Sunday, August 7, 2011

Top Ten: Soul Food.

 "Come and get your soul food. . .well, well
Good ol' fashioned soul food. . . alright
Everything is for free
As good as it can be
Come and get some soul food."

~ Goodie Mob featuring Cee-Lo Green
First things first--- I know, I know. I've been pretty raggedy about my . . .ah hem. . ."Thursday" top ten. But seriously? Life moves too fast sometimes and I look up and it's not even Thursday anymore. So yeah. . . I need to revise it to just "top ten" to afford me the chance to not get the hairy eyeball when it's not up yet. Errrr. . . yeah.

Okay. . .so from here on--let's just say I'm keeping it. . . uuuhhhhh. . . mysterious. Yeah, that's it. Kind of like my People magazine that comes on any damn day it wants. Sometimes early the following week even. (Which reminds me--why the heck haven't I gotten the one with Amy Winehouse yet?! Arrrrgggh!)

Uuuuhh, okay. Let's get on to more unimportant things, shall we?

Freaked-out Friday. . . .

Okay, so on Friday I was so busy. Like, crazy busy. The morning started with my regular household craziness made crazier by the early hit time I had at the school of medicine. Any time I have something early--too early--it sends my house (read:my husband) into a tailspin.


Next up--a small group session with my brand new first year meds. They all spent a week shadowing interns and third year med students on the wards and we all met up to debrief their experiences. In addition to hearing their impressions of medicine as they walk the fine line between layperson and medical person for the last time, I asked them all to write a letter to their future doctor selves from their novice doctor selves.  For example:

"Dear Future Me,

Don't ever forget to listen to your patients.  Never forget to be in awe of the privilege of doing this. . .


M1 Me."

Pretty amazing stuff.

Okay, so we bonded and laughed and got all cozy. I looked at their faces and watched their mannerisms carefully. Thinking about how familiar it would all become and savoring the newness of this time. Next I asked them to describe themselves in one word. My new small group (aka SG Gamma) is:

  • adventurous
  • neurotic
  • humble
  • sarcastic
  • relaxed
  • curious
  • organized

They also seem pretty fun. Score!

Finally, after all of that, I hightail it over to Grady to round. I meet up with my resident and by the time I get there it's after lunch. Even though my tumbly is super rumbly, we hit the ground running. She brings me to speed on all of our patients that she'd managed with care all morning long. Lucky for me she was all over everything and we had a great time rounding. She taught me about Chinese names and the meaning behind hers. After that, I ask her if it's okay for me to call her by her Chinese name--"Chenlu"--because I think it's such a lovely name. She obliges.

So Chenlu and I stamp out disease all over Grady all afternoon and finally, finally we finish up and I have a minute to breath.

I am starved at this point. Famished both gastronomically and mentally. It's well after 3 PM by now and seriously? I just need a minute. My soul feels good from patient care but also drained a bit, too.

Do you ever feel that way? Full and hungry at the same time? Well, I do. My soul gets like that. . . .especially on crazy days like this.

And so. I take me a minute. Just like that. A minute for me.

I walk right out of the hospital and down Jesse Hill Jr. . . .to feed my stomach and my soul. . . .with some soul food.

Today I bring you something very simple. . . . 

The Top Ten Things I did after rounding on Friday to feed my soul.

#10 -- Kicking it to the Curb (Market.)

First, I took a walk to the curb market. The Sweet Auburn Curb Market is right up the street from Grady--and seriously? It has some of everything. Everything, do you hear me? Yes, there is food there. But the people, the noises, and the energy? The best.

#9 - Soul Food for real.

Here is my late, late lunch that I had on Friday. Sho' nuff soul food, for real. Collard greens, cabbage, fried corn shucked right off the cob, and black-eyed peas. And yes, people. That is a "hoecake" you see behind all that yummy goodness. (That would be a cornbread pancake, for you folks that don't know nothin' 'bout the dirty south.)

(Oh--and for the record--no hamhocks were harmed in the preparation of this food.)

#8 -- Talking to Mimi and Fred

Mimi and Fred are the couple that own the Metro Deli where I had that delicious veggie plate. I love sitting at the counter talking to them about anything and everything, especially when the lunch crowd has died down. This day, I was asking Mimi how she got so good at making American southern fare even though she was raised in Ethiopia. She told me that "soul is soul" and that as long as you have a "hand for spice and a feel for soul" then you can't go wrong.

She never does.

#7 -- Peeping out the vegetable stands in the curb market

This made me think of you, Sister Moon!

Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, the line is out the door at the Sweet Auburn Curb Market. This is where folks come to get their big bunches of collards, turnips, kale, and mustards. (See, when you live in the south, you get on a first name basis with your greens.) I can personally attest to the yummi-ness of these fresh vegetables. They are a crapload harder to clean, but it's worth it.

And they're dirt cheap, too. It's win-win.

#6 -- This I just looked at.

Ever wonder what they do with the rest of the pig? Wonder no more. A quick stroll up the street from the Gradys and the mystery will be over.


Um, yeah. (Sorry, I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.)

#5 -- Checked out these Big A-- Sweet Potatoes.

One day I was buying some sweet potatoes at this station and one of them started crying for a diaper change. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating, but damn these yams are as big as somebody's baby! At least a 39-weeker, for real.


All I'm sayin' is this--one of these can make five pies. And a souffle for a family of six.

#4 -- Sweet Tea.

This is what annoys me about any travel west of the Mississippi--unsweetened tea! Dude! Keep your Sweet n' Lo and your Kool Aid. Give me some sweet tea. . . .I'm talkin' sweet tea that's still kind of warm from being brewed. . . and I'm all good.

Which reminds me. Mimi and Fred have yummy sweet tea.

#3 -- Gold Fronts.

This brother with gold fronts smiled at me wide and happy in the curb market. No, it wasn't Puff Daddy, but his golds were on the bottom row like this. Anyways. He waved from across the market and said,

"I see you, ma! I see you doin' your doctor thing! That's what's up."

And then he nodded and gave me two thumbs up.  It was kind of sweet.

#2 -- The Med Students.

One of these four guys gave me a hand-written card that I slipped into my pocket before walking to the curb market. It may have possibly been one of the kindest things I have ever received from any learner in a very long time. I read it at the Mimi and Fred's counter and it totally caught me off guard and made me tear up.

Mimi asked me what was wrong, and I told her nothing was wrong. Nothing at all. I simply let her read the card. She teared up, too.

#1 -- A minute to myself.

After all of that, I walked down the street toward Grady and felt the sun pouring all over my face and shoulders. I received it . . . .and then just looked around me. I smiled at the people passing by and said hi to the ones I knew and the ones I didn't know, too. I even hugged one Grady elder who said, "I be seeing you on Fox 5! Can I have a hug?" And I said, "Only if I can, too!"

Next I slipped into my office and took my shoes off. . . and leaned waaaaaaay back into my chair and reread that thoughtful, handwritten card. . . . . .


My stomach was full of soul food and my soul was fed, too. Yes, it was.

Happy Soul-filled Sunday.

Now playing on my mental iPod. . . .before ATL-ien Cee-Lo Green was on mainstream iPods. . .


  1. Beautiful, happy day. I read your posts and I think to myself 'How could I possibly not be happy right now?'

  2. This post put a smile on my face as I sit back and sip my morning coffee. :-) I hope you and your family had a good weekend!

  3. Yay. The top ten list is back! I must admit that I lurk every Friday hoping for the newest addition. Glad to know that it will still appear even in a more--cough, coug--uneven fashion. :)

  4. I think this is one of my new favourite posts. You have such a delightful perspective on life!! Most people (sheepishly, probably including me!) would have been thinking about their crazy day, bemoaning the short time allotted for lunch and strung out about all of the rest of the things that needed to get done in the rapidly disappearing afternoon. I think I will print this one and put it up at my desk for inspiration! Thank you so much!


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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