Earlier this year Dr. Stephanie Evans of Clark Atlanta University invited me to contribute a chapter to her collection of stories about African American women accompanied by recipes that inspired those stories. I accepted the challenge and contacted my friend Coretta Simmons who is a chef of African American dishes. In 1965, a year before Coretta was born, I lived with her parents while I registered black voters in Pineville, South Carolina. With her recipe for Southern Cabbage-Tomato Soup in hand, I wrote the story that accompanied it.
I was surprised to find how lush in color and variety of flavors this collection of healthy recipes is with recipes from across the United States, Africa and South America.
Find this collection, OASIS: Oldways Africana Soup in Stories and my story, “Parable of the Old Wood Stove” with Coretta’s recipe here. Our contribution begins on page 67.
“Parable” begins I’m Lucille and my internal clock is eternally set to the rhythms of my grandmother’s wood stove. Every morning a clang as she opened the fire box to add wood disturbed my slumber. Then the rasp of the metal plates as she lifted them to spread out the coals got me stretching in my box bed of straw just behind the wall behind the stove. Finally the soft thunk of those plates settling back into the ledges of the round holes got me moving.