Food & Drink

Great cooks can be found in church kitchens

"Will I have to pick you up?'" asked Deloris Moultrie Gaskins who had planned for me to join her for the Women's Conference brunch being held at New Ebenezer Baptist Church in Columbia.

I reminded her that Columbia is my hometown and I still know my way around most sections. I love to ride around and recall what was there and what still is.

I recalled attending services at this church with Thomas and Lucy Whitaker, who lived nearby in the Booker Washington Heights neighborhood. I would put my doll in a stroller and spend many afternoons playing and listening to them talk.

Ebenezer church was organized in the home of Louvenia Getters who lived and worked for a family in the 1100 block of Marion Street, adjacent to Trinity Episcopal Church. The exact day of the founding of the church cannot be ascertained, but it is known to date back to 1910.

When I attended church at Ebenezer, the Rev. A.L. Peterson was the minister. The Peterson family was a gifted family as both parents sang, and this gift was passeto their children. Their daughter Clara and I became friends, and although we attended rival high schools and colleges our friendship was strong and stayed that way.

At this year's Women's Conference brunch the Jubilee Choir sang the spiritual "Got On My Traveling Shoes." I whispered to Gaskins, "I wonder if any Petersons are still members of this church." She passed the question on to another member who pointed out one of the Petersons in attendance.

As brunch was being served, I hastened over to meet this person. It was Diane Peterson. She said she had told a member that I looked familiar. She is 80 years old and in a wheelchair, but her mind is still sharp. She introduced me to members of the choir, and many of them could recall Thomas and Lucy Whitaker and the little girl who would come to church with them.

The best cooks that I know are those who serve in the church's kitchen, and this was evident in the brunch. Here I'll share some recipes from the event.

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