OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA — The brisket is for Sunday brunch. The fried chicken is for today. ‘Winkie’ Dickerson has to stay ahead of the curve in his kitchen because people hungry for his sould food are always coming through the door. “I started cooking when there wasn’t any cooking schools or culinary schools,” he says. “I learned on the job and from watching my mama.”
Brandi Jones helped start A Family Affair Restaurant almost seven years ago. They struggled at first until a few investors stepped in, and until they decided to stick to the ribs of what defined sould food for them. Brandi says, “My definition of soul food is it comes from the soul, from within, from the love of everything that you put into the dish. It’s that certain taste that you’re looking for.”
The specials revolve around the days of the week but fried chicken is always on the menu. Soul food may be heavy on starch and calories, but Brandi knows her regulars because they always come back. After eating one longtime customer says, “The food is so good I went home and slapped my mama!” Brandi points out a few customers standing in line, “He comes in every Thursday. This lady does too.”
The restaurant is helping put Brandi through accounting school. Cooking his favorite food keeps Winky in good spirits. He says, “Soul food is what you put into it. “It’s like a Southern Cuisine.” The definition of what makes up ‘Soul Food’ might vary some with the cook and the consumer, but they would both agree that the good stuff always comes from a familiar place. I soothes some inner part of us that hungers for home.