ABC students serve up hearty portions of soul

Mashed potatoes, baked beans, pulled pork, cornbread… if these dishes don’t entice you, senior Willie Gore’s famous sweet potato pie might.

This Sunday from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., the members of the Association of the Advancement of Black Culture (ABC) will share some of their favorite family dishes in the club’s annual Soul Food Dinner, which will be sponsored in part by supermarket chain Giant Eagle.

Each entree featured will be prepared by either a student or professor. A home-cooked meal may be hard to come by for most students but this feast will be a tasty alternative to the routine of Brooks dining hall.

The swipe of a student ID will give diners access to a medley of cultural dishes in lieu of another Brooks meal. The charge will also go toward the relief efforts in Haiti. There are no additional fees, but ABC is encouraging donations to help the cause.

Food may be an integral part of the Soul Food Dinner, but the stories behind the recipes are just as hearty as the meals themselves.

Jordan Brooks, ’10, ABC’s Black Heritage Month chair, commented on the opportunity for ABC members and others to embrace their different cultures and proudly share them with the rest of campus.

“In ABC there are African Americans from many different areas but one common thing is food,” Brooks said. “The dinner gives us a chance to find a common culture and share some of the dishes that are passed down from the generations of different families.”

Willie Gore’s sweet potato pie is one of the many generational dishes that will be served. Gore, ’10, praises his grandmother, who is from cooking–crazy Mississippi, for making “the best sweet potato pie [he’s] ever tasted.”

Gore now combines his mother’s recipe, which he has used in the past, with his grandmother’s recipe, chock–full of “Southern secrets,” to create the beloved dish he has enjoyed sharing with students for the past three years.

“Sweet potato pie has been a tradition in my family as far as I can remember,” Gore said.

This year, however, which happens to be Gore’s final year at Allegheny, is his last opportunity to showcase his signature dessert, an upsetting fact for both him and students’ stomachs.

“Hopefully I can execute this pie for the fourth and final time at the Association for the Advancement of Black Culture’s Soul Food Dinner and make my mother and grandmother proud.”

Allegheny professors will spend some time outside of the classroom to work alongside students in the kitchen as they also help to prepare dishes.

ABC Treasurer Brittany Johnson, ‘12, encourages students to take a break from their busy schedules to take part in the one-of-a-kind culinary and cultural celebration.

“Just come and eat, relax and have fun and try as many dishes as you can,” Johnson said.

Attendees will not only leave the soul food dinner with full bellies, but a new appreciation for the different cultures on campus.