Honoring Dr. King with family time and food

It’s traditional to celebrate  Martin Luther King Jr. Day in church or the public square with interdenominational worship, service projects and fellowship.

More and more, it’s also becoming popular to carry his vision and spirit back home, serving the food he is said to have relished at the family table and focusing on his life with activities gleaned from Internet sites such as http://fun.familyeducation.com/martin-luther-kingjr/activities/32832.html which offers  many good suggestions including a “birthday banquet” in Dr. King’s honor with dishes from different countries and geographic regions reflecting his appreciation of diversity.

By all accounts (and there are many)  Dr. King enjoyed such banquets while never losing his taste for the traditional southern foods he grew up with in Atlanta, Ga. and savored in adulthood.

Numerous web sites agree that his favorite food was pecan pie. Others say he really enjoyed sitting down to country ham with red-eye gravy and collard greens spiced with hot sauce.

You’ll find those recipes here, adapted from various web sites.

Country Ham With Red-Eye Gravy

Ingredients: large ham steak; 8 Tbs black coffee (decaf if you prefer); 1 tsp brown sugar.

Directions: trim the skin off the ham steak. Sautee the ham in a nonstick skillet for a couple of minutes on each side, remove from the pan and set aside. Stir the coffee and sugar into the ham drippings and stir to dissolve the sugar, cover and simmer for a few miutes. Pour the gravy over the ham slice and serve.

Southern  Style Collard Greens

Ingredients: 1/2 pound smoked ham; 1 tbs salt; 1 tsp pepper; 1 Tbs hot sauce of your choice; 1 large bunch of collard greens; 3 Tbs butter

Directions: bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a large pot; add the ham, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Simmer for 90 minutes. In the meantime, wash the greens thoroughly. Trim the thick stems and slice the leaves into 1/2-to-1 inch thick slices. Add the greens to the pot with the meat. Add the butter and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain with a slotted spoon into a large bowl and serve hot.

Pecan Pie

Ingredients: 3 eggs; 1 cup brown sugar; 1 Tbs all-purpose flour; 1 cup corn syrup; 2 Tbs butter; 1 tsp vanilla extract; 1 1/2  cups pecans; 1 (9) inch unbaked pie shell

Directions: preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, gently beat the eggs. Stir in the sugar and flour, then the syrup, butter and vanilla. Fold in the pecans. Pour the mixture into a pie shell. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Test the pie by inserting a knife into center. If it comes out clean, the pie is done.

By all means, start off the meal with a prayer for Dr. King. This one comes from our good friends at the  National Catholic Rural Life Conference.

 Prayer for Dr. King Day

Gracious God, you create us and love us; you make us to live together in a community. We thank you for Martin Luther King, Jr. and all your children who have been filled with your vision for our lives and who have worked to make bring your vision into reality.

Fill us with your vision. Guide us to live by your vision, working to build the beloved community where everyone is welcomed, all are valued, power is shared, privilege is no more, and all your children know wholeness and well-being. 



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