Sallie’s catering – “Good Fashioned Home Cooking” - isn’t just our slogan, but a tradition that started in my mother’s kitchen many years ago. I was born and raised in Sumter, South Carolina. One of my mother’s many wishes was that all six of her girls would learn to do things that would get them through life as independent women. One such element of independence was cooking; and not just cooking, but to cook well. I am very proud to say, “Josephine, you’ve taught me well.” Thanks Mom.
Cooking has always been my #1 passion. At the age of five, I remember standing on a bucket watching my mom cook after she had been working the fields from dawn until noon. Some of the things my mom would make for dinner were: fried chicken (fresh from the chicken coop), butter beans, rice, and biscuits. Sometimes we would have Catfish Stew and Rice, Cabbage and Rice, White Potato Stew and Rice, and Okras and Rice. In our family, cakes and pies were just as important to the meal as the entrée. My mom would bake an assortment of desserts such as: sweet potato pies, coconut pies with pineapple, jelly cakes, coconut cakes (we called them snow cakes), and chocolate cakes.
When I was13, my mom had a stroke, forcing me, the second oldest of nine children, to take on the cooking duties for the family. My first solo meal was: fried chicken smothered in gravy and onions, cabbage, rice,
Tee-biscuits, and jelly cake. My oldest sister, Jannie, was responsible for homework, combing hair, bathing, and laying out school clothes for our younger siblings. I was responsible for making the fire, and cooking all the meals. Together we chopped wood, drew water from the well, washed clothes, cleaned the house and we got everyone ready for Sunday School. My daddy was so proud of my accomplishments in the kitchen, that he gave me the nickname, “Little Jo,” which is short for Josephine, my mom’s name.
I graduated from high school in 1966; I came to Washington D.C. March 16, 1967, in search of my dream… to cook in a Soul Food Restaurant. My first job was not cooking in a Soul Food Restaurant, but instead, I was pressing pants in a dry cleaner. Sad to say, things didn’t look good for me at the time and my dream had started to become just that… a dream. On July 11, 1970, I gave birth to my son, Vincent. For the next 18 years, I did the same things for my son that my mom did for me, to make sure he had a solid foundation for which to build on for the rest of his life. My son graduated from high school with honors and attended Florida A & M University where he graduated with an above 3.0 grade point average. He has been an educator in the Prince George’s Public School System for fifteen years. My son is married and has given me five grandchildren. On March 8, 1989, my step-daughter gave birth to my oldest grandson, Danavin. Through God’s grace and mercy, my life partner, King, and I were able to rescue Danavin from some very unfortunate circumstances and gain legal guardianship of him. Danavin, 19, has since graduated from private school with honors and is currently attending college.
In July 2003, I retired from Corporate America after 35 years. In February 2006, I went back to school and received my accreditation to start my own catering business. I am currently a Licensed Food Vendor for the Charles County and Prince George’s County Public School Systems. I have catered numerous events for each school system over the past two years. I am also on staff as a Licensed Food Vendor at the White Hall Mansion in Laurel, Maryland
I came to D.C. with a dream to work at a soul food restaurant, and with God by my side, I have been blessed with a fulfilling reality, Sallie’s Catering Services, LLC.