Wilmington, Delaware's Big Quarterly Part 4
Here is our final installment in the series on big quarterly. It's the story of an African-American revival meeting/food festival which dates back to 1805. It was an annual event held in Wilmington Delaware. I first came across it while doing research with WPA records which are housed in the Library of Congress.
Feasting at the Big Quarterly began early in the morning and continued throughout the day. The varied menus consisted of fried chicken, chicken pot pie, ham and cabbage, hot corn pone, greens and side meat, frankfurters, watermelon, soft drinks, pig’s feet, and pork roast studded with cloves. There had been no formality to the eating with most in attendance making their food and beverage selections from the stands and feasting on the succulent morsels as they walked along the street, and stopping at the next vendor that attracted their eye or pallet. All the diners are not just customers but many are singers breaking forth into Negro spirituals at such time as their mouths are empty, while those who have seen the light of conversion are ready, between nibbles on the breast of fried chicken, to loudly proclaim their faith. To learn more about the history of the Great Depression era read the book WPA writer Zora Neale Hurston which includes historical recipes from the time period.
Tomorrow we start a series on Martha's Vineyard foodways based on oral history research archived at the Martha's Vineyard Museum. This is part of our summer food series for the month of August. Word-of-mouth and social media is the best way to let people know about our site. Please post a link to our content on Facebook Twitter, Linkedin, Instragram, and/or email.