It all started many years ago in NYC when I spent a lovely sunny afternoon at Brooklyn’s Prospect Park with a couple of girlfriends when Erykah Badu (one of my g’friends in attendance’s friend) and her then young son, Seven, joined us. We introduced ourselves, realized we had MANY mutual friends, and immediately hit it off. To add to our potluck luncheon, I brought some empanadas, and it was love at first bite for her! I still remember her son adamantly proclaiming, “It’s got soy in it, Mama!” warning HER not to eat it (although HE’s the one who has soy allergies; how ca-uuute!). She nonchalantly replied, “It’s okay, baby. These are too good to pass up. I’m gonna eat ’em.” She then expressed what a wonderful culinary artist I am and we exchanged numbers.
Soon afterwards, we kept in touch, built a relationship and I would always be a guest at her concerts. While hanging out in her dressing room, I noticed the venues would provide the standard fruit and veggie trays (along with teas, water, and chips) from, say, a Kroger or Publix……..*insert Price is Right losing horn* I thought to myself, “After being on the road for weeks at a time, she SHOULD have something more exciting to munch on in here.” The following day, I visited her at her hotel to share our life goings-on and to meet her then 4-month-old daughter, Puma. She begins telling me about Seven and how he alternates his birthday celebrations between Dallas and Atlanta. Well, this particular year was going to be Seven’s 7th (hee-hee) and it was Atlanta’s turn to celebrate it. Erykah told me how she and Andre (as in 3000, 1/2 of the duo that is OUTKAST) were gonna do it up big since SEVEN (the number and the young prince) was sooooo special to the two of them.
Carnival-style, they planned; Dave & Busters (a playland in itself), tons of children running amuck, a caricature artist for children’s portraits, a private pre-screening of the SpongeBob movie, complete with a popcorn cart featuring a bottomless pit of popcorn. I immediately began to think of kid-friendly foods that Seven (and his vegan a-alikes) would enjoy AND would comply with his special diet. “So E, who’s catering the vegan portion of the party?’, I asked. “Well, you are!”, she exclaimed 🙂
The vegan guests were in “fun food heaven”, partaking in veggie chili dogs, nacho salad, pizza, cheeseburgers, BBQ potato chips, and a specialty drink for the evening- “seven-gria”!
Alas, since the demise of my previous laptop, I’ve lost all but ONE of the pics from the party (and lemme just say; I’m soooo glad it’s THIS pic that got saved! ha! see below….sorry, E :-/). I do remember that at 7:07pm we sang Happy Birthday (in 346-part harmony) to the birthday boy. (Michael Vick even showed up and presented Seven with a signed Falcon’s jersey -#7) How poetic!
WHEW! I was kinda long-winded with that previous story, eh? All of that to say that since then, EARTHCANDY GOURMET VEGAN CUISINE provides the eats for “all things BADU” that pass through Atlanta (and once in Tennessee for the Bonnarroo Music Festival)
Erykah always fancies a live food platter and a green juice. The platter consists of a spicy kale salad, cauliflower “fried” rice, wakame w-artichoke hearts, curry plantain stew and seasoned nori sheets. Her juice is a blend of spinach, celery, lemon and apple. It’s a lovely tonic. (Side note: she basically LIVES on nori. One night after her show, she called me around 2 am asking if I can pick up a BOX of them for her to snack on for the duration of her tour! These boxes hold about 200 pkgs!!! I must admit, they are pretty addictive :-)) I do, however, prepare cooked food that her children, band, crew, and select fans dine on (and sometimes Erykah will indulge). The menu is constant: jerk tofu with pineapple salsa, collard greens, coconut rice & peas and those EMPANADAS that she loved! Hey, like I say; “If it ain’t broke, I’MA FIX IT!”
It’s an honor to partner with a great friend indeed. Last time I saw her was during the Soul Train Awards that was taped in Atlanta, GA a couple of weeks ago. One evening after soundcheck/rehearsals, she called me saying, “Can you pleeeeease make some food for me? I want……, ……, ……, and…… . Man, I feel like I’m pregnant with all this food I’m asking for!” So, I came through like a champ that evening AND the night of the awards. She was happy, full, and looked über-fly. Her performance was spectacular as well. (oooh, by the way, I witnessed with my own eyes (and ears) the ANITA BAKER tribute and saw Lalah Hathaway-one of the tributees who sang “Angel”- backstage and hailed her for about 10 seconds 🙂 She thanked me, complimented my hair (she has locs also) and we spoke later in Ms. Baker’s dressing room. That’s another amazing experience that I’ll blog about later. *sigh* I digress…..)
I didn’t have time to take pics of Erykah or the other performers behind the scenes that evening since it was a hectic scenario. My friend Shannon McCollum, however, caught me backstage in the hallway and snapped this:
Here’s Erykah Badu’s Soul Train 2010 performance. Until next time….