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Big Mama’s Soul Food Truck keeps slow cooking in a country style


June 28, 2022, 9:53 CET

Photo by David Brendan Hall

Photo by David Brendan Hall

Fried chicken on buttermilk with the crispiest skin. Mouth-watering vegetable cabbage slowly cooked in ham juice. Fresh sauce infused with light pepper. Everything is made from scratch and cooked to order, so it tastes like the best family cooking. Big Mama’s Kitchen soul food truck serves three generations of the Jones family’s recipes at food truck park 1606 East, a work of love that transforms modest ingredients into a feast for the community.

Soul food stands for family to truck owners, operators and life partners Timisha “Big Mama” Jones and Otis Campbell. They come from large, multi-generational families with lots of mouths to feed, where each one of necessity always cooked with love. The term “soul food” refers to the seasoning and slow cooking techniques donated by communities that did not always have the best pieces of meat and had to spread a few vegetables around a large table. “Soul food is when you don’t have much, but you can prepare a meal that is delicious,” says Campbell.

Jones adds, “Because you put your soul into it.”

Through the food truck, Jones and Campbell anchor deeper into the city and neighborhood they have long called home, doing what they do best: creating and sharing the food they have prepared with dedication and intention.

Jones and Campbell are the third and second generation Austins respectively. They have known each other since they were young children, wading barefoot in Boggy Creek, but they only started dating five years ago. Campbell was born on East 10th Street and Jones grew up in NE Austin near 290. Jones still lives in the area; she bought a house with a wood-fired grill and she keeps two horses.

Big Mama’s Kitchen

Food is in Jones and Campbell’s blood. Their families are close; her uncle dated his aunt and their mothers went bingo together every week before they both died a few years ago. Both of their mothers were cooks – his in restaurants and she in nursing homes – and their fathers worked in trucking, so it seems the couple got together and opened a food van. Sister Jones also achieved success after opening her own food truck called Mama’s Soul Food in Northeast Austin seven years ago.

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