A while ago I came across some of the recipes for Furr’s Cafeteria online. Now, depending on where you live, you may or may not know of that which I speak. In the late 70’s through the 80’s, Furr’s was the equivalent of a soul food restaurant here in Denver. It was thee place where everyone and their Grandmother (literally) gathered to dine after church on Sundays. It was a zillion times better than any Country Buffet and probably considerably less wasteful. You went through the line to choose from a selection of meats, veggies, sides, desserts and beverages. Practically all of the women that worked there were black women that just stayed “putting there foot in it”* weekly. Through various conversations I’ve discovered that for many of us (especially here in Denver), it’s holds some real childhood memories or what I prefer to call “Culinary Chronicles of Blackness”. While Furr’s Cafeteria has been closed many years, everyone I spoke to remembered exactly what they used to order which speaks volumes considering it’s been closed over 25 years I’m certain. These days in Denver, you can count the number of authentic soul food spots on one hand. Hell, maybe two fingers! That being said, it’s hard not to drift back to the days when Sunday dinner really was such “a thing” that families did TOGETHER be it inside or outside of the home.
When I stumbled upon the recipes from Furr’s, I swear I thought I’d hit the jackpot multiple times! Last night I finally got around to testing the recipe. First I wanna say, it’s a rare occasion for me to blog the day after something occurred so this must be serious. –Ya’ll know I’m slow. Even when it’s my intention, I start but often don’t finish for a myriad of reasons. I won’t tell you how many drafts are sitting in my word press account. Second, I’m no food blogger so I don’t really have a rating system or even the “proper” language to apply to these moments. I’m just an artist who likes food and history. I don’t have a number of stars to throw out, or spoons or…whatever– so I’m just gonna say this and you can quote me on it. A’hem: “This damn Furr’s Cafeteria Butter Chess Pie TASTES like a room full of black folks dining in Furr’s Cafeteria!”. Can an image classify as a description for taste? Today it will, lol. If you are not a person of color, you may not understand that “rating” but it’s the best I can do. Those that are understand the richness that is present in the culture. The nostalgia often forgotten surrounding certain family members and the dishes they would delight everyone with. Church basement dinners and the warmth and connection of family reunions This pie? This pie is a rich buttery mess of Southern goodness takin’ you all back up in and through memories you didn’t even KNOW you had transforming you from average citizen to Time Traveler in no seconds flat.
I am sharing the recipe here as I certainly cannot claim it as mine. But if you wanna impress your people with a pie that is relatively simple to make, go with this one. I made my crust from scratch and still knocked it out in a few hours, but you could certainly go with a pilsbury ready made crust or a frozen pie shell. These are stressful times. Many things are healing, namely food. If you wanna spread some love, massage some hearts or experience some REAL GENUINE quality time with some folks, bake this for them and let the pie do the rest. Watch what ensues. Everyone will thank you.
“……Keeping your culinary DNA alive in Studio5”
~h.kai aka LadyGurl
*putting their foot in it: a term used in the black community to describe ones cooking success or success related to the preparation or reception of certain culinary delight. “Ooh she put her foot in that banana pudding!”
**Apparently there is one Furr’s Cafeteria left in Colorado located in Wheatridge. I cannot speak for the quality of their food these days though I welcome comments from anyone that can.