All Things Food…

Hallelujah! The Welcome Table

I love reading recipe books and books about food!

‘Hallelujah! The Welcome Table a lifetime of memories with recipes’, written by Maya Angelou, is one such read. It is delightful.

Every chapter introduces us to a friend, or family member or someone famous, page after page and recipe after recipe. This books details interesting and mouth-watering recipes from Lemon Meringue Pie, Caramel Pie, Smoked Pork Chops, Braised Cabbage with Ginger, Braised Short Rib of Beef and many other interesting Southern Food recipes.

My favourite piece, one I read and re-read, is ‘Haute Cuisine a la Tabasco’. Now this little treasure tells the story of Miss Annabella Ross, and I quote:

“Miss Annabella Ross was a sweetly sympathetic figure. In her sixties she was prematurely old and had the manner of what southerners call a settled lady. Yet she was a coloratura soprano with Porgy and Bess, which meant she was a member of a highly trained, largely young cast of opera singers who could, and did belt out the blues just as easily as they sang bel canto Respighi, Verdi and the art songs of Purcell…”

According to Maya, Miss Ross played no card games, and she did not drink or smoke.

“Until she was called on stage she sat closed inside her wall of niceness looking lost and very sad.”

Close your eyes for a moment…imagine Paris mid 1950’s, George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess is performing, and Maya Angelou decides to treat Miss Annabella Ross to an evening at a very smart restaurant on the Champs Elysees. According to Maya, once the maître d’hôtel got over the shock of being summoned by a young six-foot African American woman and after much negotiating about costs because Maya did not have too much money to pay for a really lavish meal, the staff made a plan by choosing a special menu.

A pâté for starters, followed by molded eggs Polignac, the main course being veal medallions.

A few nights later, dressed in their best attire, they made their way to the restaurant where they were treated like royalty. Miss Ross was a “refreshing” dinner guest, who told “charming stories and had a ready repartee”.

So far so good, everything was going well, as the star of the evening was having a splendid time.  When the veal was served Miss Ross made a slight smacking sound and rubbed her hands together. She tasted the meat. “Now this is good.” She took another bite of the medallions. “This is close to perfect.  These people can truly cook.” Everyone was thrilled; the evening was turning out to be such a success.

Until, Miss Ross said:  “All this needs is a little Tabasco!”  Much to Maya and the restaurant staff’s horror, she took a slim bottle of the spicy sauce from her purse, and proceeded to shake the offending sauce all over the medallions, exclaiming: “This is going to make this meat right perfect! I mean perfect!”  

According to Maya: “The maître d’hôtel was so shocked, however, that he disappeared from the floor, and I wanted to join him.”

Every time I read this story I laugh out loud.

In her closing paragraph and I guess after years of introspection, Maya sums it up beautifully: “I’ve come to believe that each diner should be free to flavour their dish as they want it.  For no matter how wonderfully trained the chef, no matter how delicate his or her sensitivity, taste buds are as individual as finger prints. Mine are mine and yours are yours and “viva la difference.”

Nitsa’s Recipe

Herewith the recipe from Nitsa’s story from my January post (you will need Madumbie’s from Food Lover’s Market pictured below):

The Global Food Table

Gail Charalambous shows The Global Table how to make a variety of Greek dips.

Dear friends – enjoy today, each and every day, married or single may we spread love wherever we go. If you would like to contribute to this blog, please feel free to contact me. I look forward to sharing your stories or photographs or some pearls of wisdom, maybe even a recipe or two.  Looking forward to hearing from you!

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  • Michelle

    😂 I can both identify with Miss Ross’s love of Tabasco Sauce and everyone else’s horror at the desecration of a perfect meal. Lovely post Gail.

  • Salvelio Meyer

    Great foodie post!!