Soul Food aka Southern Cooking

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I sat down this morning and checked out the new posts of several of the blogs I follow.  I saw that Carolyn over at Krazo Acres had a new post up. 
I had started to leave a comment and realized it was so long that I had the makings of a new post myself.  If you have been blogging any time at all you know that when you get an idea for a new post never turn it down! You run with it.  I’m going to put up her “homepage” link because you have GOT to read the one under it.  I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time. 

And now for the comment I deleted over there…. Read on!

There was a time some years ago that I was really curious to find out what Soul Food really was.  I was around 20 when I finally found out.  There was a little cafe who’d just opened their doors and the sign on the building read Mama’s Soul Food.  I was SO excited!!  I was going to finally find out what “Soul Food” really was.

 The big day came and a friend and I headed over to check out the place.  When we got there we found the cafe was sort of like a cafeteria type line where you got to choose what you’d like on your plate.  The menus were rotated out  day to day.  So that day there were fried pork chops and fried chicken with a beautiful crispy crust, There were turnips and turnip greens with bacon, fried cabbage w/ham,   black-eyed peas and ham hocks, mashed potatoes and white gravy, pinto beans w/bacon (pork n beans southern style), fried squash,  cornbread and fresh baked rolls. For desert there was dewberry cobbler and banana pudding.  Everything looked so darn good but I still wanted to know where the soul food was.

  It seems I missed the days that they made things like chitterlings (pronounced chitlin’s)  and pigs feet. Not that it made much difference to me because it wasn’t like I’d not eaten those before.  I love me some chitlins! The cafe was only open for dinner (some folks call it lunch) from 11-2 on weekdays. If they ran out of food they just ran out of it.  Once it was gone that was it.  They had a chalk board with the menu printed out. They’d cross off what they ran out of.  It turned out to be a huge success with folks around town.  You would see business men in their work uniforms (suits) carpenters and craftsmen, folks from other service businesses.  If you wanted the best selection you had to show up early and stand in line for it.

The meal was wonderful but it was on that day  I finally found out that all the years I’d wondered just what Soul Food was that I’d been eating it all my life. For some reason that sort of bummed me out since  I pretty much cooked the same way at home as did my mom and grandma did. But it sure was a great place to go have what I call comfort food but apparently also called Soul Food. 
 One evening a week they served All You Can Eat Catfish n fixin’s every Friday for supper!!! It was the only day of the week they would cook a dinner menu and reopen at 5 for the catfish supper.  Once it was gone they’d close the door.

 Unfortunately  Mama’s Soul Food burned to the ground a few years after I’d found the place. They didn’t have the money to rebuild.  What happened after that was amazing.  Folks started to donate money to help re-build the place.  There were “tip jars” on dozens of business’ all over the place. Even the little hole in the wall bars were raising money for them. Even the local tv news stations were covering it.  It took over a year but they finally were able to re-open!  That shows you just how community can come together and make things happen.