I hadn't had fried chicken since Capron made some for us when he was living here in Nice.
The time before that I remember is when I had it at my aunt Gladys' and Uncle John D's house in Oklahoma. I remember all the biscuits and gravy too and the trimmings . I hadn't had the likes of that meal for now onto sixty years. My family didn't have these things on the menu as a kid.
Ronni and Ken had an idea of a place to try and off we went.
You gotta love Martha Lou's Kitchen in Charleston. http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2011/02/09/dining/20110209-notebook-16.html Even this New York Times writer does.
The place is not fancy, in fact it is down right basic…. held together only "with a wing and a prayer", enthusiasm and fortitude. There are about 10 kitchen style tables and the walls are decorated with hand painted murals and articles from enthusiasts like Gourmet magazine or others depicting heroes like Martin Luther King. Jr.
When the meals showed up straight from the kitchen "hot" there was still no hesitation in picking up my "dark meat" chicken in my fingers the way we do in America at a picnic.
The chicken was fresh from the fryer, the butter beans slow cooked and the caramelized pecan sweet potato was definitely southern style. There were plenty of other sides ( side dishes) to choose from: grits, okra, mac and cheese and collards among them. Soul food is indeed "comfort food" , soothing to the emotions and the brain. And just a few days into my trip, I had found the real thing.
|That's me silent for once.|
The most fun at the restaurant was when I said that I had come all the way from France to have Martha Lou Gadsden's fried chicken. Our waitress then shouted at the top of her lungs: "France is in the house. France is in the HOUSe!" and gave us a big welcome.
A lovely lady came out to sit in the easy chair and I had no doubt that it was the owner. I hesitated to ask if I could have her picture, but by now she must be used to this request.
|Martha Lou Gadsden|
Later Ronni handed me a letter to the editor of a local newspaper underlining the southern hospitality at Martha Lou's. It seems that one day they were closed for a catering commitment but Martha Lou's daughter brought "take-out boxes" to two waiting cars so the clients wouldn't go home disappointed.
If you are in town, you should go for the eleven dollar tasty meal with sweet tea, but also for the genial atmosphere and the smile of Martha Lou.
|Ronni and Ken at the restaurant|