We stan generational wealth building. For 58-year-old fitness guru Donna Richardson-Joyner and her 80-year old mother LaVerne Richardson, the launch of Mama LaVerne’s Chicken, Waffles and Pancake Seasoning and Baking Mixes is not only to bring delicious food into our homes, but doing just this — passing down a generational legacy.
For over 25 years family, friends and celebrities have enjoyed Mama LaVerne’s Chicken & Waffles, and now for the first time ever, they’ve packaged this rich family legacy for consumers to cook at home. Now you don’t have to go to a restaurant to experience this culturally rich cuisine, because you can prepare this easy to cook recipe — which retails in stores this month, just in time for Black History Month.
Mama Laverne’s recipe stems from a rich family tradition that was started with soul food Sundays, just like the movie, at her grandmother’s house. After church everyone enjoyed food, fun and fellowship. Later Mama LaVerne started serving her signature Chicken & Waffles at gatherings from coast to coast.
“We’ve been doing this for 25 years, just blessing our family, friends and even celebrities (such as Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, The O’Jays and more), around the country, with Mama LaVerne’s signature dish, which is the chicken and waffles,” says Donna Richardson-Joyner. “It really started with us gathering as a family and her cooking the chicken and waffles. You go to church or brunch, and it reminded me of the movie Soul Food, everyone getting around the table. That’s what I grew up with, and that’s what I experienced. So you have this beautiful soul food dish that she put her own signature on, and this combination is so beautiful. I call it “delicious, homemade joy.” You have the savory and the sweetness and it’s all combined in one. It’s joyful and it brings comfort to people.”
“It’s always been a joy for me to cook the chicken and waffles,” continues Mama LaVerne Richardson. “That made me feel really good.”
For many years LaVerne’s daughter, Donna served as her sous chef until her mother passed down this chicken and waffle family recipe to her on a hand written piece of paper so she can share it with the world. Her recipe even won the honor of “Best Chicken & Waffles” on the Tom Joyner Fantastic Voyage Cruise.
“I like cooking and my mom cooked for us all the time and she had her favorite recipes,” says Mama LaVerne Richardson. “One thing we got upset about with ourselves as children, is that we didn’t think to ask our mom to write her recipes down. So when Donna would become my little assistant in cooking the chicken and waffles and pancakes, I said I’m going to share this with you.”
The soulful adaptation of this famous recipe began in the 1930’s with the excitement of the Harlem Renaissance. However, the 80 years young, LaVerne Richardson has given her own personal twist to this savory soul food combination. Now with it pre-packaged, you can get homemade chicken and waffles and it’s easy to make, and you can have it prepared in less than 30 minutes.
“The pandemic really gave us time to work together and to concentrate on the chicken and waffles, and what we wanted to do with it,” says Mama LaVerne. “We came up with the pre-mix flour mix and put our product out there for people to be able to enjoy… I look forward to seeing the progress with the new product that we’ve been able to put out.”
When reflecting on the purpose of the new mother-daughter venture, Richardson describes it as “enriching people’s connection through food for the soul.” Whether at the table in person or virtual, traditions can continue to carry on.
“Growing up, whether it was Grandma’s table, our family’s table or a friend’s table, we would gather to enjoy some good food, to talk, to share family history, to discuss the news, to play cards, to celebrate — all of which strengthened our bond with each other and created memories we treasure,” says Richardson. “When I look back I can appreciate being in the presence of generations and listening to their testimonials of how faith, family and fortitude brought them through hardships to victory. I stand on the shoulders of greatness and receive the baton that has been passed down to me. I want to raise the bar and past the baton to the next generation. Food was the backdrop then and it is still now.”