Taste of the South: Freedom Inn honors MLK Day with special cuisine

Patrons stand in line for Southern cuisine served at the Freedom Inn Dining Facility on Jan. 11 in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The menu featured fried chicken, barbecue ribs, mac and cheese, and peach cobbler. (Photo by Tynise Jones)

From barbercue ribs and fried chicken to macaroni and cheese and cornbread, the Freedom Inn Dining Facility brought a taste of the South to its patrons in honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.

The facility celebrated Southern Cuisine Day on Jan. 11 with a menu that included fried fish, candied yams, collard greens and several desserts such as peach cobbler and bread pudding.

“Since Monday is Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, we figured we’d go ahead and make a nice meal for all of the people here at Fort Meade,” said Willie Harmon, afternoon manager of the Freedom Inn.

“Every year we usually make a special Southern meal to celebrate King’s birthday, and everyone pretty much enjoys it.”

The meal was served during the facility’s regular lunch hours of 11:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

Pfc. DeAndre Pierce of the 551st Signal Battalion, U.S. Army Signal School Detachment said that the food reminded him of his hometown in southwest Georgia.

“I’m from the South, so I’m used to soul food,” Pierce said.

As Pierce indulged in rice, mac and cheese, and collard greens, there was one particular food he enjoyed most.

“My favorite thing right now is the fried chicken,” he said. “I’ve been eating fried chicken since I was a child, so any fried chicken is the best fried chicken.”

While most patrons enjoyed the Southern cuisine, a few dined on the standard foods served daily such as hamburgers, hot dogs and salad.

“I’m eating a salad that I’m so happy to have now,” said Pvt. Jeremy Sawyer of the 551st Signal Battalion, U.S. Army Signal School Detachment.

Sawyer ate his salad with pride as he watched those around him load their plates with the special of the day.

“I’m just going to enjoy my salad because this food looks way too good to work off,” Sawyer said jokingly.

Spc. Jordan Baker of the 551st Signal Battalion U.S. Army Signal School Detachment was excited about the different choices of food.

“They usually don’t have fried chicken, mac and cheese or collard greens,” Baker said. “But when they do, that generally means something’s going on. We don’t ask any questions. We just pile up the plate and get [to] the eating.”

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