Down With Pumpkin and Up With Sweet Potato Pie

SweetPotatoPieA Family (and Culinary) Legacy

Q&A with Tarik Moody

Ask DJ Tarik Moody about food and he always has something to tell you. An avid cook and food enthusiast, Tarik is known about town equally well for the new flavors he introduces via his show, Rhythm Lab Radio on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee, as for his love of late night eats. Scrolling through his Facebook feed brings up music you’ve never heard of (but earworms immediately), cookbooks you want to cook through and mostly, just a person you might like to get to know.

eM: What made you start your food blog, The Moody Cook, and what kind of eats does it have in store for us?

TM: I guess you say it was an accident. I started bringing the food I made to work and my co-workers thought it would be good idea to blog about it. The blog will be more than just what I cook. There will be posts about culinary history, cookbook reviews and more. I also recently started a series called “Beats & Eats,’” where I give local chefs a song by a local artist and ask him or her to make a dish inspired it.

eM: You stirred the pot several weeks ago on The Moody Cook when you asked, “If Milwaukee had one signature dish, what would it be?” Of course, the answers were all “custard,” “fish fry,” and “cheese curds,” but you disqualified them. Why?

TM: I disqualified them because of the requirements for a dish to be signature to a city. One of the rules is that the dish has to created or innovated in Milwaukee. Custard, fish fry, and cheese curds were not. Also the Milwaukee fish fry is more of an experience than a dish.

eM: So, what IS Milwaukee’s signature dish, and in the future, do you foresee any other additions to that list coming from our local chefs or food people?

TM: In the article, I established that Solly’s Butter Burger and the chili from Real Chili could be a signature dish. Personally, I would pick chili from Real Chili. It is a dish that I would miss if I left Milwaukee. It would also be one of the first places I would take my out of town friends to. Of course, new things could be added to the list. One possible item would be the Milwaukee rib from Aaron Patin’s forthcoming BBQ joint. Time will tell.

eM: Finally, let’s talk about what you cooked for us. There were long discussions about what to put on the back page of Edible Milwaukee’s holiday issue and you decided to share your family’s sweet potato pie. What does it symbolize for you?

TM: Sweet potato pie is about my history or more importantly, about African-American history. Even George Washington Carver, known for his work with peanuts, developed over 100 recipes for the sweet potato. It is a dish that ties my family (and many other families’) roots together.

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