Comfort Food For The Soul

Just like our cruise host Tony Cornelius wrote in his letter this month, we’re all doing a lot of cooking these days and turning to the food we love the most to help feed our souls. Many of our Soul Train Cruise artists and celebrities have shared their favorite recipes over the years – sometimes during the cooking demonstrations onboard - that have brought them great comfort and joy.  We’re passing them along to you so that they can carry the love into your own homes and those who you are spending this time with.

Black Olive and Citrus Relish

Soul Train Cruise Co-host (and the legendary voice of Pillow Talk), Angela Stribling, led a cooking demonstration onboard a recent Soul Train Cruise for a Black Olive and Citrus Relish found in Cook’s Illustrated.


2 medium oranges, segmented (with the pith and membrane removed) and cut into ½ inch pieces

1 medium pink grapefruit, (with the pith and membrane removed) and cut into ½ inch pieces

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon paprika

10 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped (about ¼ cup)

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

Cayenne pepper (a bit for taste)

Table salt (a bit for taste)

Take care to only use the segmented fruit itself and not the juices.  Accidentally using the liquid from the juice will result in a watered-down relish. Combine all the ingredients in a glass, stainless steel or ceramic bowl and serve fresh at room temperature. 

Patti LaBelle’s Sweet Potato Pie

When we think comfort food, Patti LaBelle’s famous Sweet Potato Pie is one of the first things that comes to mind.  The recipe appears in her cookbook, LaBelle Cuisine: Recipes to Sing About. We’re definitely making one this weekend.



1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup butter-flavored vegetable shortening (chilled)

1/3 cup ice water


3 large orange sweet potatoes, scrubbed

8 tablespoons butter, melted

¾ packed light brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, beaten

¼ cup half-and-half

¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Whipped cream (optional)

CRUST: Sift the flour and salt together in a medium-sized bowl.  Cut the shortening into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or fork until it has a crumb-like texture. Add in water and mix with a fork until it forms into a dough. Flatten the dough into a thick circle and wrap with wax paper. Refrigerate for up to an hour.

Lightly flour the countertop and roll out the dough into a 13-inch circle that is about 1/8 inch thick, then fold in half and unfold it in a 9-inch pie pan. Trim the dough so that there is at least a 1-inch overhang from the pan, then fold that extra crust under so that the edge of the pie crust is lined up right at the edge of the pan.  Flute the dough around the edge of the pan, cover it completely with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

FILLING: Boil a large pot of water, lightly salted, then add the sweet potatoes and set the heat to medium. Cook for about 30 minutes (potatoes should be tender), drain and rinse under cold water until cool. Peel and mash until completely smooth with an electric mixer on medium speed, then set aside.  

Preheat the oven to 400 ̊F. Brush the pie shell with melted butter and sprinkle ¼ cup of brown sugar on the bottom. Bake for about 15 minutes or until dough begins to brown. Do not prick the pie shell if it puffs.  After removing the pie shell, reduce oven to 350 ̊.

Take 3 cups of the mashed sweet potatoes and mix with the rest of the melted butter, ½ cup of brown sugar, ½ cup of granulated sugar, 2 large eggs (beaten), ¼ cup half-and-half, ¾ teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg.  Spread the mixture into the pie shell and smooth.

Bake for about 90 minutes or test using a knife: gently insert it in the center of the filling until it comes out clean.   Cool, cover and refrigerate.  Add whipped cream if desired.

7UP Cake

Henri McMillian of Urban Guerilla Orchestra, a beloved part of the Soul Train Cruise family, gave us his recipe for this guilty pleasure that we all know and love.


3 cups of flour

2 cups of sugar

3 sticks of butter

¼ teaspoon of salt

2 teaspoons of baking powder

5 eggs

1 cup of 7UP soda

2 teaspoons of lemon extract 

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

Cream the butter and the sugar together.

Sift the flour.

Sift the flour again, this time with salt and baking powder.

Add eggs one at a time to the creamed butter and sugar, beating or stirring well as each egg is added.

Take turns adding the soda and flour to the mixture and then beat for 10 minutes.

Add lemon extract and beat until completely mixed in.

Flour and grease a tube or spring pan, add the mixture and bake for an hour or until done.

Ron Isley's Rib Recipe


2 slabs pork spare ribs, 3 pounds each

Kansas City Barbeque Sauce Dry Rub:

2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup dry mustard

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Kansas City Barbeque Sauce:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 (about 2/3 cup) small onion, finely diced

3 cups water

1 cup (2 (6-ounce) cans) tomato paste

1/2 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup molasses

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Dry Rub:

Remove the thin white membrane off of the bone-side of the ribs. Mix together the brown sugar, dry mustard, cayenne, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Massage the rub into the ribs and let sit for 1 hour or up to overnight.

Kansas City Barbeque Sauce:

In a small sauce pot on medium-high heat, heat the oil and add the onion, cooking until translucent.

Add the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and mix together. Add to saucepan and let simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. Use to baste the pork spare ribs.

Yield: 3 cups

If cooking on the grill, place the ribs meat-side down next to medium-hot coals that are about 225 degrees F. The indirect heat will cook them slower, making them tender. Allow to cook for 1 hour. Turn ribs every half hour and baste with the Kansas City Barbeque Sauce. Cook until the ribs are tender, about 3 to 4 hours. 

If cooking indoors, place in a roasting pan with a rack. Slather the ribs with the Kansas City Barbeque Sauce and tent a piece of aluminum foil over them. In a preheated 350F degree oven, place the ribs, basting with the sauce every 30 minutes and removing the foil for the last 30 minutes and cooking until fork tender, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Lonnie Jordan’s (WAR) Vegetarian – Unmeatballs and Zucchini Spaghetti

Serves 2

Unmeatballs Ingredients:

½ C raw cooked walnuts

1 carrot

1 beet

1 TB Olive oil

Coconut aminos (milder soy sauce like flavor, uses coconut tree sap and sea salt)  or tamari (similar to soy sauce flavor without wheat/gluten, uses soy)

Spices: oregano, salt, thyme, basil, garlic powder. Option is freshly chopped garlic and onion


  1. Blend/chop walnuts, carrots and beet in food processor for a minute
  2. Add  olive oil, coconut aminos or tamari slowly to make the mixture looser and moist.
  3. Add desired spices according to your taste.
  4. Shape into balls

For raw vegan: dehydrate at 118 degrees for 3 hours, turning over a few times

For cooking: sauté in a pan at medium heat in olive oil or coconut oil.

Zucchini Spaghetti Ingredients:



You can use a spiralizer, stand mixer attachment, vegetable peeler, box grater or mandolin. There are many ways to make vegetable noodles.

There are also simple instructional videos on Youtube to show you how.

No cooking needed – vegetable noodles are eaten raw 

You can add any tomato-based sauce for a real Italian feel!

We’ll have more cooking content on our social platforms, don’t forget to like and follow the Soul Train Cruise Facebook page and click that subscribe button on our StarVista LIVE Youtube Channel so you don't miss a beat!