Kenda Williams

freelance writer and journalist – Savannah, Georgia

Serving up a tasty, heaping helping of “The Help” August 17, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kenda Williams @ 8:22 pm

Southern women know how to cook. It’s in our blood. Our mothers and their mother’s mothers all know how to win over the hearts of friend or foe with food. It’s also something that brings people together – especially women. We laugh, cry and tell deep stories over a plate of apple pie or a bowl of chicken ‘n dumplings. We also share memories and relive life experiences with the food we bring to the table. It’s inherently a part of us. And it’s not a passion for just any food… It’s southern food. It breaks through all boundaries of socioeconomic class, race, or gender, and it goes straight to the soul. It feeds the soul, keeps us strong and helps us help others.

In the book and recently-released film, “The Help,” several southern women come together and share their life stories in the midst of the 1960s civil rights era in the South. It’s a southern woman’s world, revealing the relationships between the African American help and the women for whom they work. A young girl decides to write a novel from the perspective of the help and asks some of her closest friends’ maids to join her in this dangerous task.

The film, The Help, tells about southern traditions, friendship, forgiveness, love, and life. Fortunately, it also has a tasty, heaping helping of down-home southern food.

The Help: Southern Food – This is a great piece in Food and Wine Magazine. Read an excerpt here:

“About 20 minutes into the movie, you’re craving fried chicken,” says director Tate Taylor. That movie is The Help, the new film based on Kathryn Stockett’s best-selling novel; it stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Emma Stone, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer and costars platter after platter of incredibly delicious-looking Southern food. The Help examines the complicated relationships between African-American maids and their white employers in 1960s Mississippi, and since the story crosses race and class lines, the cooking does too. There are scenes of ladies’ luncheons with tomato aspic and cocktail meatballs, and scenes calling for soul food like collard greens, black-eyed peas and, of course, that craveable fried chicken. “Food is just everywhere,” says Taylor.

Martha Hall Foose, author of the acclaimed Southern cookbook Screen Doors and Sweet Tea and the new A Southerly Course. Foose made fried chicken for the film based on a recipe described in the novel, prepared by a maid named Minny who’s revered for her talent in the kitchen. The secret: Crisco. (Minny praises Crisco thusly: “Ain’t just for frying. You ever get a sticky something stuck in your hair, like gum? That’s right, Crisco. Spread this on a baby’s bottom, you won’t even know what diaper rash is. Shoot, I seen ladies rub it under they eyes and on they husband’s scaly feet. And after all that it will still fry your chicken.”)

In honor of the film (Go see it!! It’s in theaters now!!), and from one particular scene in the film where Minny helps Celia learn to make fried chicken, I cooked up some buttermilk fried chicken and garlic mashed potatoes today. Using Crisco in a large cast iron skillet, I made fried chicken to go alongside fluffy, buttery mashed potatoes. It was soooo delicious! It reminds me of the fried chicken and mashed potatoes my Momma makes. Hopefully Minny would be proud of my southern cookin’! 🙂

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Arm Parties, ’80s Glam and Jewels Galore August 9, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kenda Williams @ 5:05 pm

I am in love with the jewelry I’ve seen this summer. I wanted to share a few pieces I’ve collected and a few pictures of other jewelry, arm parties and what inspires me…


Gold and blue necklace from Send the Trend; black and gold necklace with white quartz stone from Bauble Bar; Blue and gold earrings from college; black and gold flower ring from Bauble Bar; teal blue stone cascade earrings from Bauble Bar; gold plated and teal jeweled teardrop earrings from Send the Trend; black and gold "World's End" earrings from Jewelmint; round filigree ring from Charming Charlie; peacock feather earrings from Forever 21.

(Above: Gold and blue necklace from Send the Trend; black and gold necklace with white quartz stone from Bauble Bar; Blue and gold earrings from college; black and gold flower ring from Bauble Bar; teal blue stone cascade earrings from Bauble Bar; gold plated and teal jeweled teardrop earrings from Send the Trend; black and gold “World’s End” earrings from Jewelmint; round filigree ring from Charming Charlie; peacock feather earrings from Forever 21.)

Black and gold necklace with white quartz stone from BaubleBar; gold and black flower ring from BaubleBar; "World's End" earrings from jewelmint; gold and black bracelet from Forever 21; antiqued gold and black jewel earrings from Forever 21; beaded black and gold hoop earrings from BaubleBar

(Above: Black and gold necklace with white quartz stone from BaubleBar; gold and black flower ring from BaubleBar; “World’s End” earrings from jewelmint; gold and black bracelet from Forever 21; antiqued gold and black jewel earrings from Forever 21; beaded black and gold hoop earrings from BaubleBar.)

I dig the gold and black color theme in all these pieces, both from the arm party below and the mixed jewelry above. They have a certain ’80s punk meets modern sophisticated feel to them.

Gold studded bangles from Forever 21; black and gold mixed geometric shapes bracelet from Charming Charlie; gold link bracelet from BaubleBar; gold and black stone bracelet from Forever 21.

(Above: Gold studded bangles from Forever 21; black and gold mixed geometric shapes bracelet from Charming Charlie; gold link bracelet from BaubleBar; gold and black stone bracelet from Forever 21.)

Below you’ll see a few of my other favorite pieces…

Gold link bracelet from BaubleBar; gold dot-textured bracelet from Forever 21; gold and peach filigree bracelet from Forever 21; cream-colored bangle from BaubleBar.

(Above: Gold link bracelet from BaubleBar; gold dot-textured bracelet from Forever 21; gold and peach filigree bracelet from Forever 21; cream-colored bangle from BaubleBar.)

Purple jeweled owl necklace, vintage; gold and black owl earrings from Forever 21 in NYC; silver filigree owl necklace from Maurice's; multi-colored jewel owl necklace, vintage; peach and gold owl ring from Charming Charlie; large antiqued gold owl necklace, vintage; smaller antiqued gold owl neclace from Maurice's.

(Above: Purple jeweled owl necklace, vintage; gold and black owl earrings from Forever 21 in NYC; silver filigree owl necklace from Maurice’s; multi-colored jewel owl necklace, vintage; peach and gold owl ring from Charming Charlie; large antiqued gold owl necklace, vintage; smaller antiqued gold owl neclace from Maurice’s.)

I love owls and purple… can you tell?!!

Large gold-colored diamond shapes necklace from Forever 21; "Bella Flora" multi-colored earrings from Jewelmint; purple and gold teardrop earrings from Send the Trend; "Rachel earrings" from Jewelmint; lilac stud earrings from BaubleBar; purple bangle from Forever 21; cranberry and silver earrings from BaubleBar; mixed stone purple bead drop earrings from Eureka Springs, Ark.; purple filigree hoop earrings from Forever 21; purple and gold ring, family ring; purple jeweled owl necklace, vintage. (Above: Large gold-colored diamond shapes necklace from Forever 21; “Bella Flora” multi-colored earrings from Jewelmint; purple and gold teardrop earrings from Send the Trend; “Rachel earrings” from Jewelmint; lilac stud earrings from BaubleBar; purple bangle from Forever 21; cranberry and silver earrings from BaubleBar; mixed stone purple bead drop earrings from Eureka Springs, Ark.; purple filigree hoop earrings from Forever 21; purple and gold ring, family ring; purple jeweled owl necklace, vintage.)

I recently went to an “’80s Prom” that enticed me to buy these bracelets seen below… The ’80s party was a blast, as was wearing these fun pieces.

Bracelets from Forever 21(Above: Bracelets from Forever 21.)

If you wanna question whether or not the ’80s styles are coming back, take a look here:

Love at First Click: Lanvin For H&M, Piece by Piece!

Here are a few jewelry pics I found online that look pretty awesome, I think. 🙂

Happy jewelry-ing! 🙂

 

Soup’s On! August 8, 2011

Filed under: Food and Writing,Recipes and Food Writing,Uncategorized — Kenda Williams @ 10:10 am

It’s summer, so why am I posting about soup? Well, it’s not just because I’m ready for fall (although I am!). My hubs was in a car accident a few weeks ago and had surgery on his orbital bone and cheek bone. Needless to say, eating soft foods like soup has been about his only option other than indulging in popsicles and smoothies. I’ve been on a mission to find various soups that he might enjoy eating and that I might enjoy making. There are so many soups out there to choose from, so it’s hard to settle on opening a can of Campbell’s.

So far, I’ve made a Creamy Potato Soup, Tomato Basil Soup, and Corn Chowder. A friend of mine brought over a Butternut Squash Soup with Pear, and I have a few other ideas of soups to make…

Taco Soup for dinner!

Tonight, I made this Taco Soup, and it was amazing! Spicy and sweet with the kernels of corn, ranch-style beans, organic diced canned tomatoes, and ground turkey topped with a helping of shredded cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, scallions and cilantro. Perfect summer soup! It’s my aunt’s recipe, which can be found in my Mom’s cookbook, “A Pinch of This… A Smidgen of That.”

My Mom is an excellent cook. You can check out her recipes on her food blog: A Pinch of This… A Smidgen of That. When I was a kid, especially in the fall and winter, she would make a collection of delicious, warm-the-heart soups that could bring anyone out of a cold or just a cold day.

This recipe for Basil Tomato Soup is amazing! I used fresh basil out of the garden, and it was perfectly sweet and aromatic. We enjoyed the soup for several days, along with a grilled cheese sandwich hot off the cast iron skillet.

What soup is your favorite? Do you have a soup recipe to share? Go for it!

 

Georgia Peaches July 28, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kenda Williams @ 10:13 am

Long live the Georgia peach!

So, I’m not from Georgia, but I can still cheer for my adopted state’s fruit and identity. An interesting piece from the New York Times was written about the fruit and the rivalry that exists between The Peach State and its neighboring state, South Carolina: The Wanna-be Peach State. Sure, they may produce more peaches than Georgia, but more doesn’t make better does it?

Here’s an excerpt from the story in the New York Times:

The Georgia peach farmers, grim-faced beneath their John Deere caps, sat in the auditorium unmoved by the enthusiasm of their South Carolina counterparts. Quantity, they said, cannot replace quality.

“They’re trying to make it up in volume but they can’t best us,” said Will McGehee of Pearson Farm, pointing out that South Carolina’s nights are too cool for truly great peaches.

“The key to a good peach is a hot night,” Mr. McGehee said. “What makes it miserable for humans makes it perfect for peaches.”

Georgia began its peach dominance as the South rebuilt itself after the Civil War. In the late 1800s, the state began shipping the Elberta — a firm, yellow-fleshed peach named for a farmer’s wife — to New York and other East Coast cities.

But by the 1950s, South Carolina had taken over as the biggest peach-producing state. Now, although quantities have dropped, it ships 90,000 tons a year compared with Georgia’s 40,000 tons, according to United States Department of Agriculture statistics. (New Jersey follows with 32,000 tons.)

Georgia peach farmers have been fighting back, focusing on what they argue is a superior flavor that can come only from the unique mix of heat and red clay soil in their state.

They have taken to marketing the Georgia peach as an exclusive and seasonal item. They have even resorted to the mascot, paying someone to dress like a seven-foot peach named “Big Fuzzy.”

The brand appears to have an edge, at least among Internet users. Searches for “Georgia peaches” have outpaced those for “South Carolina peaches” by nearly 20 percent since 2004, said Sandra Heikkinen of Google.

So who really grows the best peach? In this good-natured rivalry, there may be no real way to judge. Plenty of variables determine what makes the kind of peach that drenches your hand and tastes exactly like summer. Rain, heat and soil conditions all play a part, as does the variety planted and the time from the tree to the eater’s mouth.

“I honestly don’t think you can taste a difference,” said Josh Tanner, the produce coordinator for Whole Foods stores in the South. “There is a lot of state pride and that’s what it’s about.”

In honor of Georgia’s great peach, here are a few simple recipes to enjoy summer’s treasured, sweet stone-fruit:

Take 4 peaches and dice into small bite-size pieces. Place in a bowl along with 1 cup fresh blueberries and 1 cup fresh blackberries or raspberries.  Add 1 cup pomegranate-flavored Craisins. Enjoy alone as fruit salad or over granola and yogurt. Another variation is just take the 4 peaches with 1 cup Splenda or regular sugar, mix with fruit and allow to sit for several minutes to macerate fruit. Then add to 1 stick melted butter, 1 cup self-rising flour, 1 cup milk, and bake at 350 for 45 minutes for a great cobbler.

 

Savannah Philharmonic September 9, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kenda Williams @ 11:47 am

I can’t believe it’s almost been 10 years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks… This weekend in Savannah, the philharmonic orchestra and chorus will perform a collection of patriotic music to celebrate and commemorate the day and recognize the service men and women that protect our nation. It should be an amazing experience!


Philharmonic to perform ‘The American Spirit’ in commemoration of 9/11

By Kenda Williams
For Savannah Morning News

To commemorate the ninth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, the Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus will present a special patriotic concert “The American Spirit.”

On Saturday, the philharmonic will perform works by Bernstein, Gershwin, Sousa, Barber, Copland and more to celebrate America and to kick off its 2010-11 season.

“September 11 is a patriotic day in the American calendar. It’s a memorial day as well as a celebration of the American spirit.

“We want the concert to be a mark of respect for that day, and what better way to celebrate that than with American patriotic music,” said Peter Shannon, artistic director and conductor of the Savannah Philharmonic.

The concert will begin with the Star Spangled Banner and a color guard made up of police, firefighters and members of the Chatham County Sheriff’s department. With a strong military presence in Savannah, Shannon said the philharmonic is honoring them, as well.

“We’ll remember the events of Sept. 11 and then move into a tribute to America and her music,” he said. “By the end of the evening, everyone will feel proud and uplifted.”

(To read more: Philharmonic to perform ‘The American Spirit’ in commemoration of 9/11)

 

Jazz and Celtic Music This Weekend in Savannah August 20, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kenda Williams @ 3:14 pm

Last week, classical music was performed in Savannah by an award-winning Ukrainian pianist…

Schubert, Debussy and Chopin — oh my!

By Kenda Williams
For Savannah Morning News

Charged with emotion, classical piano mesmerizes audiences with beautiful and well-constructed compositions that have stood the test of time. Many of today’s classically trained pianists continue playing these timeless works while also adding a few modern pieces to their concert performances.

Internationally acclaimed, award-winning pianist Marina Lomazov will give a classical piano recital Friday during this year’s Joseph Pramberger Memorial Concert at Messiah Lutheran Church on Skidaway Island.

Lomazov’s repertoire will include works by Schubert, Debussy, Chopin, Rachmaninoff and Kapustin.

(To read more: “Schubert, Debussy and Chopin – oh my!”)

Tonight – Celtic music downtown at Molly McPherson’s … Sunday – Jazz across the Savannah River. It’s a music-filled weekend here in the SAV…


Police officer by day, jazz musician by night

Sean Bolden and his group will perform Sunday for the Coastal Jazz Association
By Kenda Williams
For Savannah Morning News

Even at an early age, jazz musician Sean Bolden knew he wanted to learn and perform music.

“My mom said when I was a child I used to pull out her pots and pans and play drums,” he said.

A Savannah-based award-winning drummer and pianist, Bolden is wrapping up his studio album to be released this fall.

Bolden will perform with his band The Sean Bolden Group at the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa on Sunday, presented by the Coastal Jazz Association.

(To read more: “Police officer by day, jazz musician by night”)

Ockham’s Razor in town

By Kenda Williams
For Savannah Morning News

Seattle-based Celtic rock band Ockham’s Razor will visit Savannah during their first national tour. The band will perform Friday at Molly MacPherson’s Scottish Pub and Grill downtown.

Lead singer Kris Clements purposefully chose Savannah as a stop along the tour. Originally from Scotland , Clements grew up in Georgia and often visited Savannah.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Savannah. I have a lot of good memories of going there as a kid,” Clements said. “I’m really looking forward to coming back again.”

Ockham’s Razor originally set out to travel from Seattle across the country 9,000 miles through 26 states where they would perform 20 shows in 30 days.

Because of complications, after a tour van broke down and the band spent its time and resources on repair work, they were forced to miss a few shows.

Clements said the band is continuing its tour in good spirit, though, and has had positive experiences in the cities it has played, such as Boston and Brooklyn.

(To read more: “Ockham’s Razor in town”)

 

A glance at summer writing August 11, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kenda Williams @ 10:39 am

The funny thing about summertime is how easy it can be to fall behind when vacations take over your otherwise work schedule! Vacations are much needed, however, and I’m happy to say I’ve made several trips this summer. I visited friends and family in Arkansas, Florida and Alabama – all southern states and all blessed with good people, nice music, amazing food and lovely scenery. Growing up in the South, I can be a little biased, but who can blame me? 🙂

Here are a few articles of mine that were published in the past month or so. More to come, so keep your eyes open!

Shirley Daughtry is such a sweet lady and allowed me to take a tour through her organic garden – Heritage Organic Farms in Effingham County – and interview her for a job profile.

The Savannah Children’s Choir was invited to perform in England at the annual Somerset International Youth Choral Festival. These kids are so talented!

City Market in the downtown Savannah historic district is always filled with fun things to do and see as well as an abundance of creative local and regional artists. ArtSquared kicked off its weekend with events at City Market, which included the gallery of one of my favorite artists, Vicci Waits. Her paintings are absolutely awe-inspiring and so lovely, filled with Tuscan countryside scenes with yellow Italian sunflowers and red poppies.

My article on ‘green/eco-friendly businesses in Savannah’ also graced the front page of the Aug. 5 Business in Savannah journal, which unfortunately can’t be accessed online, but if you’d like a copy, let me know.