When I prepare food, I do try to be mindful: to start with: I think about what foods will best combine together to make what I have in mind, then I think about the vegetables/fruit/nuts/seeds I am using, and thank them for their contribution; I also think about the people who will be eating my food (if I am preparing for others), and about how I will enjoy the food (if it is for me). I strive to think happy thoughts while I am preparing food, because I believe that will help the food be better, tastier, more nutritious, and more digestible.
So, tonight, as I was preparing one of my favorites — massaged and marinated kale and collards, I started to think about Lillian Butler, who taught me how to make marinated greens. I took a wonderful raw food training at Raw Soul, the restaurant that Lillian and her husband, Eddie, had in Harlem. That training was very fruitful in very many ways. Although I have been raw for a long time, it was the first time that I have met, in person, other people interested in raw food. That was pretty exciting!
Last week, at Bebe’s raw food meet-up at Bonobo’s, I heard that Raw Soul has closed! I was shocked! Every time I had gone to Raw Soul, it had always been busy, even to the point that sometimes you had to ask a stranger if you could share their table, so I had always figured that they were making money. They had a brisk take-out business, and they were the only place where you could get a gallon of rejuvelac to take home. In addition to all of that, they offered raw food trainings, to teach people how to eat properly and prepare delicious food. They had even started a chef training, which I was hoping to be able to take some day (right about the time they started it, my job went south, so I could not take the training right away)
What are Lillian and Eddie doing now? Why did they close Raw Soul? Did they make enough money to retire on and decide to go off and live on an island? Did they decide to eat meat? What happened? No information is available on the grapevine.
I still smiled as I massaged my greens, remembering the night when we made our graduation dinner at Raw Soul, and the beautiful, enviably big steel bowl I was in charge of held all those greens and other ingredients, and how my own two hands could get in there and massage those greens until the mass was 1/3 of the original size, and how it tasted when we put our whole dinner together.
Even if Raw Soul is gone, every time I make greens, I will always have a beautiful memory to think on as I make the dish.
I’m sad that Raw Soul is gone. It was such a wonderful place. I imagined that Lillian and Eddie had an outreach mission to teach the Harlem community about the raw food lifestyle, and about eating properly, and eating well. Perhaps they did. Perhaps they found it difficult to do what they had originally envisioned. I can only hope that they have found something better to do, that satisfies their longings and desires and brings them prosperity.
I will miss Raw Soul.