By Kathryn Eastburn
A few have referred to as Sacred Harp making a song America’s earliest track. This strong nondenominational spiritual making a song, a part of a deeply held Southern tradition, has unfold through the state over the last centuries. In A Sacred dinner party, Kathryn Eastburn trips into the neighborhood of Sacred Harp singers around the state and introduces readers to the curious glories of a practice that's practiced this day simply because it used to be 200 years ago. Each of the book’s chapters visits a distinct zone and contours recipes from the accompanying culinary tradition—dinner at the floor, a hearty noontime banquet. From oven-cooked pulled beef fish fry to buck shop cornbread dressing to crimson velvet cake, those recipes inform a narrative of nourishing the physique, the soul, and the voice. The Sacred Harp’s deeply relocating sound and spirit resonate via those pages, captured at conventions in Alabama, Kentucky, Texas, Colorado, and Washington, conveyed in pics of singers, and celebrated within the points of interest, sounds, smells, and tastes of all-day making a song and dinner at the floor echoing via generations and centuries. (20080410)
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Extra resources for A Sacred Feast: Reflections on Sacred Harp Singing and Dinner on the Ground (At Table)
Several songs in, about mid-morning, a young man with closely cropped hair and a ruddy complexion stepped to the middle of the square. ” Because I knew the tune, I was comfortable singing along. My country ’tis of thee Sweet land of liberty Of thee I sing. Eyes met across the square as the singers’ voices rose in unfamiliar harmonies set to the familiar tune. Operation Iraqi Freedom, set in motion by former Texas governor George W. Bush, had barely begun and I was already dreading the entry of my son, an Army reservist, into the fray.
Down the hill from the church, a goat scratched its velvety horn nubs on the lower limbs of a live oak tree. A lazy herd of black cattle lolled in the sun. Along creek bottoms, tree trunks grew thick with new green leaves. In the breeze, the sound of hundreds of voices raised, the haunting, joyful noise of the Sacred Harp, still lingered. To borrow a phrase, music swelled the breeze and rang from all the trees. Songs of sweet accord rang in my ears for the duration of the thousand-mile drive home.
Refrigerate several hours before serving. 16 so ut hw e st t exas v v v Grandmother Owen’s Dressing cor nbr ead: 4½ cups cornmeal 1 cup flour 2 tsp. baking soda 2 tsp. baking powder 2 to 3 eggs 3 tsp. salt 1 qt. buttermilk Mix and pour into greased 9 × 13 inch baking dish and bake at 375 degrees until done. When done, let cool, then crumble into large pan and add: 1 can cream of chicken soup 4 to 5 cooked biscuits, crumbled 6 eggs, slightly beaten Several chopped green onions 1½ cups finely chopped celery (Cook green onions and celery in 2–3 cups water for 10 minutes before adding to the dressing.
A Sacred Feast: Reflections on Sacred Harp Singing and Dinner on the Ground (At Table) by Kathryn Eastburn