The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air's Aunt Viv, Daphne Maxwell Reid Releases First Published Cookbook

Daphne Maxwell Reid is most known for her role as Aunt Vivian from the legendary television show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air starring Will Smith. Although she may not be keeping count of her accomplishments, others are, and she has a list of them. And, now she can add publishing her first cookbook “Grace, Soul and Motherwit: A Cookbook Spiced with Personal Memories” to that list.

According to a press release, the first three words of the title have specific meanings. Grace stands for the prayer before a meal, Soul is the Black tradition of emotional fervor and love, and Mother Wit is the intuitive common sense by a traditional upbringing.

Reid admits that she isn’t a chef but just an individual “who likes to share love through food,” she said. She also stated that her mother was the same way, and after collecting recipes for 35 years, Reid decided it was time to release them.

One of her friends suggested that Reid write a memoir book, but in the words of Reid, “I’m too young to make memoirs,” but then she decided to take the idea on. Instead of writing an entire book dedicated to the topic, she made a mini-memoir that’s also a cookbook.

According to Reid, before each recipe there’s a short snippet about where the recipe came from or what it means to her.

“My cookbook is giving an insight into the type of person I am,” she said.


Mom’s Cheese Biscuits

Recipe and story from Grace, Soul and Motherwit: A Cookbook Spiced with Personal Memories.

Holiday dinner gatherings at Mom’s house always started with cheese biscuits, chicken liver pate, and a glass of cream sherry as we waited for all the other “fixin’s” to cook. I finally got the recipe!! Hopefully the tradition will continue at my house now.

¼ lb. of butter (one stick)

2 tbs. walnut oil

¼ ld. Sharp cheddar cheese

1 ½ cup all purpose flour

1/4 tsp. salt

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

¼ tsp. nutmeg

pecan halves

Set out the butter to soften. Grate the cheese and let it stand to warm up. Add the salt to the flour and the cayenne pepper and when butter and cheese are room temperature, mix them together well. When well mixed, place on a piece of waxed paper and roll into a log about 1 inch thick. Let the log sit in the refrigerator for about ½ hour to firm up. Remove the waxed paper and slice the log into ½” thick rounds. Place the rounds on a baking pan and place a pecan half atop each one. Bake in a 300 degree oven for 20 minutes or until they start to brown. Remove from pan and store in an airtight jar. Enjoy with the beverage of your choice or as a wonderful starter to a dinner party.

Utensils you will need: grater, bowl, fork, measuring spoons, measuring cups, chef’s knife, cookie sheet.

Aside from her cookbook, Reid was the first African American woman to cover Glamour magazine, she’s been a seamstress for majority of her life, a public speaker, a model and the list goes on.

Reid gets joy at looking at all the Black women who’ve came after her because she was a first, these women are able to follow in her footsteps.

But, before all of the fame and glamour, Reid started her life in Manhattan where she grew up thinking she could be anything, and she’s proved that through her work.

Just like Reid’s mother, her father influenced her with his photography. Her father studied photography, and before the age of 10, Reid at her own camera. Now, she specializes in fine art photography that features doors from around the world, in places such as Cuba.

Reid now lives in Virginia with her husband Tim or 36 years, who’s known for his role as the father on the 90s sitcom Sister, Sister. But, just like Reid, he’s more than an iconic television parent. Tim is also a producer, writer and director.

But, according to Reid’s bio, being the first means nothing if you don’t grow. Reid doesn’t see herself staying stagnated at any point of her life because her gifts give her life.

“It [her hard work] comes from the honor to express the gifts God gave me,” she said.


Sweet Potato Soufflé

Recipe and story from Grace, Soul and Motherwit: A Cookbook Spiced with Personal Memories.

For as long as I remember, this was the traditional accompaniment to our Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey dinner. I have continued to serve this dish.

4 sweet potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled

1 stick of butter softened to room temperature

3 eggs

1/3 c. honey or maple syrup

1/3 c. packed, light brown sugar

½ tsp. ground cinnamon

¼ tsp. ground nutmeg

¼ tsp. grated orange peel

small bag of mini marshmallows (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil the sweet potatoes in a pot of water about 30 minutes, until a fork pierces into them easily. Allow them to cool until you can peel the skin off without burning your fingers. Process the potatoes through a sieve or ricer into a bowl (get the strings out of them any way you can). This can be done a day ahead. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, butter, honey or maple syrup and brown sugar together with a small hand mixer until smooth. Add the spices and mix everything together with the potatoes. Pour the mixture into a tall sided baking dish and bake for about one hour, or until firm in the center. When we were children, my mother used to dot the top of the soufflé with mini marshmallows and brown them during the last five minutes of cooking. I don’t use marshmallows anymore.

Utensils you will need: Chef’s knife and cutting board, tall sided baking dish, sieve or ricer, 2 mixing bowls, electric hand mixer.

To order Reid’s cookbook Grace, Soul and Motherwit: A Cookbook Spiced with Personal Memories visit the book’s site.

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