This book is dedicated to my beautiful daughter, Lula Mae Jones. Your life will be a tremendous blessing to the world, primarily to your Momma and Daddy.
Many daughters have done virtuously, nobly, and well [with the strength of character that is steadfast in goodness], but you excel them all. Charm and grace are deceptive, and beauty is vain [because it is not lasting], but a woman who reverently and worshipfully fears the Lord, she shall be praised! Proverbs 31:29-30 (The Amplified Bible)
What is Delicious Goodness? I love to use the term, and it’s my favorite hash-tag on social media (#deliciousgoodness) but have you ever wondered what it is, really? A cutesy little name? A clever marketing gimmick? Nope. I guess that it can be all those things, but for me it started at a young age. My Mother was the youngest of five children, and never learned her way around the kitchen. Meals at our house consisted mainly of boxed dinners, sandwiches for lunch, and cereal or pop tarts for breakfast. But when I went to my Granny’s house it was altogether a different story. There was one thing that defined Sara Mae Jones above all others, and that was her ability to cook. And when I say cook I don’t mean that she just threw supper together. No sir, my Granny had the ability to wow us at every meal, every time. I learned early that she was doing something in her kitchen that was different from other kitchens, and I wanted in on the secret. She took care of me a lot while my parents were working, and by default I spent much of my time with her in her kitchen. She even said that, as a baby, she kept me sitting on the counter, playing with dough, because she was afraid I would fall or “get into something” as I was prone to doing. My earliest memories are of spending time with her in the kitchen, but more importantly, it was what she was putting out of her kitchen. Delicious Goodness.
Her style was definitely Southern, but she traded and asked for recipes everywhere she went. It did not matter when or where. I inherited the thousands that she collected over her eighty-seven years on this earth, and they are written on everything from dry-cleaning receipts to paper bags to the backs of cancelled checks. Granny was a true artist, and she spent her life honing the craft of Delicious Goodness. I am so grateful for her influence on my life and the way that she inspired me to learn more about cooking “that good stuff that we made the other day that tasted so good” (this was her favorite quote from a five year old James K Jones) For me, Delicious Goodness is defined as that sustenance that lights up your taste buds and wants you to come have some more. It’s comfort food, but not always. It can be healthy. It can also be unhealthy if we don’t use moderation. It can be savory. It can be sweet. It is highly pleasing to the taste. Delectable, mouthwatering, appetizing, tasty, flavorful, downright delicious cuisine full of lip-smacking goodness is what it is! My quest has always been to find that unique thing in every recipe that puts it over the top. I am so excited that you have made the choice to join me on that journey.
In the following pages, I want to arm you with the tools to create your own Delicious Goodness. My desire is not just to write another cookbook, but to also connect with you through the stories that accompany each recipe. I want to invite you into my kitchen, my family, and my journey of building relationships around food. “Cobblers” is the first in a series and I look ahead with joyful anticipation to how these books will influence your own style of creating Delicious Goodness!
What is a cobbler? To many of us it may mean something different depending on where we grew up or our family of origin. There are so many varieties, and I love them all… The Brown Betty, The Crisp, The Dump, The Buckle… and the list goes on. I love to eat mine with ice cream or whipped cream, but the true test comes when eating a cobbler all by itself. One that can stand-alone is, in my humble opinion, the best of the best. The proof though is in the eating, not in the recipe, so I’ll leave that for you to decide.
My perspective comes from my deep southern roots, and cooking with my Grandmothers. They always made their cobblers with piecrusts. These are certainly filled with Delicious Goodness, and very traditional in my neck of the woods, but I adapted a different recipe style when I opened my first restaurant in 2006.
Kairos Kafe was in a building that once housed a local Birmingham landmark, Ollie’s BBQ. Mr. Ollie was famous for his pies. I began to receive countless requests for them. The only problem though was that I didn’t like making pies. I love eating them, but for some reason I could never master many recipes, and to top that even if I made one I had a terrible time trying to cut them, so I passed on pie-making as an addition to our menu. But the entreaties never stopped coming.
Then there was that enjoyable day when Lenora, our dining room manager, brought in a peach cobbler that I absolutely adored. It was different from the ones I grew up with, and I admired the texture, taste, and feel of it. It was the best cobbler I’d ever eaten. I quickly asked her for the recipe, and she was delighted to share. Later on that year I was on vacation in Savannah and I had the opportunity to eat at “The Lady & Sons” restaurant. I noticed that Paula’s cobbler had the same feel and consistency as Lenora’s, and it was very much filled with Delicious Goodness. I filed these thoughts away in my mind, curious, and I did some more research.
It seems that cobblers go all the way back to medieval England, and the original thought was that you poured fruit into a batter that “cobbled up” when it was baked. I loved the thought of doing something original, so I purposed that when I decided to make cobblers I would do it in this manner. This was something I read as an opinion, but it struck me as authentic. The origin of the actual word cobbler is unknown, but we know that the early American settlers made cobblers in many different forms.
Later that year I received a call from The Birmingham News. The writer told me that she was doing an article on local, authentic cobblers, and would publish me on the front page of the food section if I had a recipe that she could use. I told her I could do a peach, but she said it was already covered. Apple, blueberry, and blackberry were taken too. She told me she would love to have one that was red in color to balance out the look of her pictures. I really wanted my restaurant on the food cover, so I told her I would do a strawberry cobbler. She had never heard of this, and the truth was I hadn’t either. In my mind I knew that strawberry pies were good so why not a cobbler? It could’ve turned out badly, but instead it was a huge success! Strawberry cobbler became a huge hit on my menu! This began my love affair with cobblers, and the taste of ooey-gooey fruit baked into a fantastic crust that popped waves of delicious goodness into my mouth with each warm and delectable bite…
The following recipes are the result of playing around with methods and wanting to find my own niche for Delicious Goodness. I have been asked on numerous occasions to write a cookbook, and this is the first in a series I hope to write. I have seven on my radar, all filled with my most requested recipes: Cobblers, Casseroles, Cupcakes, Baked Pasta Dishes, Soups, Salads, and Appetizers. My highest demanded recipes are for cobblers, and since all but the peach are my original recipes, I thought this would be an ideal place to start. I hope you enjoy! And thank you for reading my stories!
James K Jones
Chef and Owner of Kairos Katering in Birmingham, Alabama
*People of all age groups and backgrounds will love learning how to create these unique cobbler recipes that are filled with what Jones calls “Delicious Goodness”. Readers will not only learn how to prepare such culinary delights as peanut butter cobbler, chocolate cobbler, coconut, pineapple, lemon, strawberry and more, but they will also be able to connect with the author through the stories that accompany each recipe. In these Jones invites you into his kitchen, his family, and his journey of building relationships around food. He credits his passion for food to his late Grandmother, Sara Mae Jones, who spent time in the kitchen with him from a young age. We look forward with joyful anticipation to the next installments. “Cobblers” is the first cookbook in a future series that will include Casseroles, Pasta Dishes, Soups, Cupcakes, Salads, and Appetizers. To find out more about James K Jones, who is a self-proclaimed “Delicious Goodness Specialist” look him up online!
Facebook Page http://www.facebook.com/kairoskafe