In Montgomery, Ala., I learned about courage, faith, soul, and Martha’s fried green tomatoes. I discovered more than I had intended.
Montgomery’s small museums are an intimate experience. The First White House of the Confederacy displays the artifacts of President Jefferson Davis and his family thoughtfully inside the comfortable home, along with a well-presented tour.
The Hank Williams Museum has film clips of performances, many personal items—including a convertible Cadillac—and guitars belonging to this American icon.
At Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s home at the Dexter Church Parsonage, now a museum, I actually stood in the little kitchen, where Dr. King, frightened after the firebombing on his porch and death threats, had faith to continue to stand up against racism.
I saw tableaus at the Rosa Parks Museum and Civil Rights Memorial on the many people who took part in the civil rights movement. I felt moved by their great courage.
I met many folks and ate a lot of fine food, but the meal that stayed with me was not created with the latest food-fad ingredients. It was simple, and made by a woman with a thousand-watt smile and the eyes of someone who was trying to make the world a better place.
Miss Martha Hawkins cooks. That’s what she does. Her restaurant, Martha’s Place, serves what is known around these parts as “meat and three” seven days a week. It’s a buffet, and you go down the line and serve yourself a squash casserole, macaroni and cheese, lima beans, collards, catfish, fried chicken, fried okra, and coleslaw.
Sweet tea or “unsweet tea” is served at your table. If you have any room left, there’s apple cobbler in the dessert line.
Martha uses her food, inspirational speaking, and a book she wrote with Marcus Brotherton about her life to spread her message. I spent a few minutes talking with her and can still feel the powerful love she exudes. She is one unusual lady.
Here is a recipe from her inspiring book, “Finding Martha’s Place.” Stop by to see Martha when you’re in Montgomery on your own visit to find a legacy of courage, soul, a little faith, and some fried green tomatoes. Or visit her website (www.marthahawkins.com). And if you’d like to try it, here is the recipe for you from Martha:
Martha’s Fried Green Tomatoes
Makes 6 servings
- 4 large green tomatoes
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1/2 cup flour
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup cooking oil for frying
Cut the tomatoes into 1/2-inch slices. Combine cornmeal, flour, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Coat both sides of the tomato slices with the flour mixture. Heat half the oil in a large skillet. Over medium heat, brown the slices on both sides. You’ll need to do this in two batches; the tomatoes should not overlap. Drain on paper towels.
Michelle M. Winner is a regular contributor to The Epoch Times as “Culinary Traveler” and writes for luxury, spa, culinary, and corporate incentive travel markets. She is the vice president of IFWTWA. Permission to reprint recipe given by Martha Hawkins.
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