Putting the soul in soul food, two restaurant owners share their love of cooking family recipes

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — For as long as she can remember, Dreamer Glen has been cooking.

“My Granny taught me everything I know about cooking because she loved to do it,” Glen recalled. “That was her thing.”

Now it’s Dreamer’s thing. She is the owner of Miss Prissy’s in Salt City Market. Soul food is her specialty. For her it’s,

“Family, comfort, home, love, peace. You know all those elements coming together. It’s just like one big hug. Soul Food is one big hug. You eat that macaroni and cheese and it’s just like ‘oh gosh. I feel so much better.’”

Dreamer Glen, Owner of Miss Prissy’s

She serves up a lot of those feelings, as macaroni and cheese is one of her most popular dishes at Miss Prissy’s. That along with her fried chicken.

“It’s a privilege, and it’s an honor because I don’t consider myself a chef,” Glen added, “I’m just a home cook, you know, it might not necessarily be pretty, but it’s sure going to taste good.”

What she uses to make her dishes taste good has a deep history. African Americans who were enslaved were given scraps of food.

“For instance, I use smoked turkey necks in my collard greens. That’s considered a scrap food,” Glen explained. “We’ve learned to make do with the scraps that were thrown away and make them into a great, great meal. We’re innovative like that.”

This cuisine is the ultimate unifier – bringing families together.

The soul doesn’t end at Miss Prissy’s inside Salt City Market.

“I wanted to be like the answer to soul food,” said Sleyrow Mason, owner of SOULutions.

It was a dream come true for him.

“I define soul food as the food that we cooked in our homes all across America, you know, in the urban community,” Mason explained. “A lot of the food that we cooked came out of necessity.”

He was introduced to cooking by his mother.

“I was in the kitchen with my mother from a young age all the time, but never knew why I was in the kitchen with her, but I was an adult after the passing of my mother, I began cooking for my family,” Mason said.

At SOULutions, Sleyrow said they serve, “Traditional dishes such as mac and cheese, greens, candied yams and we cook specials also. We get into smothering our foods also, like smothered rib tips, barbecue rib tips, barbecue chicken, a lot of different variety of dishes we offer.”

Since he got his start cooking at home with his mom, he wants to share that feeling with those who stop by for a plate.

“We want you to feel like you sat at my table and you were dining with my family,” says Sleyrow Mason, Owner of SOULutions.

Family is at the center of it all. And while Glen and Mason have their own spin as cooks, they agree on what makes soul food soulful.

“It takes herbs, seasonings, and vegetables, slow roasting processes. So it’s like a labor of love. You just take your time,” said Mason.

“Just a little bit of love. Time and love” said Glen. Those are some of the best ingredients.

For further information on the menu, photos, and more from these two restaurants, check out Miss Prissy’s site and SOULutions site.