Shop Our Favorites
MY KIND OF NET ART PRINT BY GULLAH LIVING SERIES BY SAMANTHA CLAAR – X-LARGE
MY KIND OF NET ART PRINT BY GULLAH LIVING SERIES BY SAMANTHA CLAAR – X-LARGE
MASTER PIECE CHASING SENSE GULLAH ISLANDS WALL ART, 35X35
MASTER PIECE CHASING SENSE GULLAH ISLANDS WALL ART, 35X35
35″ X 35″ GULLAH GEECHEE CONJURE WOMAN BY SYNTHIA SAINT JAMES CANVAS ART PRINT – MASTERPIECE ART GALLERY
35″ X 35″ GULLAH GEECHEE CONJURE WOMAN BY SYNTHIA SAINT JAMES CANVAS ART PRINT – MASTERPIECE ART GALLERY
Lowcountry Rice Culture Note Cards
Lowcountry Rice Culture Note Cards
Willow Row Multi Colored Ceramic Coastal Decorative Jar – Set of 2
Willow Row Multi Colored Ceramic Coastal Decorative Jar – Set of 2
‘Inspirations’ Sheer Scarf by Jonathan Green
‘Inspirations’ Sheer Scarf by Jonathan Green
MASTER PIECE LESSONS GULLAH ISLANDS WALL ART, 35X35
MASTER PIECE LESSONS GULLAH ISLANDS WALL ART, 35X35
Woven Wicker Rattan Wall Decor, Round Seagrass Boho Kitchen Decor, Minimalist Rattan Chargers & Placemats for Dining Table & Wall Art, Rattan Wall Decorative Basket
Woven Wicker Rattan Wall Decor, Round Seagrass Boho Kitchen Decor, Minimalist Rattan Chargers & Placemats for Dining Table & Wall Art, Rattan Wall Decorative Basket
GULLAH NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS (HARDCOVER)
GULLAH NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS (HARDCOVER)
Handmade Gullah Sweetgrass Drink Coasters . Traditional Hand Crafted Folk Art . Natural Woven Home Decor . Made in the USA
Handmade Gullah Sweetgrass Drink Coasters . Traditional Hand Crafted Folk Art . Natural Woven Home Decor . Made in the USA
35″” x 35″” Juneteenth by Synthia Saint James Canvas Art Print – Masterpiece Art Gallery
35″” x 35″” Juneteenth by Synthia Saint James Canvas Art Print – Masterpiece Art Gallery
Estaugh Ikat Black/Gray Indoor / Outdoor Area Rug Union Rustic Rug Size: Rectangle 8′ x 11′
Estaugh Ikat Black/Gray Indoor / Outdoor Area Rug Union Rustic Rug Size: Rectangle 8′ x 11′
Goddesses by Synthia SAINT JAMES Canvas Wall Art 3 Piece
Goddesses by Synthia SAINT JAMES Canvas Wall Art 3 Piece
AFRICAN AMERICAN LIFE IN THE GEORGIA LOWCOUNTRY: THE ATLANTIC WORLD AND THE GULLAH GEECHEE (RACE IN THE ATLANTIC WORLD, 1700–1900 SER.)
AFRICAN AMERICAN LIFE IN THE GEORGIA LOWCOUNTRY: THE ATLANTIC WORLD AND THE GULLAH GEECHEE (RACE IN THE ATLANTIC WORLD, 1700–1900 SER.)
TALKING TO THE DEAD : RELIGION, MUSIC, AND LIVED MEMORY AMONG GULLAH/GEECHEE WOMEN
TALKING TO THE DEAD : RELIGION, MUSIC, AND LIVED MEMORY AMONG GULLAH/GEECHEE WOMEN
Gullah Geechee Home Cooking: Recipes from the Matriarch of Edisto Island
Gullah Geechee Home Cooking: Recipes from the Matriarch of Edisto Island
Set of 4 Natalya Ikat Stripe Placemats Gray – Ballard Designs
Set of 4 Natalya Ikat Stripe Placemats Gray – Ballard Designs
Suzanne Kasler Greek Key Sham – Ballard Designs
Suzanne Kasler Greek Key Sham – Ballard Designs
Safavieh Noely Coastal Writing Desk
Safavieh Noely Coastal Writing Desk
carol&frank Josie Indigo Pillow
carol&frank Josie Indigo Pillow
Stratton Home Reddish Brown Tulum Woven Lantern Stand
Stratton Home Reddish Brown Tulum Woven Lantern Stand
Woven Bamboo Placemats, Set of 4 By Anthropologie in Blue Size SET OF 4
Woven Bamboo Placemats, Set of 4 By Anthropologie in Blue Size SET OF 4
Finnhomy Sideboard Buffet Cabinet, Kitchen Storage Cabinet with Rattan Decorated Doors
Finnhomy Sideboard Buffet Cabinet, Kitchen Storage Cabinet with Rattan Decorated Doors
Sweetgrass Kite Earring
Sweetgrass Kite Earring
Set of 4 Woven Striped Placemats – Frontgate
Set of 4 Woven Striped Placemats – Frontgate
GULLAH HOME COOKING THE DAUFUSKIE WAY: SMOKIN’ JOE BUTTER BEANS, OL’ ‘FUSKIE FRIED CRAB RICE, STICKY-BUSH BLACKBERRY DUMPLING, AND OTHER SEA ISLAND FAVORITES (PAPERBACK)
GULLAH HOME COOKING THE DAUFUSKIE WAY: SMOKIN’ JOE BUTTER BEANS, OL’ ‘FUSKIE FRIED CRAB RICE, STICKY-BUSH BLACKBERRY DUMPLING, AND OTHER SEA ISLAND FAVORITES (PAPERBACK)
Arthur Court Designs Sea Horse Twisted Seagrass Placemats – set of 4
Arthur Court Designs Sea Horse Twisted Seagrass Placemats – set of 4
ColorBird Stripe Tassel Tablecloth Cotton Linen Dust-Proof Table Cover for Kitchen Dinning Tabletop Decoration (Rectangle/Oblong, 55 x 120Inch, Blue)
ColorBird Stripe Tassel Tablecloth Cotton Linen Dust-Proof Table Cover for Kitchen Dinning Tabletop Decoration (Rectangle/Oblong, 55 x 120Inch, Blue)
Whitewash Wood Draped Bead 4 Light Chandelier by World Market
Whitewash Wood Draped Bead 4 Light Chandelier by World Market
MAMA DOONK’S GULLAH RECIPES (PAPERBACK)
MAMA DOONK’S GULLAH RECIPES (PAPERBACK)
Yaheetech Set of 2 Weave Arm Chair Mid-Century Metal Dining Chair Y-Shaped Backrest Hemp Seat, Black
Yaheetech Set of 2 Weave Arm Chair Mid-Century Metal Dining Chair Y-Shaped Backrest Hemp Seat, Black
Doric Upholstered Wingback Arm Chair Red Barrel Studio Body Fabric: Skylar Antique Blue
Doric Upholstered Wingback Arm Chair Red Barrel Studio Body Fabric: Skylar Antique Blue
GULLAH DAYS: HILTON HEAD ISLANDERS BEFORE THE BRIDGE 1861-1956
GULLAH DAYS: HILTON HEAD ISLANDERS BEFORE THE BRIDGE 1861-1956
Lenox Watercolor Horizons Microwave Safe Blue 12-Pc. Dinnerware Set, Service for 4, Created for Macy’s
Lenox Watercolor Horizons Microwave Safe Blue 12-Pc. Dinnerware Set, Service for 4, Created for Macy’s
G IS FOR GULLAH
G IS FOR GULLAH
GROWING UP GULLAH IN THE LOWCOUNTRY (PAPERBACK)
GROWING UP GULLAH IN THE LOWCOUNTRY (PAPERBACK)
Drew Rose Designs Ceramic Woven Trim Planter
Drew Rose Designs Ceramic Woven Trim Planter
Mud Pie Rattan Serving Utensils
Mud Pie Rattan Serving Utensils
GULLAH GEECHEE HERITAGE IN THE GOLDEN ISLES (PAPERBACK)
GULLAH GEECHEE HERITAGE IN THE GOLDEN ISLES (PAPERBACK)
GULLAH IMAGES: THE ART OF JONATHAN GREEN
GULLAH IMAGES: THE ART OF JONATHAN GREEN
‘Inspirations’ Note Cards by Jonathan Green
‘Inspirations’ Note Cards by Jonathan Green
MASTER PIECE JOOK JOINT GULLAH ISLANDS WALL ART, 35X35
MASTER PIECE JOOK JOINT GULLAH ISLANDS WALL ART, 35X35
Kouboo 1110141 Manhattan 2-Tier Console, Natural Rattan End Table, Brown
Kouboo 1110141 Manhattan 2-Tier Console, Natural Rattan End Table, Brown
‘Southern Imagery’ Notecards by Jonathan Green
‘Southern Imagery’ Notecards by Jonathan Green
MASTER PIECE GATHERING GULLAH ISLANDS WALL ART, 30X40
MASTER PIECE GATHERING GULLAH ISLANDS WALL ART, 30X40
GULLAH CUISINE: BY LAND AND BY SEA
GULLAH CUISINE: BY LAND AND BY SEA
BLACK BORDER : GULLAH STORIES OF THE CAROLINA COAST
BLACK BORDER : GULLAH STORIES OF THE CAROLINA COAST
Gullah Spirit: The Art of Jonathan Green
Gullah Spirit: The Art of Jonathan Green
Quilted Patchwork Cotton Throw Blanket – Indigo Blue Shibori Dye Indian Decorative Super Soft & Warm Blanket for Sofa and Couch 50 x 60 Inches
Quilted Patchwork Cotton Throw Blanket – Indigo Blue Shibori Dye Indian Decorative Super Soft & Warm Blanket for Sofa and Couch 50 x 60 Inches
THE JOHN HOPE FRANKLIN AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE: MAKING GULLAH: A HISTORY OF SAPELO ISLANDERS, RACE, AND THE AMERICAN IMAGINATION (PAPERBACK)
THE JOHN HOPE FRANKLIN AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE: MAKING GULLAH: A HISTORY OF SAPELO ISLANDERS, RACE, AND THE AMERICAN IMAGINATION (PAPERBACK)
GULLAH CULTURE IN AMERICA (PAPERBACK)
GULLAH CULTURE IN AMERICA (PAPERBACK)
RING SHOUT GULLAH ISLANDS – UNFRAMED PRINT ON CANVAS WORLD MENAGERIE
RING SHOUT GULLAH ISLANDS – UNFRAMED PRINT ON CANVAS WORLD MENAGERIE

Singing the Praises of Black Southern Praise House Cooks

Singing the Praises of Black Southern Praise House Cooks

There is always one. The elder sister wearing both her church hat and an apron, serving up food in the fellowship hall. She is the one who thinks of the folk sitting at those tables in only one of three ways. You are either the pastor, a member or a visitor. She will know who gets what to eat and how much, and she is most likely to whisper to another elder sister, “Seems like s/he only shows up to eat.” 

Yanceyville vicinity NC credit LOC

Of course, the elder sister can be rough, but there is no questioning her commitment to serving food, and serving it with love. 

Southern black church cooks do more than prepare food for the myriad church anniversaries and fellowship events such as the monthly Sunday supper, they are the arbiters of southern cooking tradition and the initiators of a black church’s food-related projects such as the fundraising cookbook and the selling of food plates to pay for everything from scholarships to new pews to community outreach. They are – for the most part – the women trusted to take the equivalent of a few fish and loaves of bread to feed people. 

1928 Florida

Southern Church Food

If you are expecting something fancy, then you will be disappointed. Southern church food is home-cooking for a hundred or more people. The staples: Fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, greens and green beans, a salad of lettuce and tomato with the choice of Italian or Ranch dressing, a dinner roll, and your choice of a slice of pound cake or pie. You will drink water, red punch or coffee. There are variations of that menu, which can include roast and gravy, a ham, and maybe turkey with dressing and a peach cobbler. It depends on the budget and the cooks. 

Those plate dinners generally sold on Fridays will either be BBQ or fried fish, spaghetti (depending on your church and region), a slice of white bread, and another side such as potato salad or baked beans. The dessert offering is cake or pie.  

Homecoming Providence Baptist Church in Remington Virginia

The southern black church repast meal is the premium version of whatever is served for fellowship suppers. There will be more food, more dessert choices, and a side-eye or two for those people (immediate family are the exception) who make frequent trips to the buffet line. 

There are also occasions when the men will cook too. The pancake breakfasts. 

Enough said. 

Your plastic cutlery will be wrapped inside of a white paper napkin. The pastor and first lady have china and silver, and cloth napkins. 

dinner2 credit the shrine of the black madonna

The Tradition You Won’t See

There is some behind-the-scenes wrangling you will not be privy to as a diner. The careful and tender creation of to-go plates to be delivered to the sick and shut-in members or to the custodian or to the members experiencing a hard time. Those plates are prepared first, and before the pastor’s meal. 

You will not see them diligently and meticulously cleaning every nook and cranny of the church kitchen the day before. 

You will not see them sitting with the ledger trying to figure out how to feed a whole lot of people with a small budget. You will only see the miracle of their handiwork on a dime. 

Heritage Travels

If you are sitting up north somewhere, reading this story, then you are probably thinking you have seen these scenarios played out in your neck of the woods. You have. Southern black church food as heritage has traveled with the daughters and granddaughters of the women who cooked back home in Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, South and North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky. 

To celebrate southern food heritage is to celebrate the southern black women who created the tradition of serving food in the praise house. 

As Maya Angelou said, “I like the country foods: the greens and the beans and the cornbreads and the biscuits. Not just for the taste, but because it infuses the house with an aroma that says “You are welcome. You’re going to have some good food. It’s going to take some time. And once you eat it you won’t want to leave.” The black church cook’s food says “welcome.” 

Robin Caldwell

Robin Caldwell is the blogger behind freshandfriedhard.com and a public historian and researcher focusing on Black culinary traditions and foodways.

More Posts

4

Comments

comments

Follow:
Robin Caldwell

Robin Caldwell is the blogger behind freshandfriedhard.com and a public historian and researcher focusing on Black culinary traditions and foodways.

Find me on: Instagram

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Instagram
4   187
17   517
8   292
18   185
19   176

Follow on Instagram

Shop Our Favorites!
LEROY CAMPBELL CAREFREE HAND SIGNED AFRICAN AMERICAN ART
Black/Gold Ceramic Planter
Drew Rose Designs Ceramic Woven Trim Planter
Nadia Striped Highball Glass
Ombre Taper Candle Set
Victoria Tasseled Pendant By Anthropologie in Blackk
Set Of 4 5×15 Galaxy Luxe Metallic Placemats
Woven Bamboo Placemats, Set of 4 By Anthropologie in Blue Size SET OF 4
La Double J – Set Of Two Scalloped Cotton-blend Placemats – Cream
Butterscotch Blankees
50″” Warwick 3-Door Accent Media Cabinet Fawn Brown – Threshold
35″” x 35″” Juneteenth by Synthia Saint James Canvas Art Print – Masterpiece Art Gallery
Yaheetech Set of 2 Weave Arm Chair Mid-Century Metal Dining Chair Y-Shaped Backrest Hemp Seat, Black
Sweet Jojo Designs Pink, Green and White 84-inch Window Treatment Curtain Panel Pair for Olivia Collection – 42 x 84
Jani Sara Green and Pink Flatweave Rug – 5′ x 8′
‘Beyonce’ Graphic Art Print on Wrapped Canvas Size: 18″ H x 26″ W x 1.5″ D
A Tale of Two Cities Throw Pillow
HBCU’s Canvas Print
Quilted Patchwork Cotton Throw Blanket – Indigo Blue Shibori Dye Indian Decorative Super Soft & Warm Blanket for Sofa and Couch 50 x 60 Inches
Woven Wicker Rattan Wall Decor, Round Seagrass Boho Kitchen Decor, Minimalist Rattan Chargers & Placemats for Dining Table & Wall Art, Rattan Wall Decorative Basket
Mud Pie Rattan Serving Utensils
ColorBird Stripe Tassel Tablecloth Cotton Linen Dust-Proof Table Cover for Kitchen Dinning Tabletop Decoration (Rectangle/Oblong, 55 x 120Inch, Blue)
carol&frank Josie Indigo Pillow
Finnhomy Sideboard Buffet Cabinet, Kitchen Storage Cabinet with Rattan Decorated Doors
Kouboo 1110141 Manhattan 2-Tier Console, Natural Rattan End Table, Brown
A Different World (TV) 11 x 17 TV Poster – Style A
(27×40) Eve’s Bayou Movie Samuel L Jackson Lynn Whitfield Original Poster Print
Yes. Jesus Loves Me (Religious) – Katherine Roundtree 16×20 Black Framed
Dancing in The Living Room (Girls) – Katherine Roundtree 24×32 Black Framed – African American Black Art Print Wall Decor Poster
The Goodbye Kiss (Buffalo Soldier) – Katherine Roundtree 24×32 Black Framed – African American Black Art Print Wall Decor Poster
‘Inspirations’ Note Cards by Jonathan Green
‘Southern Imagery’ Notecards by Jonathan Green
Amanti Art Funeral Procession Framed Art Print
Willow Row Multi Colored Ceramic Coastal Decorative Jar – Set of 2
Stratton Home Reddish Brown Tulum Woven Lantern Stand
Safavieh Noely Coastal Writing Desk
Estaugh Ikat Black/Gray Indoor / Outdoor Area Rug Union Rustic Rug Size: Rectangle 8′ x 11′
Set of 4 Natalya Ikat Stripe Placemats Gray – Ballard Designs
Unique Loom Greek Key Machine-Made Rug
Alfred Greek Key Ottoman Dakota Fields Color: Lilac
Suzanne Kasler Greek Key Sham – Ballard Designs
Doric Upholstered Wingback Arm Chair Red Barrel Studio Body Fabric: Skylar Antique Blue
Slowtide Beach Towel
Goddesses by Synthia SAINT JAMES Canvas Wall Art 3 Piece
Whitewash Wood Draped Bead 4 Light Chandelier by World Market
3pc Taper Candle Holder Set Gold – Threshold
Screen-Door Nightstand – Black – Nate Berkus
Brass Wall Frame – 14″” x 18″” Matted for 8″” x 10″” Photo – Room Essentials, Gold
Solid Bathroom Wastebasket White – Opalhouse
5qt Cast Iron Casserole Dish Cream – Hearth & Hand with Magnolia, White
Minsmere Caned Accent Table Natural Brown – Opalhouse
227 – TV SHOW 80’S CLASSIC SHOW PRINT, GIFT FOR BEST FRIEND, FOR MOM, HOME DECOR, BLACK ART POP ART, FEMINIST
Shop Now

Click to Shop!

Shares
• powered by chloédigital
Making Time for Myself as a Mom Oyster Roast Essentials – Black Coastal Heritage Gullah Cookbooks We Love Daisy Bates Home Tour