If there’s one thing we’ve learned from seven seasons of the WE tv series Braxton Family Values, it’s that Ms. E takes no mess when it comes to family matters and can throw down like it’s nobody’s business in the kitchen. So it’s no surprise that the matriarch of the famous Braxton family has released her new cookbook Cooking With Ms. E: A Book Of Recipes And Family Memories, in which she combines more than 50 family recipes alongside a slew of stories that she holds most near and dear to her.
With its sold-out release last month, talk has grown of Braxton taking on a cooking show, but in the meantime, she looks forward to spending time at home in the kitchen, whipping up some delicious treats and making memories with her grandchildren. After all, Cooking With Ms. E took her 10 years to complete. “I wanted to tell [a] story about my family,” says the southern-bred Braxton, who says that she was very intentional and thoughtful about what was included in her passion project, making sure to reflect on the family’s favorite meals.
For Braxton, cooking and family are intricately intertwined, and the natural storyteller has lots of cherished memories of cooking with her own mother as a child. In fact, it is her mother that Braxton identifies as her biggest inspiration for the book. “I mean, this lady was a phenomenal, phenomenal woman, and I just wanted the world to know that, you know? She was always in the kitchen cooking, humming, giving us words of wisdom, and I didn’t want to pass on with the whole world not knowing [who] motivated me, and who encouraged me, and who made me feel good about me,” says Braxton.
It’s that invaluable sense of self that Braxton has tried to pass down to her own children—along with some amazing recipes. “Even raising my children, this is what I taught. There’s no one greater than you, except God. I am important. That’s what my mother left for me. And I carry it yet today, at 39 and holding,” says Braxton, with a laugh.
Braxton also hopes Cooking With Ms. E will help those just getting their start in the kitchen. “I feel like this [book] will really open a lot of people’s eyes that really can’t cook,” she says. “We have to help everybody, right?”
For the holidays, all are in agreement that the meal just isn’t complete without a healthy helping of Mama E’s famous candied yams. “Girl, it is to die for,” says Braxton. “If we have a dinner and the candied yams are not on the table, it’s a problem!” says Braxton, who says the same goes for her Freedom Pie made with sugar cane and potatoes along with some raisins or pineapple she likes to throw in to represent the sweetness of life, in honor of her great great grandmother Sophia, who lived in slavery until she was eight years old and passed away at 116 when Braxton was 16 years old.
Another one of Braxton’s favorite recipes to make for her family is her mother’s mustard fried chicken, which Braxton shares with Sweet July. What makes this such a treat? “It’s nice and it’s crispy!” says Braxton. “It’s easy to make, and it is to die for. It just melts in your mouth. And here’s the thing about it—you don’t really taste the mustard!” Braxton suggests serving this with rice and collard greens or even Brussels sprouts for the perfect balanced meal.
Get Braxton’s Mustard Fried Chicken recipe below!
Plus: Looking for the perfect wine to pair with this dish? Sweet July’s wine consultant Julia Coney suggests Xarel-lo (pronounced “shah-RELL-lo”), one of the three main grapes that comprise Cava, the sparkling wine prominent in Spain. Coney says, “This grape has flavors of lemon and almond, which balance the mustard in the dry rub. This grape pairs with the crispy crust of the fried chicken. Fried food and bubbles are always a perfect combination.”
Evelyn Braxton's Mustard Fried Chicken
1/3 cup mustard
Vegetable oil (or oil of your preference)
- First wash off the chicken wings.
- Season your chicken well to your liking with the salt, pepper, sage, poultry seasoning and rosemary if you prefer.
- Mix the chicken very well together.
- Add ⅓ cup of mustard over the wings, *mix well.*
- Then coat your chicken in flour before placing in the oil on a medium/ high flame (be sure the oil is hot!).
- Cook for 20-25 minutes until golden and crispy.
- Remove from pot, place on napkin to drain.