Thursday, March 22, 2007

Maya Angelou’s “Hallelujah! The Welcome Table”

In the ongoing research and planning phase of my cookbook, I’ve been reviewing other books targeting the same audience I’m seeking to reach. I’ve just finished reading Maya Angelou’s Hallelujah! The Welcome Table. I haven't tried any of the recipes, but if they are as warm and comforting as the stories found within the pages of this book, then Maya Angelou has succeeded in serving up a double dose of southern comfort.

One of the many stories really hit home with me. Maya tells how Momma kick started a career for herself, having suddenly become a single parent with two small children. She didn’t want to work as a maid because that would mean leaving her kids. Instead she made a living out of taking her fabulous meat pies to the workers of the two largest mills in town everyday at lunch. Eventually she opened a hut equidistant between the two companies and let the customers come to her. This hut later became a store selling much more than meat pies.

When telling this story, Maya shares a piece of wisdom from Momma. She says, “Momma told me, ‘Sister, the world might try to put you on a road that you don’t like. First stop and look behind you. If nothing back there makes you want to return, then look ahead. If nothing ahead beckons you enough to keep you going, then you have to step off that road and cut yourself a brand-new path.’”

I found this story heartwarming and a little ironic, seeming as the production of my cookbook is my first step in cutting myself a brand-new path.

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