Cooking is second nature for the fiery singer with a multi-octave vocal range. LaBelle continues to serve up soul food with her signature spice.
If only we knew how quickly Patti LaBelleās sweet potato pies would fly off the shelves at Walmart last fall.
Cooking is second nature for the fiery singer with a multi-octave vocal range. Growing up, she was inspired to make music in the kitchen while watching her parents in their Philadelphia home. āI would go to our little garage and come up with my own sauce recipes and [tell them to] my cat and my dog,ā she says. āThe dog would give me the bark of approval, and the cat would meow.ā
Now many enjoy the tasty treats made from LaBelleās recipes, including a vanilla pound cake and a caramel cake, sold at Walmart. With her brand of sauciness, she also gave tips on the art of cuisine and more on her Cooking Channel specials, Patti LaBelleās Place and Patti LaBelleās Holiday Pies. She prepared meals on the show for Whoopi Goldberg, Michelle Williams and James Wright, whose video review of LaBelleās sweet potato pie went viral.
Wright went to LaBelleās home for Thanksgiving last year and sang with the soul legend in her kitchen; this was captured on video by fellow Philly native Questlove. āWe had church in there,ā she says. āJames is so sweet.ā The next day director and Empire cocreator Lee Daniels stopped by LaBelleās house with his mom. āLee told me Lenny Kravitz told him to come over and get some pie,ā she says. āI said, āDid Lenny send a pie?ā He said, āNo. I know you have a pie up in here.ā I said, āNo, I donāt, Lee.ā I lied, of course. I had one slice left. My better heart said, Let Lee taste the pie. He and his mother tested the pie and loved it. I love to see peopleās faces once they taste my [food]. When they hear one of my songs, I hope they get the same look.ā With more than 50 million albums sold, itās safe to say the acclaimed singer has reached her goal.
Crooning āLady Marmaladeā still remains a big part of LaBelleās life, as she continues to perform around the country and has a new album slated for release later this year. Along with wardrobe, Ms. Patti brings her two electric pans, special forks and fresh garlic cloves while on tour. āI turn it up in my room,ā she says. āI hate room service, and I donāt like going to restaurants all the time because you donāt know whatās in the food. I am a diabetic, and I have to check myself before I wreck myself.ā Last fall she made kale and branzino with heirloom tomatoes and Vidalia onions in her suite and invited her band for dinner: āEverybody got a little plate of Pattiās food on the road.ā
Over the years, LaBelle has adjusted her diet to be healthier. āInstead of frying chicken all the time, I sauteĢ, bake or broil it,ā she says. āI do my kale and greens by themselves or with smoked turkey legs instead of ham hocks. I make my apple pie with agave, sugar substitute or no sugar at all.ā Her love for hot sauce and spice remains, and she enjoys regular bites of one of the worldās hottest kinds of produce, ghost peppers.
At 71, the little girl who shared recipes with her pets now broils chicken for her dog, Mr. Cuddles. Her family cooking legacy is also being passed on to a new generation. āMy son Zuri is my proteĢgeĢ,ā she says. āHe actually learned from my cookbook. He fried three turkeys and 40 turkey legs and wings for Thanksgiving. It was so good.ā LaBelle encourages fellow food lovers to personalize family recipes, like she has done. āImproviseādonāt always measure,ā she says. If you are too strict on teaspoons and tablespoons, āyou can lose some of the soul. When I do my food, I never measure. I freestyle and pray itās going to taste good.ā
Well, Pattiās prayers are answered with empty plates, smiles and sometimes even a song after her food is served.
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