Throughout Maya Angelou’s life; from her childhood in Stamps; Arkansas; to her world travels as a bestselling author; good food has played a central role. Preparing and enjoying homemade meals provides a sense of purpose and calm; accomplishment and connection. Now in Hallelujah! The Welcome Table: A Lifetime of Memories with Recipes (PDF); Angelou shares memories pithy and poignant – and the recipes that helped to make them both irreplaceable and indelible.
Angelou tells us about the time she was expelled from school for being afraid to speak – and her mother baked a delicious maple cake to brighten her spirits. She gives us her recipe for short ribs along with a story about a job she had as a cook at a Creole restaurant (never mind that she didn’t know how to cook and had no idea what Creole food might entail). There was the time in London when Maya attended a wretched dinner party full of wretched people; but all wasn’t lost–she did experience her initial taste of a savory onion tart. She recounts her very first night in her new home in Sonoma; California; when she invited M. F. K. Fisher over for cassoulet; and the evening Deca Mitford roasted a chicken when she was beyond tipsy–and created Chicken Drunkard Style. And then there was the hearty brunch Angelou made for a homesick Southerner; a meal that earned her both a job offer and a prophetic compliment: “If you can write half as good as you can cook; you are going to be famous.”
Maya Angelou is renowned in her wide and generous circle of friends as a marvelous chef. Her kitchen is a social center. From chicken livers; fried meat pies; and beef Wellington to caramel cake; bread pudding; and chocolate éclairs; the one hundred-plus recipes included here are all tried and true; and come from Angelou’s heart and her home. Hallelujah! The Welcome Table: A Lifetime of Memories with Recipes is a stunning collaboration between the two things Angelou loves best: cooking and writing.