The Queen will always be Gold to Me
I heard the sad news today (August 16), that the legendary icon, Aretha Franklin, passed away after her loosing her battle with cancer.I know I was a baby when she rose to the title of “Queen of Soul” in the 1960’s, but my mom was playing her music while I was in the womb and she has been a part of my brain ever since the beginning of my memory.
I remember my mom stacking the 45’s on our console stereo and Aretha Franklin’s record dropping down with her belting out one of her greatest, while I ran to the mirror, pointing my finger at myself, spelling out RESPECT. I learned a lot from that song. Even at age six, it helped me become aware of how to treat myself and how I wanted others to treat me. When I was in the 11th grade, I saw The Blues Brothers on VHS and fell in love with her role as Mrs. Murphy to Matt Murphy, as her husband. The way she sang, “Think,” made me sing with intent, too. I could do the moves she danced in the diner before letting him (Murphy) and the sax-playing cook follow the band out the door and on to the concert to save the orphanage.
“Born in Memphis, Tennessee, but raised in the Motor City, Franklin was firmly rooted in gospel but also excelled in the worlds of jazz, R&B and pop. She collected 20 Grammys — including a lifetime achievement award — covering a span of four decades; was the first woman enshrined into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (in 1987); and, befitting a queen, was named No. 1 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time,” reports the Hollywood Reporter.
Check out these great art tributes to Mrs. Franklin on Deviant Art
Soul music isn’t the only soul Mrs. Franklin loves — she was a fan of the best county cooks and the down home fare of her own recipes, including chili, gumbo, peach cobbler, and fried chicken and cornbread. In 2016, she announced her plans to launch her own line of ready-to-heat soul food product line, but my research ended without me finding more information as to whether it happened before her passing. I couldn’t find an answer to where it could be purchased, but, I’m keeping my eyes open at the grocery store.
I’ll say, I agree with her tastes. There’s nothing like a Sunday dinner lineup of baked ham and ham/rice pilau, speckled butter beans, collard greens with a drizzle of hot pepper vinegar, slow-cooked rutabagas over the rice pilau, potato salad, fresh sliced tomatoes from the garden and sweet tea with lemon. Don’t forget the peach cobbler with real vanilla ice cream for desert. It wasn’t the everyday meal; but, that’s why it was a Sunday special and one of my favorites.
Try Aretha’s own Peach Cobbler or one of these other Aretha-inspired dishes
Slow-cooked chili, pineapple ham, banana pudding, black-eyed peas and ham or cornbread are all great choices offered by Taste of Home.
Though Mrs. Franklin had the voice for soul music and the taste buds for soul food, her best soulful thing, to me, was her soul within. Being the daughter of a Baptist preacher and growing up singing gospel from an early age, her spirit was the best part of her. She was a giver of herself and professed her love for God and the church. She will be sadly missed, but I am so glad we have her music to remind us of the Queen she was.