Food & Drink

Oprah kept learning at forefront

I cannot recall the first "Oprah Winfrey Show" I watched. I can remember talking with girlfriends about this new television show with an African-American female as the host.

We all would watch each day, sometimes critical but in the same breath wishing her well. All in all, we wanted her to excel in a way to make all of America proud.

To think we shared her success in 4,561 days, and she never missed a day after finally ending her show last week. Now that is dedication to a cause and to a job. Oprah said her show started as a job, and she had no idea her audience would be her classroom and the learning would be two ways. Isn't that what excellent teachers do? They learn as much from the students as the students learn from them?

I was in her presence when she spoke at a chapel at Morehouse College. My son, Billy, was so excited that we were there to witness the occasion when she donated money to Morehouse and Spelman colleges. I wanted to see more of her. I talked to friends, and we worked on ways to get to the show. My friend Ivorie Lowe who lives in Chicago was given the task of getting those of us who earned our masters degrees at Southern University into Harpo Studios, but there was no such luck.

When Family and Community Leaders of Beaufort went on a cross-country tour, one stop was in Chicago. The question was, "Will we see Oprah?" The answer at different times was yes, no and maybe. We thought we just might see her coming from the studio, but that did not happen. We departed from the bus and stood in front of the studio just as proud as we could be. We were photographed as if to be entered on her hall of fame wall.

There was much to learn, and certainly Oprah worked at sending a message. She shared her life with the world. She said everyone has a calling; everyone should use their life to serve the world. She has had an impact on America and the world. I was a fan from the start and still am.

Oprah also had a major influence on the publishing industry. Oprah had authors discuss their books on her show, and then book clubs began to appear all over the country. She encouraged reading and promoted and endorsed books. If the book clubs were not enough, up popped O, Oprah's monthly magazine.

The July 2010, O magazine food section explored the vibrant, veggie-centric traditions or African-American cooking. Alluette Jones Smalls, once of Beaufort and now in Charleston, shared food and recipes for that issue. Here are a couple recipes from that issue.

Port Royal resident Ervena Faulkner is a retired educator who has always had an interest in food and nutrition. Email her at