A retired minister looks at the world around him from a different perspective -- the back pew. From this viewpoint his restless mind is free to wander out the door to topics secular as well as religious.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
The Soul Food Buffet
Near the end of every month, residents of Westminster Village anticipate a special evening buffet dinner (our evening meal is normally served at the table) featuring the food of some special culture. Chef Breck has given us Italian, Polynesian, Caribbean and the food of a host of other cultures. Last night he came closer to home when he gave the black members of the kitchen staff the privilege of providing the kind of meal they would serve guests in their own homes. It was Soul Food night.
The menu for this Soul Food Buffet began with bacon and corn chowder and seafood pasta salad. On the main buffet line we found stuffed pork chops, southern fried chicken and slap yo’ mama meatloaf. Though I would never think of slapping my mama, I opted for the meatloaf and it was the best I’ve eaten since my own mama put her Yankee-recipe meat loaf on the table when I was a boy.
Along with my meatloaf I ate Louisiana dirty rice and green bean casserole. Both were excellent. I could also have had down home collard greens, Mississippi red beans or potato and crabmeat casserole. Between Betty and Jo and Richard, the couple with whom we ate, we sampled most of these things. All were pronounced good, even by Jo, a thin little lady who worried that such a menu might be loaded with hog fat.
Our dessert choices included sweet potato pie and hummingbird cake. I had never before eaten hummingbird cake—in fact, had never heard of it—but I’m going to ask our food manager to add that to the list of excellent cakes that appear on our tables with regularity. The cake looked something like pound cake, which I am fond of, but was more of a caramel color and had pineapple and nuts and who knows what all else in it.
Today I’m not going to go near that dining room. I’m still full of soul food, and feasting on the memory of it.