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Eating Like a Freedom Fighter: A Martin Luther King, Jr.-Inspired Meal

(image courtesy of Wikipedia)

Atlanta was insanely busy yesterday with out-of-state visitors and will be today as the nation celebrates the effort of a young visionary that fought for racial and social equality and justice. It was a perfect day to see loads of tour buses and news outlets swarm the eclectic Edgewood neighborhood.

Martin Luther King, Jr., born Michael King (later changed to Martin Luther by his father) spent his entire life in the public eye speaking out against segregation, fighting to end poverty and encouraging all Americans to live in peace. In memory of his life and many accomplishments, President Ronald Reagan officially proclaimed the third Monday of January a Federal holiday in 1986.

And what better to way to recognize him than to eat some fabulous food akin to his environment?! King was born and raised in Atlanta, known as the epicenter of the South and crux of soul food. Here, you are guaranteed to taste true and authentic fare representative of the culture, tradition and lifestyle of this region. Of the dishes I’ve come to know to be quintessential Southern, black-eyed peas, fried catfish, fried green tomatoes and corn muffins stand out. I’ve personally devoured enough that it has left my family wondering what happened to my DC style.  They are delicious to the palate, satisfying to the belly and warm to the heart.

Of all the wonderful staple Southern dishes, I pause to wonder what King might have preferred to eat during his meetings, travels, and family dinners. If I had to put together a menu for him and his family, I’d make it a four-course meal. It would be reminiscent of the times, his busy schedule and a refined palate–fit for a King.

First course:

Fresh green salad with mushrooms, sliced apples and grilled chicken with a basil vinaigrette.

Second course:

Mini truffled macaroni and cheese.

Main course:

Panko-crusted catfish served on top of a bed of kidney beans and rice drizzled with a fish and wine jus, paired with spicy buttermilk cornbread.


Southern Pecan Pie

What would you have served up Dr. King? Or, what do you think would have been a typical dinner for him and his family, considering the time and geography? Share! And be of service today. It’s the MLK way.

*This originally published on January 17, 2011 on the column I used to write for Dean & DeLuca’s Gourmet Blog!


Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.

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60 thoughts on “Eating Like a Freedom Fighter: A Martin Luther King, Jr.-Inspired Meal

  1. Thank you for honoring Dr. King in a very sui generis way, that is, imagining -and offering your readers- the kinds of food he might have enjoyed back then. Hope we all may follow in his footspteps, not necessarily in what he ate, perhaps, but in what he did and how he lived. “I have a dream…”

  2. Kay: thanks for stopping by. What a great man, right! And, it’s so special being here in Atlanta where he was born, to really enjoy his background and genesis of his work!

    Rosa: Yes, indeed!

    David: well thank you for check it out! No doubt we should focus on everything he stood for. But the food lightens the mood and allows us to think about something that humanizes him! 🙂 I say, eat more cornbread!

  3. thanks for sharing your weekend with us..we had a fabulous time…I love this post and loved watching you in action. This is a great way to honor him. I agree with David, hopefully we can follow his footsteps in more ways than just loving good food!

  4. Bake in Paris: yes indeed he must have! there’s a restaurant here where he used to hold a lot of his meetings. i’ve never eaten there before but i do know they serve very traditional Southern food.

    Faith: Right?!! How awesome was his mission!

    Bellini: Thanks, Val.

    Merari: it was so much fun, especially seeing the girls stare at all the things that made up MLK and hearing lil J tell me who he was! If it weren’t for Dr. King, imagine how big J probably wouldn’t have been able to freely hang with her friend over the weekend. Can you even imagine that!

  5. I’ve done much research about Martin Luther King Jr’s favorite eats and I can assure you that — had he lived to see this day — he’d be in love with your menu. Well done, as always.

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