Sunny Anderson's Tribute To B. Smith
The late chef and TV star was a hero to Sunny and so many others.
If you ever watched B. Smith with Style on Food Network, you know that Barbara Smith did pretty much everything with style. As a model, she was one of the first African American women to grace the cover of Mademoiselle, in 1976, and later she became the first true lifestyle maven, floating between modeling, cooking, gardening, designing home goods, owning and running restaurants and hosting TV shows. When B. passed away this year from early-onset Alzheimer’s, she was 70 and still doing things her way: She had released a book with her husband of 28 years, Dan Gasby, and she had left a plan for her B. Smith product line so it could live on. “B. was always in motion,” Dan says.
Thanksgiving with B. was a day for family, Dan says. And she considered the holiday a time of reflection. “She was a Midwestern African American girl, and she was thankful for the fact that she came from small-town America where you had Black and white people, Jewish people, Greek people, Polish people and Mennonites all together.” Regardless of her fame, he says, she never forgot her roots. “She was an icon who was real.”
Here are some of B.'s dishes that Dan will never forget.
If jerk sauce isn't your thing, you can use salt-free Jamaican jerk dry spice blend instead. Just rub the turkey with vegetable oil, then sprinkle the dry spice evenly over and inside the turkey.
B. said these brussels sprouts would win over any sprout hater! They have great sweetness and crunch from the brown sugar and pecans.
If you're pressed for time on Thanksgiving day, this refreshing salad can be made several hours in advance. Just be sure to cover and refrigerate it until you're ready to serve it.
This corn pudding was a favorite in B.’s family. If you prefer not to use bourbon, B. said to just use water to dissolve the cornstarch.
We recommend serving this delicious upside-down cake warm with a generous dollop of whipped cream.
B. Smith Portrait by Casey Kelbaugh/The New York Times/Redux Pictures.
All food photos by Ralph Smith.