Look at those chops just calling your name.

“Mama said there’ll be days like this / There’ll be days like this mama said."

Mama was right. And on those days when you’re looking to eat your feelings by pigging out on pork, head to Mama’s Oven.

Frequently named one of Houston’s best soul food restaurants, Mama’s Oven has been serving unassuming affordable platters of oxtails, meatloaf, turkey wings, and other proteins for over 20 years. I have lived in Houston for 10, worked down the street in the Medical Center for three, and I am just discovering their soothing grub. Now, I’m making up for lost time by feasting on their pork chops when family, job, the current political climate, or all of the above are getting me down.

Mama’s Oven offers two preparations of their pork chops (smothered and fried), and like a set of fraternal twins separated at birth, uniting them on one plate seems like only the right thing to do. The proprietor at Mama’s Oven neither blinked twice nor charged me extra when I asked for one pork chop smothered and the other fried, which leads me to believe this request is far from unusual.

That’s understandable considering the terrific contrast between the crispy fried chop with an acceptable level of greasiness and its lovely counterpart, tender and juicy under a blanket of thick brown gravy. Complimentary cornbread is handy for sopping up extra oil and sauce, though save some carbohydrate space for sides of dressing (“stuffing” to you, Yanks) and an unctuous, thick scoop of marigold orange mac 'n' cheese. Cabbage, green beans, and mustard greens (Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday, only) are also available for botanical balance, though I feel vegetables are really just garnishes in these cases.

At Mama’s Oven, your choice of a meat and three sides is just under $12, potentially one of the best bargains in town for a home-cooked meal that requires you to neither cook nor do the dishes.

And if your soul still needs soothing after your porcine double-header, go right next door to Hank’s Ice Cream for a double scoop.

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