Cassandra Gaines Founded the
National Soul Food Cook-Off

Cassandra Gaines is making a name for herself in soul food. She founded the National Soul Food Cook-Off which has outgrown its origins in Muskogee and has now hit the road into three other states including Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas. But Cassandra’s first memories of soul food started long before the soul food cook off.

Oklahoma Today Magazine recently interviewed Cassandra and asked what is the biggest misconception about soul food? “That it’s fattening food. We African Americans have learned to cook a healthy way by using smoked turkey or chicken with herbs and spices instead of fatback or pork.” said Cassandra.

Cassandra say the best soul food dishes she ever tasted were fried gizzards and gumbo at the Martin Luther King Soul Food Cook-off. The cook was Linda Goff from Okmulgee who is deceased now, says Cassandra, but her cooking was something to remember her by.

Cassandra said if she could prepare dinner for one living person it would be President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama. “I would make southern-fried chicken, mustard greens, smoked turkey, macaroni and cheese, candied yams, and hot water corn bread, said Cassandra.

Cassandra Shares Her Memories of Making Soul Food with Her Mom

Cassandra remembers making a pan of cornbread as a youngster with her mother RueDoris McBath. Through this experience, she adopted several cooking techniques and recipes from her including her delicious sweet potato pie. She taught Cassandra how to measure the ingredients and how to bring the strings out of the sweet potatoes and make a creamier pie.

Cassandra’s favorite dishes include her mother’s pot roast as she remember her putting all the vegetables and sweet potatoes around the roast as it made its own gravy. This dish was served with toss salad and homemade yeast rolls. Other specialty dishes included smothered pork chops with steamed rice, mustard greens, candied yams, and corn bread. These foods also remind Cassandra of a simpler life and richer foods.

Cassandra and her staff are working on the 2010 calendar and are looking to add new cities to the National Soul Food Cook-off. For more information or to find out if your city would be an appropriate fit, please contact Cassandra's office at:

1-877-757-1055 OR email OR visit her website at Soul Food Cook-Off.

Cassandra Gaines, a true Black History Maker.

Today, Cassandra shares some of her most popular recipes:

Cassy’s Smother Pork Chops

6 lean pork chops
1 medium onion
Lawerys Seasoning Salt
Black pepper
Garlic powder
1 cup of Crisco or vegetable oil
1 ½ cups flour

Wash chops, sprinkle seasoning salt, pepper, garlic powder on both sides of chops. Put flour in shallow dish and roll seasoned pork chops. Pour oil in cast iron skillet. Brown meat on both sides; take meat out of oil.

Pour some of the oil out in the skillet about ½ cup; add flour brown flow in skillet and 1 cup of cold water. If too thick, add another ½ cup. Place meat back in gravy. Slice onions on top and simmer until meat is tender. Makes 6 servings. Best served with steam rice or mashed potatoes.

Cassy‘s Neck Bones
Makes 6 servings

2 large packs of pork neck bones
1 cup diced onions
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
½ cup water

Wash neck bones and put in a shallow pan. Add other ingredients. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1 ½ hours at 350 degrees. Serve 6. Delicious with hot sauce.

Mustard Greens Rue Doris Style
Makes 6 servings

4 bunches curley leaf mustard greens
2 smoke ham hocks
1 smoke turkey leg
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
½ cup onions
2 tablespoons bacon drippings

Break the big stems from the greens and wash four times or until the water turn clear. Roll and cut in strips.

In a big Dutch pot, boil the meat until almost tender about 45 minutes to an hour. Add greens and let simmer for an hour. Serve 6.

Cassy‘s Homemade Sweet Potato Pie
Makes 6 servings

4 large sweet potatoes
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla flavor
1 tablespoon nutmeg
3 eggs
1 can milnot milk
1 stick margarine or butter

Peel potatoes then cut in quarters. Put in Dutch over and add water. Cook until tender. Pour off water. Mash potatoes and add sugar, vanilla, butter, nutmeg. In a separate bowl, beat eggs and add potatoes mixture. Pour milk in mixture; slowly beat until creamy. Pour in three 9 inch pie crust. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hours. Test pie with a tooth pick. If tooth pick comes out clean, your pie is ready.

2010 Soul Food Resources -

Soul Food History - Read about the true history of soul food cooking.

African American Inventors - A list of African American Food Inventors.

Black History Recipes - A collection of recipes especially designed for Black History.

Healthy Soul Food - low fat and delicious soul food recipes.

Tribute to Soul Food Chefs Soul Food Chefs

Soul Food Lover’s Cookbook - Soul Food Cookbook. Three generations of easy to follow family recipes by African American cooks. Own a piece of history. This cookbook is a treasure to own and to use for a lifetime.

Marlon Green, the first black pilot for Continental Airlines. He fought the airlines and won decades later. Read about his amazing flight of courage in the face of discrimination and the battles and struggles he encountered along the way. Marlon Green, a true Black History Maker. Marlon Green’s Story

Food for the Soul Get a Dose of Soul Food History

We must never forget the sufferings and sacrifices that were made by history makers like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He promoted freedom and equality and wanted economic and social justice for all.

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