Read an Excerpt
Welcome reader! Here are mouth-watering recipes that are easy to prepare and that will make every meal a delight. And with the recipes comes a look into our family and cultural traditions and some lessons we've learned. You will find quotes from some famous and some not-so famous people. We heard about many of them for the first time while sitting at the dinner table. Some of our songs are here. We heard them while preparing mealsfor they're more than church songs. They were born out of the enslaved Africans' battle for freedom.
This book is about more than just food. We believe that, as important as food is to our being, it is what happens around a meal that actually sustains us. It is in preparing a meal that we discover "If you do not have what you want, use what you have." And when we work within that attitude, we find that God sufficiently provides for all our needs. It is at mealtimes that we learn family traditions, manners, how to share, how to wait our turns, how to listen to others, and many other important life lessons.
We use this book ourselves at home. And we share it within our congregation, which is a part of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. We are known as AME's. I have discovered that AME also stands for "always eating and meeting." I can attest to the fact that this is true. So if you are in the neighborhood of ChurchTowne of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, please stop in and stay awhile. For at Bethel, it is always mealtime. A special thanks to God for His many blessings, and to Phoebe, Christina, and Kesha who helped to make this cookbook a reality. Thanks to the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church family for their recipes, stories, prayers, support, and the down-home meals that inspired this book. Thanks to all the wonderful African American cooks who contributed their traditional and favorite recipes to create a cornucopia of dishes. Thanks to the Goods who patiently worked with us to bring this book to press, and to all and anyone else who helped us.
Thank you to whose "who had so little but did so much with the little they had." These are those who toiled in the heat of the day and complained not about their lot, who bore their crosses and marched on in Jesus' name. These are those who when they looked to the future they saw us. These are our heroes, our elders, our parents, our support. We bless your spirits and He who gave you the strength to provide us hope.
Reverend Edward M. Bailey Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, ChurchTowne of Lancaster, Pennsylvania