It sounds like a Black family movie cliche, but growing up near Chicago, my relatives got together for big family dinners a la Soul Food. Nearly every weekend, my parents, siblings and I would pile in the car and make the hour drive from the Northwest suburbs to Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood. We couldn’t wait to visit the gorgeous three-story brownstone that my Grandma Dorothy shared with her sister Aunt Fannie and Uncle Willie.
Aunt Fannie always had an amazing dessert ready: a caramel cake, chocolate meringue pie, strawberry cheesecake or maybe a three-layer coconut cake with caramelized pineapple in between. I loved sweets like the fat kid in 21 Questions loves cake (still do) so I was always more partial to Aunt Fannie’s cooking.
To be fair, my Grandma made a stellar banana cake with a baked-on crust and did some pretty good punches too; I loved stealing tastes of the sherbet punch with sweet sparkling wine or the orangey Southern Comfort punch. But Grandma Dorothy was more serious and practical, so she specialized in the savory dishes: pepper steak, pots of collard greens, cornbread stuffing, sweet potato casserole with marshmallows and deviled eggs.
It’s been years since I sat down to one of those dinners, and I miss them.
When I heard the theme for #LetsLunch was side dishes, I panicked for a minute. Though I can cook up a pot of mustard greens, melt marshmallows on top of sweet potatoes and mix up some stuffing, I don’t actually have a family recipe for any of these. And this week, I sure haven’t had time to cook anything elaborate.
But a quick call to my mom and Grandma Dorothy — who turned 96 this year — yielded her recipe for Deviled Eggs.