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Heart and Soul
Soul food cook-off brings out area's top recipes
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The Kappa Delta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority won the soul food cook-off hosted by the Carver Ruritan Club. The women who cooked for and served at the AKA table were (from left) Lois Hairston, Madie Rountree, Angela Logan, Carol Wills, Virginia Hoover and Annie K. Hairston. (Bulletin photo by Holly Kozelsky)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

By HOLLY KOZELSKY - Bulletin Accent Editor

No matter who describes it, “soul food” means one thing — food from the heart.

That was the unanimous definition of “soul food” from a range of cooks who competed in Carver Ruritan Club’s soul food cook-off Saturday at the club’s building.

It also undoubtedly means potato salad, as three out of the four groups cooking offered it. Pigs feet made two appearances. Cakes of all shapes, sizes and colors, plus two cobblers, beckoned diners with a sweet finish to a big meal.

Plates were sold for $7. Most of the attendees not only ate dinner there but brought plates of food home, also.

Toward the end of the dinner, Carver Ruritan Club president Latasha Carter-Palmer thanked everyone for coming, then announced the winner.

“Drum roll, please,” she said, and the diners complied by rapping their fingers on the tables.

“The ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha” won, she announced.

Members of that sorority’s chapter, Kappa Delta Omega Chapter, had dished up roast beef, Panamanian pigs feet, cabbage, candied yams, pinto beans, potato salad, broccoli salad, peach cobbler and pound cake.

“A lot of us are from the old school” of cooking, said AKA’s Madie Rountree.

Virginia Hoover of AKA explained, “First of all, it (soul food) all has to be home cooked. It has to have pinto beans.”

Alpha Kappa Alpha was established 105 years ago, Carol Wills said. When the local chapter formed in 1974, members met over dinners in each other’s homes. “We used to eat like this every month,” Wills said. When the group grew too large to meet in houses, its meetings moved to the Dutch Inn.

The Zeta Phi Beta table featured desserts: coconut pies, rice pudding, traditional pound cake, red velvet cake and chocolate cake pops.

“The thing about soul food is that everything is home made,” said Franketta Tatum. The food comes from “recipes passed down through generations and generations. Original recipes — that’s what I think about with soul food.”

It’s “food from the heart,” added her sorority sister Tonya Jones. She made rice pudding following the recipe of her mother, Gail Jones.

Zeta Phi Beta was “one of the Divine Nine” Greek organizations, Tatum said. It was founded in 1920 at Howard University.

The fraternity Omega Psi Phi offered baked chicken, baked spaghetti, potato salad, chili beans, pig ears and green beans. It all was cooked by member Michael Hairston of Danville.

Members of the Ruritan Club also had been heating up those pots and pans. Their selections included pigs feet, vegetable-beef soup, mixed greens, ham, fried fat back, cheese cake, chocolate cake, sweet potato cobbler, chicken salad, potato salad, banana pudding, pineapple-coconut cake, lemon cake and yellow cake with chocolate icing.

The dinner was a fundraiser to support Ruritan outreach as well as “a great way to bring out the residents to mingle in a central place,” said club president Latasha Carter-Palmer.

The Carver club was established in 1974. “We try to be consistent with our civic contributions,” Carter-Palmer said. They include scholarships, 4-H camp and supporting the fire and rescue departments.

The group is planning more community events, such as a pageant, kids’ fishing day, fish fries, community breakfasts and a fun day. The building can be rented for social events.

Carter-Palmer welcomes people to the meetings, which are held on the first Monday of every month.


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