- Faith & Family
There’s nothing better than mom’s home cooking — at least that’s the notion behind the new TV One primetime series, “My Momma Throws Down,” that premiered earlier this month and can be seen on Sunday at 8 p.m ET. The show is a culinary competition that is fast-paced and action-packed with weekly face-offs between family matriarchs who are at their best in the kitchen. When the smoke clears, one mother will emerge as the queen of home cuisine. Comedian Ralph Harris serves as the host and brings his rare form of comedy to keep the show moving.
“When the producer [from Iron Chef America] brought me the idea, they sold me immediately,” he said. “I’ve been doing stand up comedy for 27 years and so it’s rare that anything surprises me. But this is something totally unique. The mothers have talent, energy and a wide range of personalities and watching them do their thing is amazing.’
Reviving lost family traditions
Harris adds that the show will lift up many former ways of life that have been all but lost in this age of microwave meals and fast food drive-ins.
“I live on the run most of the time and tend to eat in restaurants, hotels and airports,” he said. “But I remember when I was a child and we sat down every night for our family dinner. That’s something that today’s generation rarely experiences. The show will help them experience that and understand the significance of families spending time together at the dinner table.”
Melba Wilson is one of the judges on the show. She in an award-winning chef and entrepreneur who has followed in the footsteps of her famous aunt — the 87-year-old “Queen of Soul Food” whose restaurant bears her name — Sylvia’s [in Harlem]. For Wilson, cooking is a family tradition that she inherited from her mother and grandmother.
“My 12-year-old son is my taste tester and he, along with his friends, have helped me perfect many of my dishes,” she said. “There will be family members on the show as well. One round will be a lot of fun. Two mothers will cook their best dish and then there will be a blind taste test. I just hope that their family taster doesn’t pick the wrong dish, for their sake.”
Wilson adds that soul food has undergone some interesting transformations in the last few years — all bent on making the dishes healthier but still as delicious.
“Mothers are changing the way they prepare meals, like seasoning greens with smoked turkey instead of ham-hocks,” she said. “But Black mothers across this country are still throwing down.”
Other judges will include the “sisters” from the popular TV show Soul Food, Rockmond Dunbar, Kandi Burruss and a host of culinary experts.
By D. Kevin McNeir