By Jannah G. Johnson, Special to the AFRO
Sitcom star, photographer and former model Daphne Maxwell Reid is adding a new title
to her long list of professions: author. Reid recently released a cookbook for beginners
called Grace + Soul & Motherwit, which chronicles both delicious recipes and Reid’s
Although the 70-year-old Reid is perhaps best known for her acting and on-screen
personas, during an interview with the AFRO she made sure to point out that there was no
harsh jump to be made from skill to skill. She is perhaps most famous for portraying Aunt Viv on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and continues to act today.
“There was no real transition from actor to writer. My life is full of expressing the gifts
that I was given by God and I express them whenever the time is appropriate and whenever the opportunity arises, and I have so many gifts that expressing them is how I honor these gifts, being able to share what my gifts are with the world.”
Although Reid has many gifts and has made many forays into the creative world,
motherhood was always the space she felt she could express herself most.
“I have a fabulous son and he is a wonderful person and I’d say that’s my greatest
achievement. I have recipes in the book that I shared as meals that he grew up with and there are recipes in the book with stories about the kids.”
Much of Reid’s childhood was centered around food and many of her memories
concerning her ancestral home in New York are told in the context of food and sharing a meal. “Eating is what initially got me into cooking, Reid said laughingly. “I’ve always
cooked, my mother cooked. This book is a compilation of recipes from my parents, people
that I’ve worked with. It’s taken me over 40 years to collect all these recipes and I have
a story about where each came from, this cookbook is a mini memoir.
“It has a little bit about the me of me, growing up in New York and how I related to my family and what family means to me. This book is also a primmer for people who have
never cooked before and are just going out on their own. It features how to set a table, how to set up a kitchen, how to stock a pantry. Each recipe comes with the utensils you’ll need to serve make each dish. It’s a memoir dressed up as a cookbook.”
As for Reid, she understands the significance of the dinner table and finds it to be the best place to share with those she loves and connect emotionally to them.
“The dinner table is where I grew up knowing that I was loved, having parents who
loved me. We sat and talked at the dinner table. My mother prepared food with a joy and a love that was evident.
“I grew up knowing around a table and around a meal you can exchange all sorts of
feelings as well as comradery. It’s a central hub to me. Sitting down and eating with someone is a way to share whatever is going on in your life and show them you care.