Discussion in 'Cooking / Recipes' started by Dennis, Nov 28, 2014.

  1. Dennis Dennis Shook

    ​Patti LaBelle's cup runneth over

    Singer Patti LaBelle has become nearly as famous for her food as for her music. CBS NEWS
    • 131 Tweets
    • Stumble
    • Email
    • More +

    Tracy Smith offers us a tempting sample of "LaBelle Cuisine" in this Sunday Profile:
    If you didn't know better, you might never guess that Patti LaBelle has been on stage for more than 50 years . . . or that last May she turned 70.
    "You don't look 70 at all!" said Smith.

    "Thank you. And I don't know what it should feel like. I feel cool, you know? I feel really good!"

    And she's trying to stay that way.
    LaBelle has been known to bring her pots and pans with her on tour, and she's earned a reputation as the "godmother of soul (food)," cooking for herself and whomever else she's played with, like Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and the rest of the Rolling Stones.
    What did she cook for them? "Brisket, short ribs, fresh fried corn off the cob, cabbage, rice and gravy, peach cobbler. It was good!"
    And then there was her former piano player Elton John, who she says loved her food so much he'd take it home . . . and keep her Tupperware.
    "And of course years later I asked for my Tupperware," LaBelle laughed. "At this point he could afford to buy me some more Tupperware, you know?"
    "Did you get it back?" Smith asked.
    No. But, she said, "he gave me a diamond ring, yeah. That was nice."
    "That'll work!" Smith laughed.
    She's spent years spreading the gospel of good eating through cookbooks, DVDs, and a line of condiments. But for her, things like her legendary Mac and Cheese are now all but forbidden.

    Smith asked, "You clearly enjoy cooking; you love food. How much of a blow was it when you found out that you had diabetes?"
    "Oh, it blew me away," LaBelle said. "You know, my mother died of diabetes, and my aunt and my uncle, they lost their sight. And I knew when the doctor told me that I was a diabetic that I was going to change instantly. And I did. Because I want to live."
    These days, when LaBelle goes shopping in her native Philadelphia, she spends a lot of time in the veggie aisle and the fish counter.
    And this is what the Grammy-winning, platinum-selling artist made for our lunch: fried fish and sauteed spinach, both heavy on the garlic.

    Correspondent Tracy Smith in the kitchen with Patti LaBelle.
    The sound of sizzling seafood is music to LaBelle's ears.

    "Do you sing while you're cooking?" asked Smith.
    "Never. Nor do I sing in the shower."
    Truth is, she was practically born singing.
    Patricia Louise Holt was a church choir veteran who formed a girl group of her own in the late 1950s. She used her own name, until she met a record exec who liked what he heard . . . but not what he saw.
    "He was loving the way I sounded," LaBelle said. "But he said, 'Ooh! She's kinda ugly.'"
    His unlikely solution: to rename Patti LaBelle -- French for "the beautiful." With Nona Hendryx and Sara Dash, it was Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles -- later, just LaBelle.
    They hit it big in 1975 with "Lady Marmalade."

    To watch Patti LaBelle, Nona Hendryx and Sara Dash perform "Lady Marmalde," click on the video player below.

    "So we recorded the song," said LaBelle, "and after it was released and did some great things, I found out it was about a hooker. We didn't have a clue!"
    "Voulez vouz couches avec moi?"
    "I had no idea what it meant. It was just a hit."

    The three ladies still occasionally sing together . . . and eat together, like they've done since the 1950s.
    "We used to do hot dogs at the Apollo Theater between shows," said LaBelle. "We would put them on the light bulb to keep them warm, because I spent all my money in gambling. I used to gamble with the Four Tops -- lost all my money!"
    Smith asked, "When did you guys know that you'd made it?"
    "I think the first time playing the Apollo was really, like, a big thing for us," said Hendryx.
    "And then having, finally, on the Billboard [chart] a number one single, which was 'Lady Marmalade,'" said Dash. "That is the time that I felt that we really felt like we made it."
    But they disagreed on where to go next, and within two years, Patti was, reluctantly, on her own.
    Smith asked, "Was there a time, especially when you guys broke up as a band, did you think maybe you wouldn't be that close again?"
    "I never wanted to sing solo," said LaBelle. "I had to see a shrink before I did that. Because I always looked at Sara and Nona on stage. And, you know, we rolled together. And if anything happened it was the three of us to blame. Now, if anything goes wrong, it's just me! And I was petrified!"
    "So you literally had to go get psychological help in order to sing alone?" Smith asked?
    "Yeah. Patti didn't wanna be a solo singer!"
    You might say she got over it.
    And earlier this year she nearly brought down the (White) House when she was invited to sing for the president.
    Whether she's cooking or singing, it seems Patti LaBelle's heart is always full.
    "I almost get the sense from you that you feel like you can't complain about anything," said Smith.
    "I better not!" replied LaBelle.
    No? "No. Because, you know, anything can be snatched from you. Don't complain about the small stuff. I am so blessed, it makes me want to cry, honest to God. And I caught myself complaining earlier -- I said, 'Girlfriend, you can't complain, you just say thank God!'"

Share This Page