Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pot Luck Lunch at the DKA: Riverview Foods With a "Local Flavor"

It's food that has been around African-American families for generations.

Now, there's a new way to prepare it, to make it healthy.

The "new" food dishes were showcased at a pot luck lunch held at the Downtown Kingsport Association offices on Main Street on Saturday, April 17, 2010.

To see a slideshow of the Pot Luck Lunch at the Downtown Kingsport Association, please click here.

To see downloadable pictures of the Pot Luck Lunch at the Downtown Kingsport Association, please click here.

The recipes are included in a new cookbook spotlighted by Channel 16, the local Charter Cable TV channel in Kingsport in a cooking segment on the "Local Flavor" TV show. Cookbook sales will provide money to bring artists to the various workshops for Kingsport's annual Black History Month celebration.

The cookbook began from an idea born during a cooking workshop featuring traditional African-American foods, during the recent Black History Month at the Renaissance Center, and organizer Stella Robinette says, you'll recognize many of the ingredients that were prepared for the pot luck lunch dishes.

"For this pot luck lunch, we've tried to use familiar foods," she said. "Folks could sample the foods made by others, copy the recipies and make the dishes at home. Folks have told me since the Black History food demonstration, that if they were going to buy a cookbook, they'd rather get it from local people."

The homemade food prepared for the Pot Luck Lunch and the folks who prepared them were:

Kathy Evans - Pea & Bean Salad
Linda Kincaid - No Fail Orange Salad
Gail Evans - Pineapple Dream Pie
Nancy Hart - Cherry Pizza
Shaun Evans - Rotel Cheese Dip
Stella Robinette - Lemon Pound Cake
Victoria Butts - Hot Slaw - Oven-Style Ribs

Local cooking guru Gerry Harrison also provided homemade Brocoli Chicken Casserole.

"It's baked in layers," she said. "It has the cheese sauce on top, chicken in the middle, and the brocoli on the bottom. What makes it really, really good is, it tastes great, but it's also healthy. When you think about using brocoli which you can eat anytime, it's a vegetable that you can eat a lot, and not ever worry about. The sauce has sour cream and mayo, but you use lite, the lite form of the mayo. Go with the fat-free,a nd then the cheese on top and when you put all those together, it makes a very tasty meal, and there's no added salt. You do use a lot of musroom soup, but get the kind that's healthy. I encourage always buying the health brands and be sure and check the labels."

"We were all raised on TV dinners," Stella says, "and kids don't get to get a good homecooked meal too much anymore. By trying different ways of fixing familiar foods, it creates something to talk about at the dinner table. Parents can sit around the dinner table and talk about the new way the chicken was fixed, and that creates other conversation."

"It gets back to basics for the family," she says. "Food is a wonderful comfort zone for people. They relax when they're eating, and they open up more, especially when it's good food.

"You can tell by the dishes today, that we've got some good cooks in this room right now."

"We all love to eat," Gerry says, "and because we're all on this kick of being healthy, when you think about what you're eating, how much you're eating and how it's prepared, it almost gives you an extra appetite: 'let's see if I can make that, can I fix that up?'.. it's O-K to be health conscious, but we love to eat, and there are so many ways to prepare food."

"Put all three of those together, and you've got the recipe to a really good meal."

If you'd like to purchase the cookbook with these and other tempting recipes, contact Stella Robinette at or Doug Releford at