Synopses & Reviews
Throughout Maya Angelous life, from her childhood in Stamps, Arkansas, to her world travels as a bestselling writer, 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,
Angelou shares memories pithy and poignant-and the recipes that helped to make them both indelible and irreplaceable.
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 didnt know how to cook and had no idea what Creole food might entail). There was the time in London when she attended a wretched dinner party full of wretched people; but all wasnt 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 fried meat pies, chicken livers, 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 Angelous heart and her home. Hallelujah! The Welcome Table is a stunning collaboration between the two things Angelou loves best: writing and cooking.
"Readers familiar with Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings will find what may be the secret ingredient of her success in this collection of tear- and laughter-provoking vignettes with 73 savory recipes. Here's Angelou's grandmother's Chicken and Dumplings, Crackling Corn Bread and Caramel Cake. Big brother Bailey makes a mean batch of Smothered Pork Chops and knows how to stretch them for a week's worth of meals. Mother, who 'cooked wonderful meals and was very poignant about how to present them,' can make a Roasted Capon play second fiddle to Red Rice. As the wider world beckons, Angelou dines. Sometimes she's the worker; having passed herself off as an experienced Creole cook, she becomes one with her Braised Short Ribs. Other times, she's the hostess serving what M.F.K. Fisher pronounces "the first honest cassoulet I have eaten in years." A batch of spoon bread nets Angelou a job and compliment: 'If you can write half as good as you can cook, you are going to be famous.' She does, and the food world widens (tamales, pat, minestrone, chachouka), and the fellow diners often have famous names (Oprah, Jessica Mitford, Rosa Guy). The food remains delectable and comfortable, and Angelou's directions are minimal but clear enough for experienced cooks. Color photos not seen by PW. Simultaneous audio release. Agent, Helen Brann. (On sale Sept. 21)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
MAYA ANGELOU is a poet, writer, performer, teacher, and director. In addition to her bestselling autobiographies, beginning with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, she has also written five poetry collections, including I Shall Not Be Moved and Shaker, Why Dont You Sing?, as well as the celebrated poem “On the Pulse of Morning,” which she read at the inauguration of President William Jefferson Clinton, and “A Brave and Startling Truth,” written at the request of the United Nations and read at its fiftieth anniversary. She lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.