Cook to enchant yourself and your loved ones

Food for the SoulWhile sifting through the daily array of political comments, announcements, advertisements, and bundles of self-promoting rants and web links, something on Twitter caught my attention — a tweet from someone in my circle that said: “How you get him, is how you keep him.”

I know. I know. It’s the title of a book. But like most phrases coined by our people, it’s one that contains lots of wisdom.

Think about it: How you get him, is how you keep him. In other words, live by the sword, die by the sword.

A few years ago, I suggested to my younger sister that she begin cooking nightly meals for her family as a way to strengthen bonds and spark romance within her 13-year marriage. To that suggestion, she adamantly replied: “I ain’t no cookah,” in a voice and manner native to some women in Alabama.

I was somewhat dismayed to learn that she resisted the idea of cooking, which had customarily been a joy to the women in my line, including our grandmother. My sister later revealed that it was not uncommon for her family to eat takeout and fast food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.


“Don’t let no one else feed yo’ man.”


What I wanted to tell my sister that day, but could not, was that cooking is more than the act of standing over a stove. It is about enchanting ourselves and others with aroma, flavor, texture and visual images. I wanted to remind her of something we heard many times from the older women around us during our youth: “Don’t let no one else feed yo’ man.” Simple words with lots of wisdom, right?

The art of “getting him” is the art of keeping him, which is the art of sustaining the affections of the one we love, or the one we wish to come closer. Cooking gives us the means to enchant the mind, body and spirit, and in that way it is an excellent medium for expressing, transmitting and sustaining love

Below is a recipe designed to enchant yourself, your family, and your loved ones — including husbands, wives, and significant others. Since Sunday is a day that provides most of us with additional time to cook and express our thankfulness, it’s a Sunday brunch item.

Remember, it’s all about creating a sense of enchantment, so keep your thoughts focused on love and harmony while cooking! And don’t stop there! Continue cooking for “yo’ man” and your family — results guaranteed.


Photo by Michelle Lawrence
Photo by Michelle Lawrence

Potato gratin with spinach and bacon


Ingredients (serves 6):

8 russet potatoes, scrubbed, peeled and thinly sliced on the bias

½ pound of bacon or turkey bacon, fried, drained and crumbled

3 cups of chopped frozen spinach

2 Serrano peppers finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic finely chopped

3 tablespoons of butter

3 cups of shredded cheese (Colby/Jack recommended)

1 egg beaten

Salt and black pepper

Vegetable oil

1 tablespoon of fresh Italian parsley

1 package of cherry tomatoes



Light some candles and incense and turn on your favorite music — gospel is great!

Gently sauté spinach, garlic and peppers in a small frying pan and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Lightly coat the bottom of a 9-inch baking dish with a tablespoon of vegetable oil.

After baking dish is coated, begin layering it with sliced potato (lasagna-style) — sprinkle salt and pepper over the potatoes — then evenly distribute small squares of raw butter over them and top with cheese and bacon.

Then, begin the second layer by placing more potatoes over the first, and sprinkling with black pepper and evenly distributed pieces of raw butter.

Then, to the second layer add the spinach and peppers, and top with cheese and bacon.

For the final and third layer, place the potatoes, small amounts of evenly distributed pieces of raw butter, and cheese — sprinkle with a bit more black pepper and cover with foil and place in the oven.

Cook for 22 minutes at 400 degrees while covered with foil, then reduce heat to 325 and remove the foil and cook for additional 40 minutes, or until golden brown.


To serve: Top with fresh Italian parsley and sliced cherry tomatoes on top.


Michelle Lawrence, MA, MPH, specializes in cooking African-based dishes and relationship-enhancing dining experiences for families and couples. She can be reached at 612-251-9516.

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