To kick off Black History Month, the diversity crowd at my office organized a soul food cook-off this past Friday. I’m never one to pass up a food event, but at first I demurred. How could I possibly compete against generations of grandmother’s recipes and cooks who have refined their secret barbecue sauce?
But as pointed out in the opening remarks, everyone has their soul food, so I signed up to do greens the Italian way–chard and escarole with garlic, lemon, olive oil, and hot pepper flakes.
I thought I had a chance, especially goosing my entry with a homemade focaccia, but the judges didn’t agree. Nevertheless, I had a great time taste testing the other entries–macaroni and cheese (one with lobster), chicken (smoked and jerked and in Brunswick Stew), and sweet potato desserts (winning sweet potato spice cupcakes and a Portuguese cookie).
But my real prize came when a fellow Italian-American contestant tasted my entry and said with a swooning eye-roll, “These taste just like my grandmothers!”