Choosing from collard greens, ribs, fried chicken, chittlins, candied yams and other dishes, Christabel Cobbina, sophomore biology major, filled her plate and joined her friends for an afternoon of good food and socialization Sunday in the John Marshall Dining Room at the annual Soul Food Feast.
"We don't get food like this in the cafeteria," Cobbina said. "The minute I heard about this, I jumped at the opportunity. It's delicious."
She confessed that the sweet potato pie was her favorite.
Experiencing the feast for the first time, Chelsea Rebholz, freshman international affairs major, was provided the opportunity to try foods she had never tasted before.
"I've never had collard greens before, so I did, and they were really good," Rebholz said.
She refused to try chittlins, however, simply because she knew what they were. Chittlins are the small intestine of pigs and are most commonly prepared by boiling them and adding vinegar and hot sauce for spice, Maurice Cooley, director for the Center for African American Students Programs, said.
Barbara Schoolfield, a caterer from Beckley, W.Va., prepared the chittlins, while Sodexho prepared the rest of the food.
Edna Congleton, a Huntington resident and teacher at Spring Hill Elementary, has been attending the Soul Food Feast for several years.
"I come to help support the Center for African American Students Programs, and so I won't have to cook dinner," Congleton said with a chuckle. "It's also nice to see the Huntington community and the students from campus interact with one another."
Other Huntington residents echoed Congleton's appreciation for the event.
"I enjoy the fellowship the most - seeing people from different cultures, churches and backgrounds come together," Donna McCoy, Huntington resident, said. "I just met a young lady from Colombia that had never seen snow before."
The feast is sponsored by the CAASP and is open to students and the public. This year, a combination of more than 100 students and community members attended the event Jan. 28, Fran Jackson, administrative assistant for the CAASP, said.
The Soul Food Feast has been a tradition for more than 20 years and is centered on maintaining good relationships with family and friends and eating, both of which are important to black culture, Cooley said. The event is also intended to kick off February - Black History Month.
Brittany M. Twohig can be contact at email@example.com.