Small acts of kindness. One person helping another. An organization helping people. Neighbors banding together after a natural disaster. Every Monday, join me as we discover the goodness in our world. As Aesop said so profoundly:
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
Jesus says in the Bible, book of Luke:
Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him,and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”
And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
This week I’m going to take a moment and talk about one way that Southerners help each other. You could call it one of the Southern small acts of kindness: chicken stew.
Southerners love to cook and eat. A favorite meal of many is a chicken stew made of chicken, onions, potatoes, macaroni, tomatoes, and corn. During the spring and fall especially in the South, on any given Saturday, you can find what I like to call “Chicken Stew Fundraisers.”
I’ve often purchased stew from locals: attempts to raise money made by friends and relatives to help pay for doctor bills incurred from a serious medical conditions, natural disasters, and other misfortunes.
At a typical chicken stew fundraiser, Friday night is spent cutting up potatoes and onion, cooking and deboning chicken and then cutting the chicken up for the stew. The potatoes and onions are soaked in water overnight and in the morning ready to add.
Chicken stew is usually cooked in large, black kettles holding anywhere from 15 to 30 gallons. You can use wood for the fire or propane. The pots sit on a metal stand with the fire under it and chicken broth and chicken are added first. The potatoes, onions and corn are added next. Most people soak the macaroni in a separate bowl before adding to cause it to swell. The tomatoes are added last along with plenty of salt and pepper. It is then stirred with a long wooden paddle until ready to eat. Some people add ketchup for taste or ground-up saltine crackers or instant mashed potatoes to thicken the stew. You’ll find the recipe here: Danny’s Chicken Stew.
People usually hear about the stew by word of mouth, a well-placed sign at a convenience store or by buying a ticket. Gallon jugs are brought to the site of the sale and filled accordingly. Many times a bake sale is sold at the same time so you get your main meal and dessert. All for a good cause.
We’re assisting with a BBQ pork plate fundraiser at the end of the month. Same principle as above, except the plates will consist of BBQ pork (smoked overnight), potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans, and rolls. We’ll also have a bake sale. This is to benefit our daughter’s father-in-law after an extended stay in the hospital to help cover medical expenses.
In your part of the world, what ways do you find to assist a neighbor in need?