JENEÉ OSTERHELDT

Slap yo momma? It’s food that will knock you out

Updated: 2013-08-15T00:21:17Z

By JENEÉ OSTERHELDT

The Kansas City Star

Word got out last week that Eddie Kennison was planning to call his new City Market pizza shop Slap Yo Momma.

A lot of people were scratching their heads.

I laughed.

The former Kansas City Chief told The Star the name is a term of endearment, and that’s true. The politically correct police can turn their sirens off. No one is actually getting slapped. That phrase has been around for a long time in soul-food-loving households. In my home, it’s not unusual to joke that something is so good you want to slap somebody.

As it turns out, Kennison decided against that name for his gourmet pizza place, which will open in a couple of months next door to his Cellar & Loft wine shop. But he definitely gave us something to talk about.

I grew up hearing slap-happy compliments as well as such exclamations as “That was so good you must have put your foot in it.” Naturally, no one wants a chef to put toes in a dish. It’s just one of those over-the-top compliments.

A new Popeyes commercial declares that the chicken waffle tenders “will make yo mama shout.”

There you have it. When food is good, I mean really good, you don’t just want to Instagram it or say “That was delicious.” You want to say something grand enough to capture what your tastebuds are feeling.

For instance, there are nights when I fantasize about the scallops at Novel (815 W. 17th St.) having a party in my tummy a la “Yo Gabba Gabba.” Sorry Brobee, the scallops are mine. (Read the glowing review here.)

See, things get a little kooky when we’re talking food. So I asked a few culinary insiders about the crazy things people say and the dishes that make them join in on the action.

Brett Atkinson

Chef and owner of the food truck Wilma’s Real Good Food ( twitter.com/wilmasgoodfood)

Craziest compliment: After eating Brett’s Bourbon-Praline Pork Belly Slider, a customer said, “I would crawl 100 miles, naked, through broken glass, just to suck the crud from under your fingernails after you do dishes.” Brett says the customer might have been drunk. Let’s hope so.

Food that makes him slap-happy: “The chocolate torte at Emeril’s in New Orleans. He said, “My tongue would punch a hole in my teeth for another taste of that.”

James White

Executive chef, Hollywood Casino restaurants ( hollywoodcasinokansas. com)

Craziest compliment: “That meal was so good, I’ll clean your kitchen,” a customer said about his Great Northern Beans With Smoked Ham and Honey-Glazed Cornbread. Even his dad offers to clean up after James cooks.

Food that makes him slap-happy: The enchilada at Ixtapa, 7103 N.W. Barry Road. “It was so authentic and flavorful it felt like a trip to Mexico.” Talk about a staycation.

Abra Hay

Pastry chef, Babycakes ( babycakeskc.com)

Craziest compliment: “These cupcakes are so good they changed my life,” said one 4-year-old. Abra had other examples, but they were too wild to print.

Food that makes her slap-happy: The chickpea soup and ham salad sandwich at Happy Gillis, 549 Gillis St. “That’s so good I want to marry it,” she says. Unfortunately, she’d eat it before they could make it down the aisle.

Patrick Ryan

Chef and owner, Port Fonda ( portfondakc.com)

Craziest compliment: “I had a guy tell me that his wife would divorce him if she knew he liked our chilaquiles more than hers. And, I think he meant it.” He’d better keep that secret.

Food that makes him slap-happy: When Ryan was on a date with his fiancee at Bluestem, 900 Westport Road, chef Joe West sent out the Cheese-in-Cracker. (Think Cheez-It, the upgrade.) “I was like, I could eat a bucket of these things,” he says. “No, like for real, I could eat a bucket of these.” Like Pringles, once you pop, you can’t stop.

Shanita McAfee

Chef and owner, Magnolia’s ( magnoliaskc.com)

Craziest compliment: Her fiance, Mark Bryant, is on the restaurant floor and hears the craziest things. Having someone say the shrimp and grits are so good they make you want to slap yo mama is common at Magnolia’s, so what takes it to another level? A woman once said she would bathe in the bacon dip. Note to self: The chips and dip could be a beauty regimen.

Food that makes her slap-happy: The lobster bisque at Jasper’s, 1201 W. 103rd St. Shanita says it’s so good that she would slap Jasper’s mama! (It’s just a metaphor, friends.)

Jeneé Osterheldt’s column runs on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. To reach her, call 816-234-4380 or send email to josterheldt@kcstar.com. “Like” her page on Facebook and never miss a column. You also can follow her at Twitter.com/jeneeinkc.

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