Sawmill in Pasco County, Florida, circa 1900, Courtesy of State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory
Poet Maya Angelou was born in 1928 in St. Louis but she spent the majority of her childhood in Stamps, Arkansas where she lived in the rear of the Wm. Johnson General Merchandise Store with her grandmother and uncle. Angelou describes her grandmother as great cook and entrepreneur. Her grandmother saved the capital to start the store selling food to laborers in the town’s saw mill and cotton gin located at opposite ends of town. “Her crisp meat pies and cool lemonade, when joined to her miraculous ability to be in two places at the same time assured her business success,” says Angelou. “From being a mobile lunch counter, she set up a stand between the two points of fiscal interest and supplied the workers’ needs for a few years” until she had the capital to build a store in the center of Stamp’s black section of town."
Miss Charlotte’s Chicken Pot Pie
1 small stewing chicken
1 stalk celery
10 small white onions
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken stock
8 unbaked baking powder biscuits, ½ inch
Disjoint and wash the fowl. Partly cover with water, add chopped celery and onions and simmer until just tender. Blend the softened butter with the flour and with the mixture thicken two cups of the liquor in which the chicken was cooked. When thickened pour over the cooked chicken and onions in a deep baking dish. Cover with the unbaked biscuits and bake in a hot oven until the biscuits are well-browned.