Style and Sound of Soul Meals and Music Competition proves to be crowd pleaser

“Large turkey legs” trumpeted a banner on one of many cubicles on the Style and Sounds of Soul Meals and Music Competition this previous weekend, and so they weren’t kidding. Virginia Johnson was delicately nibbling on one of many bony behemoths as she thought-about simply why she had come out for her 10th soul pageant. Was it the tradition? The music? The camaraderie?

It got here all the way down to this, the Las Vegas resident mentioned: “As a result of we knew the meals distributors have been going to be right here.”

And have been they ever. With a backdrop of DJ music booming all through the Fremont Avenue Expertise and within the shadow of zip liners zooming by overhead, the gang had one goal: the meals being offered alongside Third Avenue north of Fremont.

Soul meals, formed by the ethos of Southern delicacies, leans closely to what most individuals consider as consolation meals. The custom was largely developed by slaves and different poor farmworkers within the Civil Battle-era South and mirrored a lot of what was happening within the kitchens of the primary homes.


Variations arose from the buying and selling of difficult-to-obtain substances for these extra available within the slave quarters and tenant shacks, resulting in such conventional dishes as collard (or some other form of) greens with smoked pork stomach. A lot of them have been so skillfully developed that the delicacies seepage began working within the different course, and rising prosperity led to dishes akin to macaroni and cheese reaching iconic standing.

Soul meals has lengthy been effectively represented in Las Vegas, with smaller locations coming and going and established spots akin to M&M Soul Meals, Gritz Cafe, Ella M’s, Soul Meals Cafe and Mario’s Westside Market enduring. Others departed however left their mark; who might neglect Huge Mama’s on Bonanza Street? Or H&H Barbecue on Martin Luther King Boulevard, which burned one Sunday night time however was represented on the pageant by a meals truck?

As is the case with the delicacies typically, the soul meals on the pageant showcased barbecued virtually all the pieces, the savory smoky aromas cloaking even the diesel exhaust of the vehicles going by on Ogden Avenue. It was joined by such soul-food stalwarts as fruit cobblers and fried fish, shrimp and hen.

There additionally have been carefully associated Cajun and Jamaican meals, and Caribbean-style hollowed pineapples crammed with fruit and juice or smoothie. After which there have been meals largely belonging to different culinary traditions, kielbasa and bratwurst, grilled teriyaki platters, gyros and funnel muffins.

Alyson Dias, managing the sales space for Stone’s Jamaican Delicacies of Los Angeles, mentioned it was the 14th yr the corporate had been on the pageant.

“It’s been nice for us,” Dias mentioned. “We like this neighborhood. We’ve quite a lot of associates right here.” Additionally a presence at festivals akin to Reggae within the Desert and the Jazz and R&B Competition, “we’re right here in Vegas very often,” she famous.

The weekend pageant held different diversions. The Southern Nevada chapter of the Buffalo Troopers had a sales space, and there was a barbershop for these in want of a fast trim.

However to know the actual focus right here, one wanted solely to speak to Las Vegas resident Sabra Lessnick. Simply down the row from the sales space providing Soul D’Licious seasonings and in earshot of the Justa Lil Candy Truffles man promising festivalgoers they might “attempt before you purchase,” Lessnick was standing at a desk, ending off a plate of barbecue. She and good friend Lynne Smith mentioned they usually attend such festivals.

“We’ve already carried out the hen; it was actually good,” she mentioned. “The spicy sausage, the banana pudding pie was actually good …” Out of the blue Lessnick stopped.

“I’ve been understanding at Las Vegas Match Physique Boot Camp,” she mentioned, perhaps somewhat sheepishly. “This was my one cheat day.”

In the event you’d prefer to attempt creating some soul of your individual, listed below are a number of recipes:


Four tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for baking dish

Coarse salt and freshly floor pepper

three cups elbow macaroni

Two 12-ounce cans evaporated milk

1/three cup skim milk

2 massive eggs

½ teaspoon seasoned salt

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Two Eight-ounce packages extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated

One Eight-ounce package deal Monterey Jack cheese, grated

Paprika, for sprinkling

Warmth oven to 375 levels. Generously butter a 13-by-9-inch glass baking dish; put aside. Convey a big pot of water to a boil; add salt and macaroni. Cook dinner till al dente based on package deal instructions. Drain and return to pot. Add butter and toss till pasta is coated and butter has melted; put aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk collectively evaporated milk, skim milk and eggs. Add seasoned salt, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper; put aside. In one other medium bowl mix cheeses; put aside.

Place 1/three macaroni in a fair layer within the backside of ready baking dish; cowl evenly with 1/three cheese. Repeat with remaining macaroni and cheese combination. Pour milk combination evenly over contents of baking dish. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake till prime layer is flippantly browned, 35 to 45 minutes. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes earlier than serving.

— Martha Stewart Residing


Four cups chopped cooked ham

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

three tablespoons all-purpose flour

three cups hen broth

One 14-ounce package deal frozen diced onion, bell pepper and celery combine

One 16-ounce package deal frozen chopped collard greens

One 15.Eight-ounce can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained

½ teaspoon dried crushed purple pepper

Vegetable cooking spray

Cornbread crust batter (recipe follows)

Saute ham in scorching oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high warmth 5 minutes or till flippantly browned. Add flour and cook dinner, stirring continually, 1 minute. Steadily add hen broth and cook dinner, stirring continually, three minutes or till broth begins to thicken.

Convey combination to a boil and add onion, bell pepper and celery combine and collard greens; return to a boil and cook dinner, stirring usually, 15 minutes. Stir in black-eyed peas and crushed purple pepper; spoon scorching combination right into a flippantly greased (with cooking spray) 13-by-9-inch baking dish.

Cornbread crust batter: Mix 1½ cups white cornmeal combine, ½ cup all-purpose flour and 1 teaspoon sugar. Make a effectively in heart of combination and add 2 flippantly crushed massive eggs and 1½ cups buttermilk, stirring simply till moistened.

Pour batter evenly over scorching filling combination. Bake at 425 levels for 20 to 25 minutes, or till cornbread is golden brown and set.

Serves Eight to 10.

— Southern Residing


Two 3½-to Four-pound chickens, every lower into 10 items (breasts halved)

1 tablespoon freshly floor black pepper

2 tablespoons plus Four teaspoons kosher salt (divided use)

Four massive eggs

2 cups buttermilk or entire milk

2 tablespoons vinegar-based scorching sauce (akin to Tabasco or Texas Pete)

Four cups all-purpose flour

Vegetable oil (for frying; about 10 cups)

6 tablespoons cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons darkish brown sugar

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon paprika

White bread and sliced pickles (for serving)

Toss hen with black pepper and a couple of tablespoons salt in a big bowl. Cowl and chill no less than three hours.

Whisk eggs, buttermilk and scorching sauce in a big bowl. Whisk flour and remaining Four teaspoons salt in one other massive bowl.

Match a Dutch oven with thermometer; pour in oil to measure 2 inches. Warmth over medium-high warmth till thermometer registers 325 levels. Pat hen dry. Working with one piece at a time, dredge in flour combination, shaking off extra, then dip in buttermilk combination, letting extra drip again into bowl. Dredge once more in flour combination and place on a baking sheet.

Working in 4 batches and returning oil to 325 levels between batches, fry hen, turning sometimes, till pores and skin is deep golden brown and crisp and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest a part of items registers 160 levels for chicken and 165 for darkish, 15-18 minutes. Switch to a clear wire rack set inside a baking sheet. Let oil cool barely.

Whisk cayenne, brown sugar, chili powder, garlic powder and paprika in a medium bowl; fastidiously whisk in 1 cup frying oil. Brush fried hen with spicy oil. Serve with bread and pickles.

Be aware: Rooster could be seasoned 1 day forward. Hold chilled.

Serves Eight.

— Bon Appetit

Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at Discover extra of her tales at, and comply with @HKRinella on Twitter.

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