I created the Cookbook Club Sunday Dinner in early 2016 to bring friends together who liked to cook, explore foods of the African Diaspora, and hold conversations about food and community, while enjoying each other’s company. Early on, I learned to be flexible with the format because most of the African American women I know don’t necessarily cook using cookbooks. Therefore, these dinners usually have a theme and involve highlighting a particular cookbook and favorite recipes from scratch or other sources. Friends bring a prepared dish to share. Folks, including guys, that just bring themselves or a beverage, also, are welcome.
Since moving to Mississippi, I’ve held a couple of Sunday Dinners off and on. For 2019, the first one was held on April 23 and the latest this past Sunday on October 20. This time I hosted a Sunday Dinner with a twist. Everyone was told to bring a favorite dish, that I’d provide the beverage and dessert, and to come prepared to create a vision board for themselves. I told them to think about what they envisioned for themselves heading into 2020.
I provided scissors, tape, small paper boards, and various magazines. Sister friends – Myrtis, Thishya, Sheila, and Carlean – and me gathered around the kitchen table on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. I told them to set their intention or vision theme on one side of the board and use the other side to illustrate their vision. Everyone got to work cutting out pictures, words and phrases from the magazines and taping their pieces on the board. Throughout we talked, laughed and especially got tickled at how each of us approached the task. Some neatly double-sided the tape beneath their pieces so it wouldn’t show on their boards, while others just taped every which a way. One friend said she needed a bigger board! One kept adding pieces after we were supposed to have been done. Each of us shared thoughts on the creation of our vision boards. At the beginning, they didn’t quite know what to expect but by the time we finished, everyone was impressed with the process and outcome.
Before eating our meal, I highlighted Dori Sanders’ Country Cooking, Recipes and Stories from the Family Farm Stand cookbook. Ms. Sanders is an 84-year old African American farmer, cookbook author, and novelist who lives in South Carolina; a true inspiration. Someone graced the food. Sister friend, Cassandra, joined us late but joyfully sharing news of successfully completing swimming lessons that afternoon. We ended the evening eating a medley of spinach dip, pasta salad, vegetarian fried rice, samosas, lemon bars, blackberry cobbler (doctored up from Ms. Sanders’ cookbook), ice cream, sweet tea spritzers, and wine. I’m grateful beyond words for sharing this Cookbook Club Sunday Dinner with these ladies.