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About Rock's Soul Food Sunday Cookbook


Rock's Soul Food Sunday cookbook features cooking tips and 60+ recipes for traditional soul food as well as Rock's specialty soul food dishes. 


The book includes recipes for:

 1) Mama Essie's oven fried chicken prepared with French herbs   2) Mixed turnip, collards and mustard greens   3) Mother Nadine’s sweet potato pie and 4) Mother Nadine’s turkey- oyster corn bread dressing.

About Evelyn "Rock" Ragland

Evelyn Ragland, known to her closet friends as “Rock,” developed culinary skills as a 1960s latch-key child, growing up in Jackson, Tennessee. At the age of 11 she began cooking meals for her three brothers and younger sister while her entrepreneur parents were away from home, operating two “mom and pop” grocery stores and a soul food café.


Nadine Steele Ragland, Evelyn’s mother who owned and operated Nadine’s Grocery and Café for thirty-three years, was considered a soul food legend in the community. She was known for her great cooking and creative touch. Nadine’s store was within walking distance from the historically black Lane College. 


O.T. Ragland, Evelyn’s father, owned and operated the family’s second store, Ragland’s Grocery, exhibiting exceptional entrepreneurial skills.


With Nadine’s touch, something as simple as a bologna sandwich became known as Jackson’s Famous Bologna Burger. The burger has at its center a half-inch slice of fried bologna, which was cut daily from a long stick of bologna stored in Nadine’s cooler. Two slices of cheese are melted on top of the bologna, laid on the grilled bread, and garnished with lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise. The Bologna Burger became a favorite item among her young college-student customers eating on a budget.


Nadine Steele Ragland taught her daughter Evelyn how to prepare the Bologna Burger as well as how to cook a full course meal for the family. At the age of fourteen, Evelyn could cook a traditional southern-style holiday meal, complete with roasted turkey, cornbread dressing, mixed greens, homemade macaroni & cheese, English pea salad, potato salad, sweet potato pie, and pineapple cake.


As Evelyn developed a passion for cooking as a teenager, she chose Home Economics as her major at Tennessee State University, where she received her B.S. and M.A.Ed., focusing on nutrition.

Rock's Soul Food Sunday

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