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Boasting a loyal clientele that includes such luminaries as Quincy Jones, Spike Lee and Toni Morrison, Cafe Beulah has become a major Manhattan hot spot. Much of its success is due not only to its renowned approach to southern cooking--a delicious blend of traditional fare with international flair--but also to the effervescent, larger-than-life presence of its former opera singer owner, Alexander Smalls.
In "Grace the Table," Smalls combines his storytelling talent with his love for food in a memoir of his journey from his hometown of Spartanburg, South Carolina, to Europe and eventually to Manhattan. "Growing, buying, preparing, serving, eating food--the whole tasty subject--captured and framed so many of my memories that in a curious way it has not only sustained me but given me life," writes Smalls, and his unabashed passion is readily apparent as he regales readers with such recollections as the first meal he ever prepared (when he was six), his accidental but rewarding encounter with Joan Sutherland, and his adventures, culinary and otherwise, while touring Europe as one of the stars of the Houston Grand Opera production of "Porgy and Bess."
As a special treat, 100 of the delicious culinary creations he invented during his travels are sprinkled throughout the book, allowing readers to recreate his menus and enjoy such southern revival dishes as Cheese Corn Puppies with Fresh Herbs and Sweet Potato Coconut Cake.
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