Sweetie Pie’s Cookbook: Soulful Southern Recipes from My Family to Yours, by Robbie “Miss Robbie” Montgomery, with Ramin Ganeshram.
Firstly let me admit that I am not a good cook. I make the same things over and over until I can barely stand the taste of my own cooking. Hence I eat out--a lot, but I love cookbooks, especially those with lots of illustrations. I want to know how the finished product is supposed to look, which is still not necessarily how it turns out in my hands. This cookbook not only has the pictures, it has the very foods I want to know how to make better, and in every way healthier. I also enjoy how in keeping with her musical background, Miss Robbie labels her chapters: Opening Acts for appetizers, Main Melody for the entrées, Backup Singers for the sides, and The Big Finish is for desserts. She also provides a bonus called, Extra Tracks and Miss Robbie’s Recipe Playlists where she describes full menus based on the items in her book.
Miss Robbie started out as a singer and became a background singer for many famous artists. She is most known for being one of the Ikettes, singing with Ike and Tina Turner. (Some of you may remember, “A Fool in Love”, or “Proud Mary”, if not here’s a link: She’s the one in the middle!) Illness caused her to hang up the microphone, but not before singing background for the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Patti Labelle, Bonnie Raitt, Glenn Campbell and many others.
Miss Robbie describes being on the road during the 1960’s, doing the “chitlin circuit” and cooking with a hotplate to serve fellow travelers when they couldn’t be served in the places they performed. She knew she was good when they preferred her cooking! Miss Robbie attributes her wonderful cooking to her mother and grandmother. She came from a big family with meager means, but meals were mouthwatering. Nothing was wasted. Like most of us, she learned by watching her mother and then assisting her during meal preparation. What little I know, I remember learning by hanging in the kitchen with my mom or auntie, eager to dip my fingers in the batter or waiting for a sample of whatever was cooking.
Miss Robbie opened her own restaurant in St. Louis, Missouri, and with hard work and persistence, things took off from there. Now she has several restaurants and had her own television show on Oprah Winfrey’s network called, Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s.
Everything in this book looks delicious and I guarantee you will be licking your lips in anticipation of making some of these soulful dishes. My favorite, Sweetie Pie’s Oven-Baked St. Louis-Style BBQ Ribs, but they’re all simply scrumptious and worth trying!
If you like this book you may also like the following available at Virginia Beach Public Library:
Soul Food Love: healthy recipes inspired by 100 years of cooking in a black family by Alice Randall, The Neely’s Celebration Cookbook: downhome meals for every occasion/Patrick Neely and Gina Neely: with Ann Volkwein and The Vegan Soulfood Guide to the Galaxy by Afya Ibomu.