CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) – Fried chicken, collard greens, candied yams – these comforting classics come to mind when you think of soul food.
We went to the iconic pink building on Morrison Drive in downtown Charleston and understood immediately why it is appropriately named Martha Lou’s Kitchen.
“Comyas” and “been yahs,” that’s Gullah for newcomers and natives. Everyone is welcome at Martha Lou’s Kitchen.
The tiny pink building on Morrison Drive is a place where good food is an arms-reach, just like in your own kitchen.
Debra Worthy and her sister Ruth stir the pot at Martha Lou’s Kitchen. Their mother, Martha Lou Gadsden is the owner, operator and head cook.
“She’s 88-years old, she’ll be 89 in March.”
Together, they serve up belly-filling foods that follow no recipes.
Just like their famous fried chicken and fried fish, soul food is encrusted with the pride of creating something special out of something simple.
“Most people don’t season their food, but we season our food,” said Worthy. “Just enough to get the flavor to it—we don’t over season or under season, we just put enough in there to get you over.”
Heather Hodges of the Gullah-Geechee Heritage Commission says soul food is not Gullah-Geechee food, but in a class by itself.
“When you think about the way soul food is served and prepared in 2019, you see a lot of fried preparations. Food that is heavily battered that is not traditional in Gullah-Geechee foodways,” said Hodges.
It’s what people have come to love and expect from Martha Lou’s Kitchen.
“We’ve had a lot of celebrities now,” said Worthy. “Bette Midler, Bill Murray, Reggie Jackson.”
Soul food, known for the taste and the hospitality that keeps you coming back for more.