As many of you know, Brandy has made a name for herself in the Wake Div community with her tasty treats and mouth-watering morsels she’s either sold or brought to Coffee Hour on Wednesday mornings. Since she’s had such a positive influence on us as a community, I thought it would be appropriate to put her in the spotlight for this issue.
Brandy prides herself on being a hip hop enthusiast and R&B connoisseur from Rocky Mount, NC. She proclaims through dancing, writing, and other creative and authentic outlets, like cooking. Brandy grew up picking cabbage with her Aunt Lucille, cleaning chicken with her father, and crafting cakes with her mother, all starting at the age of 7. She crowns her mother the “cake queen,” and remembers a common phrase she’d say in the kitchen: “You betta learn to cook what you like to eat.”
Her first time sharing her gift of cooking with others was when her older brother, Solomon, was sick, and she made him a pack of Oodles and Noodles. According to Brandy, after that, “the rest was history.” Some of her favorite things to cook are accompanied by rice or cornbread that sits on your stomach, like red beans and rice, blackened catfish, mixed greens and cornbread, or jambalaya. She loves spicy foods that showcase her mixed Afro-cultural background, which includes eastern North Carolina cuisine and Gullah and Haitian roots.
Brandy hopes to learn how to make oxtails or griot (Haitian-style pork), but is waiting on a request to try it because she doesn’t eat pork herself.
Regarding what cooking means to her, Brandy says,
“Cooking is how I cope. It’s how I remember by family members that have ascended. It brings me home even when I’m not in the presence of family. It allows me to practice patience and it humbles me; there’s a lot of work, time, and care that goes into what I create. Cooking is me-time as well — I don’t like to share the kitchen with nobody.”
Brandy is thankful for the gift and torch that has been passed to her. She says, “Food is always at the center of fellowship, so I just thank God for the responsibility and ministry of food.”
Below are some images of food she’s made, and people who have influenced her as a woman and as a cook: