In August, I chose Soul by Todd Richards as our cookbook of the month, and I have to be honest, I didn’t do a lot of cooking. I was sick and struggling with an intense bout of depression, so I don’t believe I have given Soul its proper dues. What I did get to try, however, went over well with the husband. At least I got that much.
During planning stages, I was very obsessed with the section of the book dedicated to collard greens. This is an ingredient suspiciously absent from my normal cooking, partially due to my upbringing and partially due to stigma that surrounded it. This kind of food is supposedly not the kind of thing white, midwestern people eat, and I did not want to stray from it. I wanted to understand it. The only two recipes I actually got to play with were collard green waffles and collard green fried rice.
These waffles are made in the cookbook to be paired with a smoked trout, but I was unable to find this ingredient. I used them as part of a classic chicken and waffles combination that my husband now refers to as one of the best things I have ever made. I am now obligated to make this for special occasions in the house.
Still, I learned through the recipes that I did get to that the book suffers from what I call ‘project cookery’. Not many of the recipes are good for the weeknight. I wanted to try a salmon croquette recipe, but it calls for a near four hour marinade of the salmon. I don’t have the time for that! Certainly not when I’m sick.
Where our previous book was very much for the weeknight, this one is not. That does not discount it’s value, however. Soul has plenty of fun things to try for a weekend, something special. It will remain on my mind going forward so that I can revisit my views on the book for the end of the year.
Soul is an interested if challenging new look on an American cuisine often overlooked by the culinary community. The book has been well received online, and it’s easy to see why. Soul challenges the cook and the cook’s views about food. You can get it on amazon. Last I checked, it was on sale.
An idea born in Normal, Illinois, Eating Normal hopes to chronicle the eating Experiences of a Red bird.
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