Throughout Maya Angelou's life, from her childhood in Stamps, Arkansas, to her world travels as a bestselling writer, good food has played a central role. Preparing and enjoying homemade meals provides a sense of purpose and calm, accomplishment and connection. Now in Hallelujah! The Welcome Table, Angelou shares memories pithy and poignant-and the recipes that helped to make them both indelible and irreplaceable.
Angelou tells us about the time she was expelled from school for being afraid to speak-and her mother baked a delicious maple cake to brighten her spirits. She gives us her recipe for short ribs along with a story about a job she had as a cook at a Creole restaurant (never mind that she didn't know how to cook and had no idea what Creole food might entail). There was the time in London when she attended a wretched dinner party full of wretched people; but all wasn't lost-she did experience her initial taste of a savory onion tart. She recounts her very first night in her new home in Sonoma, California, when she invited M. F. K. Fisher over for cassoulet, and the evening Deca Mitford roasted a chicken when she was beyond tipsy-and created Chicken Drunkard Style. And then there was the hearty brunch Angelou made for a homesick Southerner, a meal that earned her both a job offer and a prophetic compliment: "If you can write half as good as you can cook, you are going to be famous."
Maya Angelou is renowned in her wide and generous circle of friends as a marvelous chef. Her kitchen is a social center. From fried meat pies, chicken livers, and beef Wellington to caramel cake, bread pudding, and chocolate ?clairs, the one hundred-plus recipes included here are all tried and true, and come from Angelou's heart and her home. Hallelujah! The Welcome Table is a stunning collaboration between the two things Angelou loves best: writing and cooking.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
Random House Trade Paperbacks
September 19, 2004
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Hallelujah! the Welcome Table by Maya Angelou
Chapter 1 Pie Fishing My grandmother, who my brother, Bailey, and I called Momma, baked lemon meringue pie that was unimaginably good. My brother and I waited for the pie. We yearned for it, longed for it. Bailey even hinted and dropped slightly veiled suggestions about it, but none of his intimations hastened its arrival. Nor could anything he said stave off the story that came part and parcel with the pie. Bailey would complain, "Momma, you told us that story a hundred times" or "We know what happened to the old woman" and "Momma, can we just have the pie?" (Momma always ignored his attempts to prevent her from telling the tale.) But if we wanted Momma's lemon meringue pie, we had to listen to the story: There was an old woman who had made it very clear that she loved young men. Everyone in town knew where her interests lay so she couldn't get any local young men to come to her house. Old men had to be called to clean out her chimney or fix her roof or mend her fences. She learned to count on finding young strangers who were traveling through the area. One Sunday morning there was a new young man in church sitting alone. Mrs. Townsend saw him and as soon as the last hymn was sung, before anyone else could reach him, she rushed over to his bench. "Morning, I'm Hattie Townsend. What's your name?" "George Wilson, ma'am." She frowned a little. "Anybody get to you?" "No, ma'am. I don't know anyone here. Just passed by, saw the church, and stopped in." He had used the word ma'am out of courtesy. She was all smiles again. "Well, then I'm inviting you, and I am a good cook, to my house for Sunday dinner. I have my own chickens and two cows, so my chickens are fresh and my butter is rich. I live in walking distance. Here is my address; come around this afternoon around three o'clock." She patted him on the shoulder and left the church. A few young men from the congregation rushed over. "Mrs. Townsend invited you for dinner?" "Yes." "Well, I'm Bobby. Here's Taylor and this one is Raymond. We've all been to her house and she's a good cook." The men started laughing. "No, she's a great cook. It's just that after you eat, she pounces." "Man, the lady can pounce." The stranger said, "I don't mind a little pouncing." They all laughed again. "But man, she's old. She's older than my mother." "She's older than my grandmother." "She's older than baseball." The stranger said, "I'll eat dinner and after that I can take care of myself. Thanks, fellas, for warning me." Bobby shouted, "Her lemon pie will make a rabbit hug a hound." Taylor added, "Make a preacher lay his Bible down." Meanwhile, Mrs. Townsend entered her house and went directly to her sewing box. She put on her glasses and took out a needle. She walked back down the path to her house and stuck the needle in a tree. She returned to the house and began to cook a chicken she had resting in the refrigerator. For the next hour she stirred pots and shifted pans, then she set her dining table for two. She had time to freshen up and change before her company came. "Well, welcome, Mr. Wilson." He was a little cooler than he had been at church. She knew why but she also knew he hadn't eaten her cooking. "The bathroom is here if you would like to freshen up. Dinner is not quite ready yet." Of course everything was ready, but she wanted him to have time to breathe in the fine aromas floating in the air. She served him chicken and dumplings. Chicken tender as mercy and dumplings light as summer clouds.