(This is a picture from the movie Soul-food that came out in 1997; which shows the women preparing the meal)
Food makes smiles,not only appear on our faces but also in our stomach. Sunday was the day that everyone waited for. To have family time and to talk about what has happen through the week. To have that good soul food laid out on the table like thanksgiving spread. It is tradition in my family to have large dinners,household meals on a Sunday. A time where family can relax and unwind from a hard week of work. The menu wouldn’t change very often. I don’t think it was the food that matter much. I think it was the time we spent together that matter most. Food brings open arms and empty bellies waiting to be filled.
My grandmother is from the south and she is very family orientated she wanted us to have dinner everyday. When me and my cousins were younger we woke up to the smell of bacon cooking she made sure every morning we had breakfast. She got us ready for school and made sure we were ready for the day.Family unity was a big thing for my grandma,having us all getting along and treating each other with respect despite what anyone said.We are family and will always be family, soul food brought more smiles and memories than anything else. I remember when me and my cousins were younger, we use to toast but we had no idea what we were saying or what a toast meant. We seen it on TV so we decided to do it and it was a lot of laughter. By all of us living under one roof it could get a little crazy but having my cousins there was like having sisters. I feel like our grandmother knew before we did how we would grow up and become different people. So she had meals that created, bonds and memories,when we got older we can look back and think on the times we had.
My grandmother was born in the 1950s all you had was family back then ,you counted on your father to provide for your household. When he came home with the food you were to sit there and eat everything that was giving to you. If you did not eat it that was a sign of disrespect, because he work so hard to be able to put food on the table. From when I can remember my grandma never let us go hungry she, always made sure every child was fed even our friends. We never wasted food in her house everything was eaten or we would not be able to go outside and play. Monday through Friday was school days, Saturday’s was clean up day we clean up all day the whole house. Sunday was SOUL FOOD day, my grandma would wake up early about around eight or nine in the morning to start cooking. On the menu for Sunday dinner, it would be fresh collard greens, potato salad, turkey wings, mac and cheese, string beans, and fried chicken.
I love to eat fresh collard greens but I hate making them.You have to pick the green all of the stock. My grandmother would say “Make sure you get all the green off the stock you know I don’t like wasting food”. I did as I was told and picked all the green off the stock my grandmother would than come over and check it to make sure I was doing it right. My grandmother and I watched cooking shows my childhood dream was to become a chef. After all the greens was picked you put the greens in the sink while cold water ran. You would put a layer of greens in let the cold water run then layer it with salt and you repeat the process over and over again until all the greens are in the sink. There was always too many greens for the sink. So I would tell my grandmother the greens couldn’t fit and she would say “girl push them greens down so I can add more”.
While me and my grandma was in the kitchen soaking the greens my cousins was at the dining room table peeling potatoes. Potatoes are the best especially potato salad my grandma would make us peel a whole bag of potatoes. My cousin got a pot fill it up with water and put the peel potatoes in the pot, while I put eggs in a pot with water so they can boiled. As the food on the stove was boiling we took the greens out the sink and put them into a pot and let them cook.When my grandma would go to the bathroom.Me and my cousins would take a fork and get some of the greens. We couldn’t wait til dinner time we had to taste them at that time. The food was usually done about 3 or 4 in the afternoon we would clean up,the kitchen then get ourselves clean up. We waited for everyone to arrive sat around the table prayed and we ate. Food brings memories and tradition, no matter what happens you will always have those Sunday dinners.