Chef Alexander Small

Originally published November 19, 2021.

This story is old, yet it still is relevant, the recipes still work, and it will keep you away from the distasteful guts of the pig.

If you are tired of the commercialized way of eating on one of the biggest holidays. Then you should just sit back and catch some exciting menu suggestions.

The younger generation gap is not thinking about eating turkey, dressing (stuffing), cranberry sauce and chitterlings. And, some of the old heads may feel that same sentiment.

So, if you are throwing a party on Thanksgiving and want to do something a little different. More so, something to impress your new mother-in-law or neighbors.

You need to check out Meals, and Muses Recipes from My African American Kitchen. This book is by Alexander Smalls, and is available in hardbound from Flatiron Books.


It is very entertaining to read because it is full of delicious food ideas. And it is filled with colorful photos with extraordinary ethnic reminders of African history.

Each chapter starts off with a new recipe and quotes by legendary poets and popular musicians, such as the late Maya Angelou and Bruno Mars. Musician Dee Dee Bridgewater quoted “In Meals, Music, and Muses, Alexander creates a lyrical culinary anthology of our lives.” 

Author Alexander Small is an iconic figure in American cooking. He is the former chef-owner of Café Beulah in New York City.

Additionally, the book is co-authored by Veronica Chambers, a critically acclaimed author.

Finally, let’s take a look at the meals you can prepare for next week’s holiday feast.



Field Greens, Poached Pear, and Black-Eyed Pea Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

A lot of people prefer a variety of salad dressings, so have on hand, Ranch, Blue Cheese and Italian.

This recipe also calls for red wine, so make sure this is an all-adult affair before serving.

Creole Caesar Salad with Corn Bread Croutons

Those who like croutons and fried okra will want seconds on this dish.

Spicy Okra Shrimp Soup

For the spicy and seafood lovers, this will be a hit at your table.

In this book, there is also a Fried Okra recipe that is sure to get the people talking before the main course. And you can use canola oil to fry it just right.


Lemon Candied Yams sounds inviting if you are a lemon fan.

Citrus Whipped Sweet Potatoes is also something different to try on Thanksgiving.

Creole food lovers will get a kick out of the Creole Potato Salad, with snap peas, parsley and more.

Main course

If Quail is your thing, then you should try the Roast Quail in Bourbon Cream Sauce, for a Southern bang. They have a recipe on how to make the sauce as well, so don’t panic.

I know we have some familiar chicken lovers, and this Oven Fried Baby Chicken with hot mustard Apricot Jam Glaze is sure to please. There is also a Southern Fried Chicken Plate recipe right and ready for your table.

Lastly, there is a Pan-Fried Rabbit with Root Vegetable and Redeye Gravy, if that is your thing.

Trust me, there are so many dishes to try, I am only naming some of them. I want to get your mouth wet and ready to search for this great book.


The Southern Comfort Peach Shortcake is not for the kids but the adults. So, don’t get too tipsy during dessert.

There is a Southern Pound Cake like grandma used to make. It tells you how to not let it get too dry doing baking.

Lastly, we have the Blackberry Cobbler, and try not to pig out too fast.

There you have it, ‘Meals, Music, and Muses’ is a great pick for November. So, hit the bookstores or simply order online.

Happy Thanksgiving, from all of us at The Narrative Matters!


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Executive Blogger, Interim Editor and Digital Manager at The Narrative Matters

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