Two years ago I packed my video camera and accompanied my friend Johari Rashad and a suitcase of her prized homemade mini pound cakes to New Orleans for my first Mardi Gras ever. Johari was returning to NOLA, her adopted home city, to bring some comfort food to friends she hadn’t seen since before Katrina. I was documenting the return for my “What Ever Happened to Church Lady Cake” project. This is a media project documenting church ladies (and a few good men) who bake – from scratch! That’s what church lady cake is all about. Food as a ministry as well as comfort. Some of these ladies doctor up box mixes, so I’ve been asked to be flexible. I was raised among cake snobs. [Personally I’m a tart, pie, and soft cookie person.]
I’ve got to cut that video. I’ll post it on this blog this year. I’m committing to that.
Yesterday I got Pat Willard’s America Eats! in the mail. It’s a colleciton of food writing from the 1930s WPA (Works Progress Administration). Writers like Eudora Welty, Saul Bellow and Ralph Ellison were dispersed throughout the country to collect American culinary stories and history. The manuscript was never published, but Willard dove into the manuscript and America Eats! was published just last year.
I’m hoping this will jump start me to go back to the Church Ladies Cake project. I’ll read as if I’m eating sweet potato pie.