August is just around the corner, and to welcome it, I have chosen Soul by Todd Richards as our August cookbook of the month. I was first introduced to Todd Richards by a Bon Appetit podcast on July 5th where Adam Rappaport had him in for an interview. They talked extensively about the cookbook and some of the recipes within it, and I knew instantly this would be one to add to my list. This cookbook would be a new experience for me.
Todd Richards is a James Beard Award nominated chef from Atlanta, self taught by years and years in restaurants. I can really appreciate this kind of grit, but what sets him apart from the other chefs who’ve provided my monthly cookbooks is that he is an African American Chef, part of a vastly underrepresented demographic in cooking despite the deep impact of African American cooking on the American experience.
I was fascinated by his journey as he told it on the July 5th podcast, and so when his cookbook arrived on my doorstep this week. I was excited to see where his journey would take me. Already, I can see that he balks at the stereotype of soul food that I have in in my head. Yes, there is an entire section devoted to collard greens. But do you know how he tops that bad boy off? Collard Green Ramen. Collard. Green. Ramen.
I have never actually cooked collard greens for a variety of reasons. Firstly, I didn’t know what they looked like. Secondly, I never had a recipe that didn’t sound like a pot of boiled leaves. Todd Richards makes this ingredient welcoming to me, and I will be tackling it for sure.
On deck for cooking this month:
If these little peeks aren’t enough to convince you to cook along with me, may I just say that Amazon voted this cookbook as the best of 2018 so far? Even in just a cursory look through at Todd Richards’ recipes has me very excited to begin cooking his unique southern dishes. I very much look forward to shattering both expectations and stereotypes I’ve developed over the years regarding both southern and African American cooking through this cookbook.
An idea born in Normal, Illinois, Eating Normal hopes to chronicle the eating Experiences of a Red bird.
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