, I almost always cook with either extra virgin olive oil or Pam cooking spray, and I love avocado. My carbs consist of corn tortillas, which I have to chill on sometimes; quinoa, which is considered a super food due to all of its benefits, and green vegetables like spinach that I can admit I don’t always get enough of.

Foods I’ve tried to get away with that my trainer shut down include: grits (oatmeal is more nutritious); canned soup (too much sugar); chips of damn near any kind, from corn, to pita, to spinach, and tortilla, although Quest protein chips have been approved; steak (not a lean meat); and chicken wings (they’re mostly fatty skin, though I do trim a lot of the skin off).

Foods I should be eating more of include: healthy nuts, fish, sweet potatoes (a healthy carb), and Ezekiel bread (if you have to have bread). I’ve included screenshots of some food logs on the next couple pages for more insight into my day-to-day eating.

6. Using #Fitspiration: Instagram has kept me on my toes almost as much as my trainer in two ways: Number one, I follow at least 15-20 women who have lost a significant amount of weight and maintained that loss to remind myself that I can do it too. Seeing their workout and results posts also keeps me from going off track (90 percent of the time) when I want to say eff it and either eat something I have no business or skip workouts. I also follow another dozen women or so who post healthy recipes. They help me switch up my meals and enjoy eating healthy more.

Hopefully this helps you on your journey. Of course, if you have questions leave them below. FYI, I’m currently working on a way to visually share my workout routine with you as well.

15 West Indian Recipes You’ll Want Tonight

March 24th, 2015 - By Rich
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Take a trip through the Caribbean, bringing the colorful flavor and flair of the islands to your table with these wonderfully delicious West Indian recipes. Make them tonight, make them this weekend….either way, everyone will be satisfied!

15 West Indian Recipes You’ll Want Tonight

12 Healthy Super Bowl Snacks

January 29th, 2015 - By Rich
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Don’t let the big game get in the way of your New Year’s weight loss goals. Score major points minus the major guilt with these tasty, healthy Super Bowl recipes.

12 Healthy Super Bowl Snacks

Snack Time Fun: 15 Delicious Choices For Your Kids

January 16th, 2015 - By Rich
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Never pass up an opportunity to have fun with your babies. Make snack time fun by shaping certain fruits or vegetables into unique shapes. It may be time consuming but trust, it will be so much fun to watch your kids respond to the look. Click continue to check out some delicious choices inspired by some of the coolest blogs on the web!

Snack Time Fun: 15 Delicious Choices For Your Kids

main photo: www.livejournal.com