Irene Cooking with the Stars
Irene “Mama” Stokes
By Brandon I. Brooks
Sentinel Entertainment Editor
Irene “Mamma” Stokes is back with a new celebrity cooking program.
Irene “Mama” Stokes has been a trailblazer in the entertainment industry for over 40 years. No stranger to Hollywood, Irene has appeared in more than 35 films and television projects under the management of the late great Redd Foxx.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Irene began cooking when she was around maybe 15 or 16 years old. She learned from her mother who she said made everything from scratch. “I come from Cleveland and there you had to take home economics”.
When Irene had children many times she had to fix meals on a very low budget. She shared that being a single parent it was no secret that her budget was tight. In her book “Irene’s Kitchen Vol. 1”, Irene shares a special moment when she had to make a meal for two dollars. The moment stuck with Irene because she always was amazed on how she pulled it off.
“At that time I took the two dollars and made a meat loaf and I made lima beans and coleslaw. See it’s not expensive when you go buy everything. And I remember I took my table cloth out and I put my china and crystal on the table and the kids came in and they said who’s party is it and I said yall’s. I did that with my two dollars and I made it gourmet. I didn’t take a picture because I wasn’t ever thinking I was going to share it with anybody but it was one of the moments in my life I will never forget”.
Irene values family more than anything in the world and being a single mother of six, Irene made sure family in the kitchen was the primary focus of her new celebrity cooking program.
Â “Right now the family is breaking down. We have a lot of problems with gangs in the streets so I said you know what everybody likes to be an entertainer (laughs) so I said I wonder what the entertainers are cooking. So I started thinking about the fact that cooking with the stars would be interesting. I didn’t just want to do minorities though. I wanted to mix it up with all the kids, who are cooking what and what’s happening in the kitchen. And then the concept was to send it to cable”.
Irene didn’t leak which Cable Company will be picking up the program but she assured the Sentinel as soon as it was confirmed we would be one of the first to know. As of now you can view several episodes on Irene’s website www.irenecooking withthestars.com. Since the programs debut, “Irene Cooking with the Stars” has had exclusive kitchen conversations with celebrities guest such as Jamie Foxx, Kris Jenner, Raven Symone’, Tisha Campbell-Matin, Shane Sparks and Omarosa to name a few.
Irenes’ “Top Ramen Fridays” a special feature on the website, is an economy buster, it will help you save money in the kitchen. On top of Ramen Fridays Irene explores the wonderful world of Ramen Noodles. She shares and prepares her delicious and economical homemade recipes to help you prepare a quick, easy, delicious and hearty meal that can feed a family of four for about $15.00.
Â “My whole concept, is to basically go to the fact that the family should unite and come together”, Irene shared.
Irene also talked about the importance of eating healthy. “It’s not many foods we can’t eat, it’s how they are prepared. I have tips and hints on my website that can show you well don’t add the salt or if you use salt, use a little sea salt or put a dash in it. There are some others that we can use that are not as high in potassium or sodium”.
I asked Irene how she stays so youthful and vibrant and she said “half of it and I am going to say this as the God given truth, is because I am a single parent. Not that I chose that but I had to raise a bunch of kids, I raised six of them. And that is the hardship because then we as mothers can’t play the role that just a woman would play. We are being at home, taking care of the family, being cute and pretty and playing both mom and dad”.
“I’ve been in the business for over 40 years. This here is something I did this year. This is something new and this was a new perspective of where I wanted to go in my career. I watch a lot of women and a lot of women, not my age, because I am 66”.
Irene’s website (www.irenecookingwiththestars.com) offers fans the opportunity to order Irene’s highly anticipated cookbook, “Irene’s Kitchen Volume 1”. Fans can also visit Irene on Face Book, MySpace, Twitter and YouTube for updates, blogs, exclusives and news on her new show on network television this fall.
With all that is going on with Irene “Mama” Stokes I asked her what advice would you give to someone like myself that gets intimidated by the kitchen and buys fast food more often than not? Irene said, “What’s going to make it better for you is your going to eat healthier and cleaner. That’s the first thing because see when you go out, people don’t wash their hands. You have to be careful. And then when you eat if it’s not cooked completely, like if you eat a pork chop for instance and you don’t cook it thoroughly you can get worms. You really can get worms because the pork has to be cooked a certain amount of times, the blood has to removed from it and it’s a proper way you have to do that. Young people need my cook book”.
As far as ingredients for a successful cooking session, Irene says, “Cook with love”. Her book offers poems that go along with her recipes.
“So when you’re in the kitchen put on some nice jazz put on some nice blues, even if you want to put on rap it doesn’t really matter. Let the music be taken in. That’s the key to cooking you have to cook with love. See these young people today, they are in love with each other but you have to be in love with the food too so the food can taste right”.
Irene stressed the importance of proper seasoning and making something from the heart. “There a lot of things you can’t give a family”, Irene said. “Family is the most important thing that you can have. Seriously, it’s not how famous you are, how big you are or nothing it’s how important the family is. And that’s why “Irene Cooking with the Stars” I wanted people to relate. They might be big names, they might be personalities but they are only human.