Who is Momma D?
Dalesia Dilliard is Momma D. Ms. Dilliard learned to cook separately from her Mother and her father. Her Mother hails from the Akron, Ohio. While a youngster, Ms. Dilliard learned all her mother’s southern soul food classics to help out while her mother held down two jobs. After becoming a mother herself, Ms. Dilliard perfected those southern soul food classics and took them to another level.
The key to her culinary excellence really cannot be taught. The one word that best describes Ms. Dilliard is “Giver.” The major ingredient in her food and the key to her success is “love”…real love…for providing those she cares for with the absolute best food she can make.
The Love in Momma’ D’s Food
The person in charge of Craft Services on a Will Smith Movie set once asked Momma D,
“What do you mean by putting love in food? What makes your food taste better than my grandmother’s food?”
This is what she told him.
I’ll use my garden vegetable soup to illustrate what I mean by putting love in my food.
First, I get the freshest herbs (mostly from my own garden) and vegetables from local markets on the day that I prepare the soup.
Second, I create a base which is truly my secret sauce. The base changes somewhat depending on the soup, but for the garden vegetable soup, we start with high-quality low sodium vegetable broth. To the broth, I add whole onions, celery, green peppers, thyme, rosemary, and whole garlic cloves. I let that cook for 1 1/2 hours or until it reaches the luscious viscosity I’m looking for.
The third step is to remove all the solid ingredients from the pot. I discard any rosemary and thyme stems. Then I cut the onion and the green peppers in half and add all the remaining solid ingredients into a food processor. I process until the ingredients are married to one another and mostly creamy.
In the fourth step, I put all the married ingredients back into the pot with the broth and cook it for at least an hour until I get the proper viscosity and taste. That is my baseFresh fish seasoned to perfection, organic tortillas, thinly shredded red cabbage, a homemade mango chutney to die for, finished with a drizzle of my homemade aioli.
The fifth step occurs while the broth is cooking for the second time. That is when I prepare my garden vegetables, making sure the vegetables are cut properly and that I have my specific special spices for the soup.
For the sixth step, I add the garden vegetables and the specific special spices to the base and let it cook for approximately one hour.
The seventh step involves letting the soup rest and marry some more.
Once rested properly, the eight and final step is to arrange the presentation including any condiments that enhance the marriage of the soup ingredients.
To me, love is a verb and cooking is an act of love that I enjoy sharing with those who appreciate great food. Your grandmother may spend the time and effort to cook for you as I will. However, once you taste my soup you may not like the soups you got before Momma D’s.