The “Taste” of Thanksgiving Sides is getting tastier! For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been writing about the Austin Landmark Cultural Center. It is located at 5200 W. Chicago Ave. That is the huge bank building owned by John Young.

As part of our initial offering to the community, we are celebrating our cultural food connection with a “Taste of Thanksgiving Sides.” It will be held on Saturday, Nov. 11. It will start at 11 a.m.

Last week, I wrote about Miz Yolanda and her fabulous banana pudding. Now I am proud to say that the event has gotten even more participants. I won’t go through the entire list, but we heard from a gentleman whose specialty is Fried Turkey. He makes them in 10 different flavors! We’ve heard from people who bake and others who do it all because of their ability to cater. Best of all, we have been hearing from folks who want to come and taste.

As a reminder, here is how the Taste will work. This event is a fundraiser for the new Austin Landmark Cultural Center. We are asking that you donate $1 as an admission fee. That money will be used by the Cultural Center to do future programming. Once inside, there will be a variety of cooks, chefs and entrepreneurs who will sell you a sample of their specialties. Those samples will range in price from $1 to $2. If you like what you sample, you can order an entire dish. The dish will be delivered to the Cultural Center on Wednesday, Nov. 22. We have plenty of refrigeration units, so storage won’t be a problem.

The Austin Landmark Cultural Center decided upon this idea as food has always been a special part of African-American culture. This is also an excellent opportunity to be a catalyst for African Americans to buy from other African Americans. I love to eat and have always wanted to do a marketplace that connected those who cook well and sell their products to those who want to buy it. If, over the years, you have been a reader of my columns, I have always advocated for us as a community to fund those who want to go into business. This is just another extension of that idea.

The Austin Landmark Cultural Center is now proud to announce that, in addition to being able to place orders, we have invited local food manufacturers to highlight their products as well. One of the first to respond to the invitation was Magnolia Spice Teas.

Have you ever tasted any of their products? I for one can vouch for how good they are. Magnolia Spice is a bottled tea that is brewed-as opposed to being made from instant tea. The flavors range from my favorite, Autumn Nectar (made with orange and pineapple juice), to Southern Spice Tea, and ‘Nilla Lemonade made with a touch of vanilla as well as a Green tea. Since all the teas are naturally brewed, they contain helpful anti-oxidants.

We also have a man who markets his Creole potato salad. I’ve had it before, and it was darn good! Best of all, you won’t have to wait to buy those products. You can buy them the day of the event. With the closing of Cub Foods, many African-American manufacturers have lost their shelf space. It will be harder and harder to get their products into the hands of customers if the stores are not there. Those of us involved in the Landmark Cultural Center recognized this and that is one of the reasons why we are doing this. The other reason is that we are all living here in Austin, and we are all neighbors. So what can be more neighborly than just being kind to each other? What can be more neighborly than getting us to connect with one another?

We have two more full weekends before our Taste. Please tell everyone you know about it so we can make this a wonderful kickoff event to the holiday season. We have two floors of space, so if you know of anyone who wants to participate, have them call Earline Ruffin, the executive director, at 773/378-0212 or 773/787-7054.

We will again be on Garfield Major’s talk show, “Talking to the People”. His show is on WPNA 1490-AM. The show comes on every Sunday night at 9:30. The phone number to the radio station is 708/524-9762.