Soulful Sunday dinners are a cherished Southern tradition that goes back generations, and they’re just as relevant today as ever before.
 
But gathering family and friends at the table for food, fellowship and fun shouldn’t be reserved for Sundays or holidays alone. Extend the togetherness by starting a “supper club,” where laughter and good times are as satisfying as the menu.
 
Last Friday, I featured a recipe for Sweet Potato Pie Smoothies from restaurateur and cookbook author B. Smith (right). To make it easy for women to host family gatherings and girls’ nights in, she helped create Serving Up Soul. She wants to bring back the supper club and encourage us to slow down, reconnect and dine in more frequently.
 
Here are some of Smith’s tips and tools for creative entertaining.
 
Layer in a Theme. Celebrate a holiday, host a pre-gathering for a special event, or plan a monthly couples’ night in.
 
Go for Girl Talk. Host girlfriends for a rotating, themed potluck evening.
 
Savor Kitchen Time. Bonding with the kids when cooking helps preserve family traditions, teaches kitchen skills and builds self-esteem.
 
Stock Up on Staples. If you’re going to experiment with ethnic cuisine like soul food,  learn about the basics every kitchen should have for serving up traditional favorites—from cast-iron cookware to special serving pieces.
 
Sharpen Skills. Hone your party-planning skills with a hostess timeline and checklist to ensure stress-free gatherings.
 
Tune in tomorrow for another soulful recipe from Smith: Black-Eyed Pea and Cornbread Salad. All of the ingredients should be available at your local natural and organic food store. 

The Cookbook Shelf

Photo courtesy of Serving Up Soul