I love to eat. I like old favorites and new culinary adventures, but it's not just the eating I enjoy: It's the sharing. Something special happens when you sit down with family and friends—or even strangers—to share a meal. At that moment, you have a commonality through food, regardless of age, race or gender.
I asked a few folks about recipes and experiences they've had where food has brought people together.
I was raised in New Orleans. My mother always worked long hours, and (I) learned at a young age to either cook or starve. One of the earliest memories I have of food is my godmother Eladine putting a pot of beans on in the morning and letting them cook all day. Ah, the smells that would slowly build up throughout the day would drive (me) crazy. That's been 30-plus years, and now I'm teaching my kids those same recipes. In New Orleans, Monday has always been considered "wash day." You put your beans on in the morning while you do your wash. By the end of the day your clothes are done and so are your beans. Love you Eladine!
—Dave Romines, chef in Jackson
My family makes homemade sorbet every summer as a welcoming summer event. Throughout the season, we choose different juices to experiment with. We let our daughter choose the juice she would like to try and the fruit she wants to add in. Then we all sit around watching the ice cream maker spin around.
You know the old saying, "A watched pot never boils"? Well, the same goes for the ice-cream maker. It's worth the wait, though. The sorbet is outstanding, and Blair has a blast. I hope this is something special that she will remember when she grows up and will maybe try with her kids one day.
—Lydia Chadwick, JFP graphic designer
My daughter Xenia's favorite porridge is especially good in the winter. It's also good cold from the fridge.
Since it takes 30 minutes to cook, put it on before you take your shower in the morning. Steel-cut oats make a breakfast porridge that requires chewing (it's not mushy!) It's also good with a dollop of Greek yogurt, if you want it creamier and not quite as sweet.
—Art Minton, RentJackson.com
Share recipes and more on the Jackson Free Press food Facebook page, JFP Bite Club.
Eladine's Wash Day Beans
4 cans Blue Runner red beans (cream style)
3 ribs of celery, 1/4-inch dice
1 green pepper, 1/4-inch dice
1 medium onion, 1/4-inch dice
1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
4 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 pound smoked sausage cut into 1/2-inch coins (The best I've found is Country Pleasin'.)
1 teaspoon Tabasco
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Place a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the sausage. When it starts to release some oil, add the celery, onion, green pepper and bay leaf. Cook for eight to 10 minutes.
Add the garlic, beans, salt, pepper and thyme. Add two quarts of water and reduce the heat to a simmer. Allow to cook for one-and-a-half to two hours. Stir on occasion so not to burn the beans. Add the Tabasco right before service. Adjust with salt or pepper
Serve on a bed of fluffy rice.
Prepare a quarter cup of rice per person. To cook rice, bring two cups water and one teaspoon of kosher salt to a boil. Pour one cup of rice in a large bowl and rinse thoroughly with cold water to remove excess starch. Water will start to run clear when rice is ready to cook.
When water is boiling, add the rice and stir. Cut heat down to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest for three to five minutes before serving.
Chadwick Family Homemade Sorbet
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 egg white
1 cup 100% fruit juice, your choice.
Fresh fruit optional
Create simple syrup by adding sugar to two cups of water and boiling for one minute. While that's boiling, beat the egg white with a stand mixer until frothy. Slowly drizzle the simple syrup into the frothy egg white, the froth will create a layer on top. Let this mixture cool.
After the mixture has stopped steaming, pour in the juice and stir. Chill in refrigerator at least an hour. Pour the chilled mixture into your ice cream maker and let it run about 20 minutes.
Freeze what you don't eat in a safe container.
I've made sorbet with plain orange juice, something I usually have on hand, and I've also made it with blueberry-pomegranate juice, throwing in some fresh blueberries.
Xenia's Favorite Porridge
4 cups apple juice
1 cup steel-cut oats (bulk from Rainbow Co-op)
Handful of raisins
1 apple, cut in pieces, or any other fruit you happen to have on hand (blueberries, peaches, figs, etc.). My favorite is cherries. Personally, I don't think it's possible to add too much fruit.
Bring apple juice to boil. Add oats and raisins, and reduce to simmer. Cook 22 minutes, add the remaining fruit and cook eight to 10 more minutes.
Gourmet popcorn is easy to make at home. All you need are spices and salt-and-pepper shakers from your local dollar store. For pizza popcorn, combine two tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese, one teaspoon oregano and a half teaspoon of tomato powder. For spicy popcorn with some kick, mix together one teaspoon chili powder, a half teaspoon seasoning salt and a half teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes. Also have available a shaker full of each of the following: lemon pepper, Creole seasoning and taco seasoning (from a dry packet.)