Oh the wonders of the internet and shopping on Amazon! At the very beginning of my internet shopping adventures, back in about 2004, I had managed to drop my copy of Maya Angelou’s book I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings into a puddle whilst moving house so ventured onto Amazon to order another copy and came across this, a cookbook by this amazing woman. I’ve always been a bit of a sucker for a cookery book from any old Joe so there was no resisting this one: Hallelujah! The Welcome Table.
It isn’t just a book of recipes. It is a wander through the life and memories of such a wonderful woman, punctuated by memories of food. Be warned, there is nothing lettuce-and-cucumber-good-for-the-waistline about these recipes. They are in large part recipes made by poor black families of the South, used to going without and making do but equally making the best of what they had.
From it, as well as enjoying a great read, I learned of such wonders as Red Rice and Smothered Chicken.
None of this is really the kind of food I would normally eat but I couldn’t resist trying probably 50% of these recipes from time to time. The red rice and smothered chicken have made more than one appearance though and there’s something really comforting in both cooking and eating them.
The supermarkets seem to stock so many World foods these days that the ingredients, if you don’t already have them, are relatively easy to source but do make sure you have a search through the internet to make sure you know what you’re looking for – what we call cornflour, Americans call cornstarch for example. The recipes are written in a really simple easy to follow format – can’t recommend it enough, although you might need my conversion chart for oven settings!