Friday, March 13, 2015

More How to Cook Videos soon! is baaaaaaack!

After thousands of requests, I am excited to announce that I will start taping again this week!  Thank you for over 600,000 views and thousands  of subscribers even though I have not made a video in 6 years!  Your positive feedback and reinforcement has made me put a camera back in the kitchen.

My goal is to upload 100 video recipes in the next 6 months.  I have had so many requests over the years and I will videotape all of them for you.  And yes, I will include the obvious but yet unpublished, fried chicken and macaroni and cheese.  I will also include some not so expected things that I have loved over the years.  It won't just be soul food this time folks. I will prepare, Thai, Greek, Indian and other cuisines.  I hope you enjoy them.  This food although not "Soul Food"  speaks to my soul and I hope it does the same to you.

My son is preparing for college, and I will be uploading some very very basic things as well like cinnamon sugar toast so he can feed himself while he is away.  If you see a video that is too easy for you, please pass it on to the college student in your life.

Some other things will be very different.  I no longer live in Georgia. I now live in a Virginia townhome. I am grateful.  It is lovely and very convenient, but I have a much smaller kitchen (one of the reasons I have not filmed).  Still, I have decided to bloom where I am planted and the cooking show must go on! Check out my past video recipes at

Thanks to all of you who have found me in very creative ways.  You called, emailed, facebooked, came to book signings, etc. It was a pleasure to meet each of you. For those who would like to recommend recipes,  Here is all of my contact information:

CookBook: Soul Food: The Basics by Pamela M Holmes
Buy it here: 

What is Seasoned Salt?

I have many international visitors that visit my YouTube page and they do not always have knowledge of Seasoned Salt.  Seasoned Salt is a combination of spices by various companies that basically make up the main spices in soul food.  Those spices are salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika.  Some add sugar.  The most popular Seasoned Salt in my family is Lawry's. It goes on meat, vegetables, salads, eggs, almost everything but dessert. If you can't find it at your grocery store, you can get it here.

I Am Serious About My Popcorn

Every night around 8PM, I head to the kitchen to make popcorn.  I absolutely love popcorn with movies, sports, sitcoms, any broadcast media at all.  Popcorn is my wind down treat. Not just any popcorn will do, however.  What do I pop? White popcorn and only white popcorn.  Friends that know of my love for these delicious kernels have gifted me with various and sundry types, black, red, yellow, blah blah blah.  No thank you all.  I want white, non GMO popcorn period. And I never eat microwave popcorn because I do not trust or understand the greasy mess the kernels rest in for years.  I do not like air popped popcorn because there is no oil to hold the seasonings on and it feels like it is choking me to death.  When gourmet air popped popcorn is gifted to me, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, and yeast posing as cheese flies down my throat and up through my nose and I hate the whole experience so NO THANK YOU to air popped popcorn as well.  Give me good old stove popped, white, non GMO popcorn in olive oil seasoned with salt.  Its absolutely perfect in its simplicity and needs no adornment. To change it  is to wreck it.  This is what I do.

I pop my popcorn in a large designated pot that rests on the back burner on my stove the way that tea pots rest on other stoves.  It will be used as surely as the coffee maker will (and the coffee maker will be used.)

Step 1. Which ever pot you use make sure there is a lid.  It need not be tight fitting but you don't want kernels all over your kitchen.

Step 2. Lightly but completely, cover the bottom of the pot with oil.  Depending on the size of the pot this could be from 4-6 tablespoons of oil.  My first preference is extra virgin olive oil but vegetable oil is also delicious. Too little oil leads to very disappointing results (underpopped, less taste).  Too much oil and you have very greasy popcorn.  I stop pouring when the oil just covers the bottom of the pan. Somehow that always works out right.

Step 3. Turn the heat on HIGH under the pot.  Yes high, not medium, not medium high.  Popcorn explodes once the kernel is superheated.  The higher the heat, the bigger the pop and the less popcorn shrapnel will end up in your teeth. Also with high heat, more kernels get to popping temperature so you end up with far less unpopped kernels.

Step 4. Add popcorn.  Again you want to add enough popcorn to just cover the bottom of the pan in a single layer.  Double layers will lead to more unpopped kernels.

Step 5.  Put a large bowl next to the pot because this whole thing will be finished in less than 3 minutes.  You must be ready.

Step 6. Place lid on the pot and leave the pot alone.  Within a couple of minutes you will here popping, lots of popping.  Leave the pot alone. There is no need to shake the pot or to peek.

Step 7. When the popping slows down so that you can hear individuals kernels pop, turn off the heat and holding the lid with one hand and the pot handle with the other, immediately pour this delicious goodness into the closely waiting bowl.

Step 8. Sprinkle the still very hot popcorn with table or sea salt to taste and enjoy. It already has olive oil so there is no need for butter.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

If It's Not Ribs, It's Just Meat

My father, Bo Coleman,  made the best hickory smoked pork ribs on planet earth. Period.  No one has ever made them better.  I have been diligently searching since I last tasted his ribs in 2007. He passed away in 2008 and I have not found a suitable substituted and Lord knows I have tried!

I know everyone feels their ribs are the best. I have had Memphis ribs and dry rub is fine. I have had plenty of Kansas City Ribs and yes,I like Gates. I have had North Carolina ribs but don't believe mustard has any place on slabs.  Houston's ribs have merit, they are very smoky but the sauce is not quite right for me.

We are from St. Louis and truly believe ours are the very best.  Our sauce is both tangy and sweet-Maul's is a good bet.  But we simply start with the bottled sauce.  We then cook that sauce in a saucepan adding brown sugar, dried onions and fresh lemon juice.  We reduce this sauce and that is what we use on our ribs.  The sauce is just a condiment however.  The ribs should be able to stand alone completely without sauce. We believe if they "need sauce"  they are just not right.

The rib tips are removed from the slab of rib and that's what makes them St. Louis style at the grocery store.  We season and cook the rib tips at the same time but never while they are still attached.  The wood is hickory, forget the chips, get logs. Never use mesquite if you want the flavor of St. Louis ribs.   The meat should be cooked in a barrel shaped pit, slow and low.   These barrel smokers are laid vertically and sliced in half with hinges.  They can now be purchased at Home Depot but when I was growing up, Dad had friends that made them for him.

Once the tips are cut away from the rest of the slab, its time to remove the membrane.  Their is a thin tough plastic looking membrane on the back of the ribs. This must be removed with your fingers in order for your ribs to accept the seasoning and in order for them to cook until tender and accept the hickory smoke.  You must pull hard.

The seasonings are always, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika.   While the ribs are cooking, you will sprinkle the ribs with water mixed with white vinegar and the all of the same spices.

As in most delicious food, the secret is not so much the ingredients as the technique.  Dad rubbed the seasonings into the meat with both hands.  He massaged the ribs before cooking. If you are queasy about touching raw meat, you can not be truly great at bar b que ribs. Sorry. Too much salt spoils the whole deal and too little salt shows you don't have enough experience.

Vinegar helped the seasonings soak into the meat.  He would leave the seasoned meat to rest for a while before taking them to the grill.  The meat would only see the pit once the coals were white.  In the fire with the charcoal, was a log of hickory wood.

That's when the magic happened,  Dad's ribs were never done until the meat fell off the bone.  He did not boil, parboil, or use any precooking method.  The ribs were fully cooked in the barrel over a very low fire.

This low and slow process would beckon friends and family from far and wide.  The aroma would draw the ever present flow of visitors to our house and keep them there, almost every summer weekend.

Now that I know how difficult it is to match the greatness of my father's ribs, I bow to his greatness. Now that you know his secrets, you too can be great.  Once condition though, when you master these ribs, I ask that you share  a slab with me.  God Bless You!


Friday, June 10, 2011

The Joy of Soul Food Volume 1: The Basics Now at

My new book, The Joy of Soul Food is now available at!  Please visit the site above to purchase your copy.  God is so good!  This book includes all the basic recipes of soul food.  Most can be prepared in 10 steps are less. The recipes provide all the flavor but with a healthy twist.  So, now you can host the next Sunday Dinner. Noone has to know where you got your skills. 

By the way, the videos for many of the favorite recipes are still available on YouTube!  Bon Appetite!


Monday, July 20, 2009

Our Daily Greens

Every single day of my childhood, we had greens. This is not an exaggeration. Every single day, my father made some type of greens; collards, turnips, mustards, or cabbage. Either they were fresh or they were reheated but they were ubiquitous. To keep the supply constant, my father had a garden in the back yard.

In fact, no one could walk into our front door without walking out the back at his absolute insistence to see his prized garden. It was bountiful. The black soil of St. Louis produced okra that grew to 6 feet tall! We had onions and peppers, tomatoes and squash. We even had a plum and a couple of peach trees.

My Uncle Love (his real name) knocked on our door every morning between 5 and 6 AM for a cup of coffee and came back in the evening for "something boiled." These men loved their vegetables! There was always something boiled at our house and that something included without fail, some type of greens.

My father's recipe was simple, first he boiled salt pork in about 4 cups of water. The salt pork came in about 6x6 inch square and was wrapped in wax paper. He would use about 1/3 of this for each batch of greens. While the meat came to a boil, he would wash usually two bundles of greens to remove the grit and to tear away the stalk. Unlike greens you find in many restaurants, my fathers greens never had the crunchy stalk, only the tender leaves.

Once the greens had been cleaned in 3 baths of fresh water and torn into approximately 2 inch squares, he would add them to the boiling salt pork base. He would then add just enough water to cover the greens and put the top askew on the large pot.

My job, too often, was to make the cornbread. Although I very much wanted to, we would eat no Jiffy, not for these men, not ever. The cornbread must be prepared from scratch and cooked in a cast iron skillet. It could be baked,traditional hot water cornbread or it could be fried into corn bread pancakes.

While the greens cooked, and it seems to me, the greens were always cooking, life happened at our house. We watched TV, did homework, played outside often to the shouts of, "Pam, watch my greens now. Don't let them burn!"

My father was serious about the flame it had to be blue and he would demonstrate the height with his fore finger and thumb. "Let them simmer slow. Don't be in a hurry." They cooked for at least two hours but when they were done. They were, in his words, "right." He added no extra seasoning of any kind. They did not need any.

Of course today, I don't use salt pork. I use chicken broth and herbs and my greens are very different from my fathers. I often even stir fry my greens. Still although I have chosen a heart healthier approach to leafy green vegetables, there is no food more comforting than collard greens prepared with love. That is why the collard greens and soul food are synonymous.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Art of Fries

My "little" brother Edwin was a Fry Master. Indeed if levels of proficiency with the fried potato were meted out, he would be a 7th degree black belt. He mastered the proper thickness, the proper heat, the proper oil, the proper cooking vessel and the optimal cooking time. No one makes better fries than the Reverend Edwin M Coleman.

Unlike me, growing up Edwin did not have a broad range of menu items, rather he chose one lane, the fried potato and became its aficionado. We had a gadget called the Veg O Matic. As promised on its TV commercial, "it slices, it dices..." Edwin tried every shape the veg o matic would produce and settled on the 1/4 inch dice as the perfect size and shape for the perfect fry.

As for the vessel, he selected a deep cast iron skillet. he would fill it half full with an oil concoction and heat it to some perfect temperature for which he had a sixth sense. The oil was from a can kept by the stove. We had two grease cans. Recycling is nothing new to us. We had one can for fish grease and one can for everything else. Fish grease could only be used with fish, which we had every Friday night. The other can is what made food at our house special. The grease can started life as Crisco shortening. The thick white shortening is what we used to fry chicken. Once the chicken was done and when the oil was cool, we would pour it back into the can for the next deep fried opportunity. Whenever we fried bacon, the drippings were added to the chicken grease can.

This chicken grease, Crisco oil, bacon drippings combination is what purported these fries to legend. Edwin would season the potatoes before frying using salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika. The oil did not burn and the fries did not flounder. They floated, turned golden and he would turn them onto a plate covered with a paper towel to remove the excess oil. On special occasions, he would fry onions with the potatoes.

Once the fries were perfect, he would quickly turn the drained hot potato onto a waiting plate and eat them while they were still hot. These fries did not need ketchup but on the rare occasion when he was willing to share his fries with me, I used it. The combination of sweet,salt, crunchy smooth, hot and cold was everything my 15 year old appetite demanded. And I marvelled at this young man's craft.

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Atlanta, GA, United States
Marketer,Foodie, Mom