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Angel Visit Baptist Church announces publication of sesquicentennial cookbook

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Cover of “Gather at the Welcome Table: The Angel Visit Baptist Church Sesquicentennial Cookbook.”

Angel Visit Baptist Church at Dunnsville has announced the publication of “Gather at the Welcome Table: The Angel Visit Baptist Church Sesquicentennial Cookbook.” The book contains 370 recipes from 140 church members and friends. It spans 150 years and many generations of the church’s families, and features numerous anecdotes and stories that place the recipes in the context of their time and usage. Recipes range from traditional soul food to nouvelle cuisine.

The title of the cookbook was inspired by the words of the Negro spiritual, “I’m Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table.” The book’s foreword was written by author/journalist/Alvin Ailey biographer A. Peter Bailey, with introductions by Reverend Dr. Carla E. Lightfoot, church pastor, and Bessida Cauthorne White, the chair of Sesquicentennial Committee. A history of the church is included along with a 12-page healthy eating guide. The book is hardback with a plastic comb binding.

David Jett, curator of the Essex County Museum, said Gather at the Welcome Table “lovingly preserves the story of 150 years of spiritual as well as culinary nourishment in this peaceful and bountiful rural Virginia community.”

“Part cookbook, part genealogy, part social history” is how Gather at the Welcome Table was described by Dr. Maureen Elgersman Lee, chair of the Department of Political Science and History at Hampton University. According to Dr. Lee, “Angel Visit Baptist Church has set the bar very high—not just for churches, but for other institutions at large.”

Chef and restaurateur Terrell “Chef Tee” Danley of Washington, D.C., said, “Not since Edna Lewis’s ‘In Pursuit of Flavor or Vertamae Grosvenor’s Vibration Cooking’ have I been so moved by a cookbook. The combination of history, personal anecdotes, and recipes designed to be prepared in a vibratory manner left me wanting more.”

Gather at the Welcome Table was introduced in December at a dinner celebrating the 13th anniversary of Reverend Lightfoot as Angel Visit’s pastor. The dinner featured a smorgasbord of desserts, all prepared from recipes from the cookbook. Among the desserts served were applesauce cake with black walnuts, cinnamon ripple sweet potato cake, strawberry pretzel salad, spirited pumpkin spice and rum cheesecake, and trifle.

The cost of the book is $25, plus $4 shipping ($2 more for each additional book). Checks made payable to Angel Visit Baptist Church should be mailed to Angel Visit Baptist Church Cookbook, P.O. Box 1021, Dunnsville, VA 22454. For further information, call 443-5977 or email .

posted 01.11.2017

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