Remember Thanksgivings? Fourteen aunts and uncles crowded in a hot kitchen, yelling over the sound of beaters through mashed potatoes, arguing over whether or not the okra needs more salt with the loving pushiness only family members can endure of one another.
Now remember your lunch today. Was it chicken tenders? The same deli sandwich and chips you had yesterday, and probably the day before that? The Advancement of Black Culture, working in a collaborative effort with Parkhurst, is bringing back the feeling of family dinners. This Sunday ABC is cooking for campus as part of their annual Soul Food Dinner.
“The food here is usually very bland, so I’m looking forward to tasting good, cultural food that I haven’t had the chance to eat in awhile,” said Sherry Rivas, ’14.
Soul food isn’t your typical plate of turkey and gravy, but rather has a cultural significance all its own.
“Soul food is food that has historically been associated with the black community and can frequently be found in black communities during holiday seasons as a connection to roots and an expression of culture,” said ABC President, Jevon Hatcher, ’11.
Be sure to get your seat promptly; unlike previous years, there is no rolling entrance. Instead there will be a brief presentation on the history of “soul food” by public speaker Bettye Walker.
ABC is purchasing all the food because, as Hatcher states, some of the ingredients—like ham hocks and greens—aren’t easily found in Meadville. The sentiment behind the planning of the meal, however, is a familiar one, no matter what’s on the menu.
“A part of what makes this event so special to a lot of members is the fact that it creates such a home feel, not only because of the food and the taste, but that the idea that it’s home cooked and we’re making it together,” Hatcher said. “So in the back, it’s all of us. It’s not professionally being done; there are no caterers.”
Kevin Brazda, ’12, is looking forward to helping prepare food for the dinner.
“I think soul food is less about food and more about spending quality time with people preparing the food,” he said.
Food seems to taste better to people when they know they have helped to prepare it.
“That’s what makes soul food soul food: the idea that the families are getting together and they’re all in one space confined,” Hatcher said. “They’re all cooking together and having a good time and then they get to enjoy a phenomenal meal afterwards.”
The dinner this Sunday at 5:30 p.m. will serve as ABC’s closing ceremony of the Black Heritage Meal.