A Taste of Soul fills hungry mouths
February 28, 2011 —
Lunch at the RfoC usually consists of food items such as pizza, salad or desserts. But on Wednesday, Feb 23, that changed for a day.
A selection of soul food was showcased as part of SVSU’s celebration of Black History Month.
The menu included traditional soul food items such as seafood gumbo, potato salad, cornbread dressing, Coca Cola Cake and oxtail soup. Recipes for the food came from faculty and staff members from all walks of campus life, including Minority Services, the education department and the football team.
The annual event, known as A Taste of Soul, is the brainchild of Mamie Thorns, special assistant to the president for Diversity Programs. She said that the idea for A Taste of Soul came from faculty members looking to get together after working in separate areas on campus.
“Several years ago, we were looking for opportunities to bring African-American staff members together during Black History Month,” she said.
Jason Wolverton, marketing manager for SVSU Dining Services, said that the department works closely with African- American faculty members to put on A Taste of Soul.
“We work closely with participating staff members, getting the family recipes they submit and making the food with their assistance and final approval,” he said.
The family recipes submitted by faculty and staff members are endowed with rich history.
“There a story behind each one of these recipes,” Thorns said. “For example, my recipe this year is for pecan tarts.... When I was a kid living down South, we’d climb the pecan trees and shake the branches till the pecans fell off. Then we’d collect them all up and take them home and make desserts.
The recipe submissions weren’t limited to SVSU staff members.
“We’re always looking for an opportunity to bridge the university and the surrounding community,” Thorns said.
Five guest chefs from the Great Lakes Bay Region also featured dishes in Taste of Soul alongside those of SVSU faculty and staff. Dishes included fried chicken, barbecued spare ribs, catfish, greens and red velvet cupcakes. These courses were provided by Vera Mack of Consumer’s Energy, Betty Williams of The Magic Kitchen in Saginaw, Carris Fisher of The Gourmet Cupcake Shoppe in Midland and Natasha and Leon Burns, owners of the Rite Spot in Saginaw.
Wolverton said that an average of 650 to 700 people visit the RfoC on a typical Wednesday during this part of the year. The final count of attendees was 1,234.
Craig Aimar, assistant vice president of Enrollment, said that he enjoyed eating food made by his colleagues.
“The RFoC has some good food, but today’s just different,” he said. “It’s cool to be eating food made by people you know.”