Saturday, March 16, 2013

Weekend Cooking: Maya Angelou's Red Rice

In her newest book, Mom and Me and Mom which is due out on April 2nd, Maya Angelou talks of her monthly lunch dates at her mother's house. For their dates her mother would cook one of Maya's favorite dishes. One particular lunch date stands out in Maya's mind, a date she has aptly dubbed Vivian's Red Rice Day, in which her mother served Red Rice, Maya's favorite food in the entire world. There was also an unadorned roasted capon and lettuce salad, but the rice was the star of the show.

One of my favorite quotes from the book is from after that lunch. As they were about to go their separate ways, Maya's Mother stopped her and said,
"Baby, I've been thinking and now I am sure. You are the greatest woman I've ever met." She continued. "You are very kind and very intelligent and those two elements are not always found together."

Maya included the recipe in her fantastic cookbook Hallelujah! The Welcome Table: A Lifetime of Memories with Recipes which was published back in 2004. To call it just a cookbook is a gross misrepresentation, as she includes great personal stories to go with the recipes. The recipes are for simple, Southern comfort foods. Sadly, I don't own a copy, but have read it cover to cover on more than occasion thanks to the library.

I remember when it was first published, Maya was a guest on Oprah (they are dear friends) and Oprah called Maya's Smothered Chicken "suffocated chicken"! It's that good. Oprah has the Smothered Chicken recipe on her site.

Maya Angelou's Red Rice recipe:

½ pound thick sliced bacon
1 cup chopped onions
½ cup chopped red bell peppers
2 cups canned tomatoes
6-ounce can tomato paste
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
4 cups cooked white rice
2 cups water

Fry bacon in a large skillet on medium heat until brown, stirring with fork. Add onions and peppers. Cover and cook for two to three minutes. Remove lid and add remaining ingredients; mix well. Bring to boil, about three minutes. Stir vigorously; cover again and cook over very low heat for about 15 minutes until rice and liquid are totally mixed.

Makes eight servings.

One of my favorite foods my mom makes for me is Potato Soup. I've requested it for my birthday many-a-year. I can make my own, sure, but Mom's tastes better :)

I'd love to hear about your favorite foodie memories.

Thanks for stopping, it was lovely to see you.
Talk to you soon,

Weekend Cooking, hosted by Beth Fish Reads, is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.


  1. That red rice sounds tasty. My favorite food memories are having my entire family over for holiday meals- everyone laughing and eating and having a good time.

  2. This recipe is so simple, but I bet it is very good. I think I might have this cookbook buried somewhere in the bookcases in my basement. I'll have to dig it up and see what other gems are in it.

  3. I've made Maya's cornbread before but now must try this red rice recipe! Sounds great, thanks. :)

  4. The only thing I always ask my mom to make for me is fudge. She learned to make it from her mother. Even though I think the recipe was on the marshmallow fluff container originally, we think of it as a family recipe!

    1. Ooooh, I love fudge. I love the family recipes passed down from the backs of labels. My grandma makes the best cornflake-crusted chicken :)

  5. I went and checked that other recipe out...that smothered chicken looks might tasty too.

    1. Doesn't it though? I had completely forgotten about it until I wrote this post. The recipe you posted for parsley sauce sounds absolutely delicious!

  6. This sounds amazing. That pic on the cover of her is fab btw.

    1. I haven't made it yet, but I think I will this week sometime. Wouldn't it be great to meet her in person?

  7. I think I have her cookbook somewhere in this house. I'll have to dig it out and then look for her new book next month.

    1. I love that cookbook! Her newest installment is a good read.


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