Melanie Alston

Years of Participation


I am Melanie Alston, granddaughter of the late Mrs. Martha "Lou" Gadsden. My grandmother was a hard worker. Until the day she passed away she never realized how she impacted all of our lives positively. I got the gift of entrepreneurship from her. She was a modest woman and yearned for the basic necessities of life, and nothing more. I would like to share one unknown fact about her. She had a wonderful sense of humor, to most folks she was stern and serious. While that is true there were many other sides to her personality that was fascinating. Mrs. Martha Lou Gadsden was strong and over came many challenges and traumas in her life. Cooking was one of her outlets and she did it so well and gracefully. I can recall as a child watching her prepare what has come to be known as some of her most famous dishes/entrees. For example, collard greens, cornbread, bread pudding, fried chicken and fish & girts. Oh the aroma and the taste of the food always left us longing for more. In the Black community we have a saying, she always knew how to stretch a pot for all of us to enjoy. Her most famous saying is, I am a cook and not a chef. We love her for this and through me and others her talents of cooking the best soul food dishes will live on. Rest in Peace Moma, you are a legend and never even realized it! Thank you!!