From jerk chicken and baked salmon to meatloaf and mac-and-cheese, the Men Who Cook served up a bountiful buffet Sunday at Metropolitan United Methodist Church.

Allen Shropshire has been contributing dishes to the annual event for about 20 years. The salmon and a sweet potato souffle were his. It’s a labor of love for the church, he said, because his wife does their cooking at home.

“I cook cereal,” he said with a laugh.

Sporty Price, on the other hand, is an eclectic chef who provided a number of favorite offerings, including trays of turkey and dressing and simmered neckbones along with the meatloaf and macaroni. Price said he doesn’t have a signature dish but he enjoys making desserts.

“I like to mix it up every year,” he said. “My favorite to make is probably banana pudding.”

The pudding was gone in the first half-hour, but the chocolate cake and pies were still satisfying the crowd. In fact, 4-year-old Princeton Price used his tiny finger to track down every last cake crumb on his plate.

Godfrey Spence’s jerk chicken was a highlight for friends Tonya Byers and Jaime Benham, who found a quiet corner to chat over their meal. Others, including 94-year-old William Guy Welch, chose center tables surrounded by family and friends.

“The food isn’t important to me,” Welch said with a smile as his granddaughter checked over his shoulder to be sure he was well-supplied.

Meanwhile, Metropolitan UMC board member Bobbie Jean Daniels was filling a box to go with a selection of tidbits after settling her young charges with their food.

“I drive the bus,” Daniels explained. “Every Sunday we pick the kids up for church, we feed them and take them home.”

The event was a new experience for Terence Little, who joined the Men Who Cook brigade this year after he and his wife, Michelle Little, joined the church. He said he grew up watching his grandmother cook and he’s glad to share his recipes.

“My chicken and rice is something my aunt used to make all the time, so I hope everybody likes it,” he said.

This year’s program was the second go-round for Senior Pastor Shari L. Rates, who was smiling softly as she ate and talked with parishioners in the packed community room. Rates said the Douglasville church she came from in 2018 didn’t have a Men Who Cook tradition.

“It’s a unique ministry,” she said. “We have men who provide meals and it allows them to come together in Christian ministry and fellowship.”

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