Betty Jean's Soul Food Restaurant is an idea twenty years in the making. When I was a kid I remember my grandmother and my mother cooking all the time. Food was their way of showing hospitality to whoever came to the house. I learned from watching them. Holidays were extra special. Cooking huge meals was always the hub of Labor Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Easter, and of course Christmas and Thanksgiving.
My grandmother had fried chicken and collard greens down to a science with her assembly of black skillets lard. My mother allowed me to cook with her as a kid. She would let me taste the food for consistency. Her potato salad and banana pudding were my favorites and no could duplicate her cornbread. We cooked everything from scratch, a lost art (even for me).
As a father I got the chance to cook for my children and my wife. Cooking was like therapy for me. I would not let anyone in the kitchen until everything was ready. I enjoyed seeing the satisfaction on the faces of family and friends as they indulge in the fruits of my labor.
Over the years I have stored recipes in the caverns of my mind and have only recently begun to document them. Betty Jean, my mother's name, is an attempt to share many of the family favorites.