Memories of hot cocoa—a cup of warm comfort

Multiculturalcookingnetwork.com-I used to drink chocolate milk when I was a kid; it was a real quick fix. Just pour some milk in a glass and add two tablespoons of the powdered chocolate and that was it. This wasn’t my favorite beverage, but it was a good enough drink to settle down with on a Saturday or after school on a weekday. Sometimes my mother bought the powdered strawberry mix, but I didn’t drink the strawberry milk. That often stayed right in the cabinet unused. It wasn’t until I was just out of college and visiting my aunt at Christmas when I tasted something different—hot cocoa. Now, I’m not going to say that I never had hot cocoa before because I’m sure that I did, but this time it was so memorable.

Take an occasion like Christmas. Add on a spoonful of Christmas music like Donny Hathaway and little Michael Jackson from the Jackson 5 Christmas Albuma classic in a lot of African American families).  Sprinkle in some family with just a pinch of understanding about how precious this Christmas was because it would probably be our last holiday with my aunt, who was dying from an incurable disease. Then serve this reality with a cup of hot cocoa fully loaded with marshmallows from the hand of that loved one. This made for a special cup of hot cocoa and a memorable experience.

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Written by Monica Johnson

Restaurants open in Harlem for Thanksgiving

Whether you can’t cook or don’t want to cook if you are looking for a place to eat in Harlem on Thanksgiving.  The following restaurants will be open.

Melba’s

300 West 114th Street

212-284-7777

Will have a three course prefix Menu for $45

Website: http://www.melbasrestaurant.com/

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Amy Ruth’s

113 West 116th Street

212-280-8779

On the Menu: Prefix Meal for Thanksgiving, in additon to the regular authentic southern cuisine menu items

Website: http://www.amyruthsharlem.com/

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Billie’s Black

271 West 119th Street

212-280-2248

On the Menu: Upscale Gourmet Soul food

Website: http://www.billiesblack.com/

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Red Rooster

Prefix Menu for $55

Website:  http://redroosterharlem.com/

For more info about Harlem visit uptown flavor at: http://uptownflavor.com/

Weird Freak Out Incident with Paula Deen on Today Show

Just about everyone loves Southern Belle Paula Deen who could affectionately be called the Food Network’s First Lady.  Heck, she’s even  had Michelle Obama on her show during President Obama’s presidential run.  Gives you an idea how influential Paula is to a community of people. 

Unfortunately,  Ms. Comfort Food was put out of her comfort zone, scared to death when a freaky incident happened on the Today Show last week.    See what happened:

The continuation:

Best Soul Food…I mean Southern Cuisine Restaurants

by Crystal A. Johnson-letter from the editor

There is the old expression, “If it looks like a duck, it is probably a duck.”  That’s what “Southern Cuisine” looks like to me.  Collard greens, cornbread, catfish and sweet potato pie are soul food in my book but I understand those foods have a common ground which extends beyond the borders of a soul food heritage.  Gone are the days of say it loud, “I’m soul food and I’m proud.” People say the term Southern Cuisine is all inclusive.  We do not want to alienate anyone. Mexican food restaurant in the title would not stop me from entering El Torito and neither would Chinese food in a title.  Read my popular Los Angeles Examiner article on Southern Cuisine Vs. Soul food.  It begs the question of whether soul food has a bad connotation to it. 

With respect to the restaurants listed below, I shall reveal some of the best “Southern Cuisine spots.”  If your restaurant isn’t listed, invite me to check it out.  If you think you know a better place for Southern Cuisine, email MCCN  at multiculturalcookingnet@gmail.com.  Look out for a people’s choice list of Southern Cuisine spots on the upcoming official website.

Ms Peaches-North Hollywood, California

Why did it make the list? 

  • The owner’s  healthy preparation and consideration to serve  healthier food to customers when it comes to Southern Cuisine.
  • Desserts- All bets are off! You want fabulous desserts like grandma use to make.  Look no further (Click on Article below)

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Ms. Peaches brings southern cuisine to the heart of North Hollywood

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Connell Moss owner of Ms. Peaches

Mary Helen’s Southern Cuisine-Hampton, Virginia

Why?  This is the south, like it or not, pig feet and chittlins(yes, I spelled like it is said rather than correctly)  are on the menu.  And the pig feet is good, really good.  The collard greens… Oh yes, why go on about it when I written about it. Click below:

http://www.examiner.com/x-9408-LA-Comfort–Soul-Food-Restaurant-Examiner~y2009m7d15-East-Coast-Pit-Stops-In-Search-of-ComfortFood-in-Virginia

Red Springs Cafe- Baltimore, Maryland

Why?  The food is darn good.  When people make me try something that I don’t normally like and it is good then I am impressed.  Great coconut cake.  I don’t like coconut anything normally.  Read more:

http://www.examiner.com/x-9408-LA-Comfort–Soul-Food-Restaurant-Examiner~y2009m7d28-East-Coast-PItstops-Seeking-ComfortFood-in-Baltimore-Part-II

Sylvia’s- Harlem, New York

Although I have never written a review on this classic well known spot, the memory of the flavorful experience of smothered fried chicken lingers.

Having a Taste For it, What is Food to You?

by Crystal A. Johnson

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As a restaurant reviewer of Comfort food for the Los Angeles Examiner, I find that it is a tall order to review comfort food.  What is comfort food?  Many things to many people which bring them the comforts of home, culture or extended experiences. (Read more at link below.

 

http://www.examiner.com/x-9408-LA-Comfort–Soul-Food-Restaurant-Examiner~y2009m7d20-Having-A-Taste-for-It–What-Comprises-Your-Description-of-Comfort-Food