A first book from Charita Jones – a.k.a Momma Cherri – is a wonderfully colourful collection of soul food recipes. Soul Food is the food of the deep south of America, borne out of the deprivations of slavery, where a variety of ingredients and dishes, some unique and some shared with other parts of the world, come together to make up a stunning cuisine of spice and flavour. Momma Cherri has taken her version of Soul Food and transplanted it to Britain – fried chicken, ribs, jambalaya, gumbo, prawns, black-eye peas, sweet potatoes, mash, cornbread, key lime pie, pecan pie, pancakes and waffles. If you’re looking for a quick answer to what gives soul food its soul, it is simply to say that it is a cuisine born when you have far more love than money! With stunning photography by Peter Cassidy, this brilliantly original book showcases a great array of soul food classics, given a unique twist by Momma Cherri.
Born in Philadelphia in the 1950s, Charita’s early career was in music, and soul music in particular. She moved to England in the late 1970s, formed an all-girl group called The Street Angels and had a Top 30 hit. Her life was transformed overnight when her soul food restaurant was featured in Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares – he loved her, he loved her food, he loved her restaurant, but he hated the way she ran her business. Now a stunning success, her restaurant continues to thrive while her career as a celebrity TV chef goes on in leaps and bounds – she is a regular on both ITV’s Saturday Cooks and BBC’s Saturday Kitchen.
‘The Queen of Soul Food: a celebrity chef with a difference’
‘This is just the book you’d expect from her: cheerful and full of bold flavours. […] economical cooking with nothing wasted and leftovers imaginatively transformed.’
BBC Good Food
‘Some cracking classic dishes which require no airs and graces.’
Antony Worral Thompson, Daily Express