To Feed the Soul
October 3, 2017 3:23 PM   Subscribe

"My name is Leah Chase. I run this kitchen at Dooky Chase’s Restaurant. Been here for what? Sixty-eight years." Meet the amazing woman behind a New Orleans culinary institution in this 2014 interview with the Southern Foodways Alliance. And then take a few moments to appreciate her taste in African-American art.

A few more pieces from the Dooky and Leah Chase Collection: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5. And should you visit the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, look for Leah Chase's cooking pot, a perfect vessel for her Old Style Greens and "Pot Likker."

“Art, food, music... all those things make you happy. You don’t have to own it; it’s fun to share things. I don’t hold onto worldly things; what good is that for me, at ninety-three. You can earn all the money in the world, but if you haven’t done anything to uplift somebody else or make a difference, you’ve wasted all your time. You have to uplift people.”--Leah Chase
posted by MonkeyToes (6 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
"Where I was leading, I got folks to follow me by backing up."

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is leadership.
posted by Slap*Happy at 3:44 PM on October 3 [1 favorite]

Many civil rights meetings were held at Dooky Chase's back in the day, especially in the upstairs room. Nowadays it is common to see New Orleans' political movers and shakers having lunch in the back room. Just a couple of days ago, during a discussion with friends about the upcoming city elections, one of us mentioned that she'd seen a certain Politico A and Politico B at a table in the back room eating Leah Chase's famous Friday lunch buffet and we launched into speculation.
posted by BicycleFace at 12:30 AM on October 4 [2 favorites]

The Dooky Chase cookbook is very good. She's an essential, important part of New Orleans' food scene. Top Chef paid their respects to her in an episode where she judged the contestant's gumbo. She was great on TV.
posted by Nelson at 1:54 AM on October 4 [2 favorites]

My favorite thing about her is that she still holds a grudge against President Obama for putting hot sauce in her gumbo when he visited.
posted by Brachinus at 4:52 AM on October 4 [1 favorite]

My favorite thing about her is that she still holds a grudge against President Obama for putting hot sauce in her gumbo when he visited.

Before he tried it, even! He is an auto-condimenter! I imagine her making that grandma face, and her expression and tone blazing right past his finely-honed diplomatic defenses to back when he was a kid, and his fleeting and abashed feeling of "Whoops, my bad, did NOT mean to do that, Grammy." What an interesting woman; she's a national treasure.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:12 AM on October 4 [1 favorite]

So i guess they are doing ok with the august deluge? did they take on water?
posted by eustatic at 3:55 PM on October 4

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