The Soul Food Market promises patrons a little taste of heaven and owner Diane Oberkrom delivers on her pledge. A visit to the sweet spot restores our soul with delicious manna that tastes like it was sent down from above.
More than that, though, Diane feeds the soul through a unique ministry baked so smoothly into her delicious food that it goes down easily. She also throws in a nice leavening of humor into the recipe for her restaurant and catering business.
My good friend Polly Balint is holding a series of Bible studies from her book “Totally Devoted” this summer at the bookstore. It is really through Polly that I learned about Diane and her inspirational story and business, although I have bought her fabulous cupcakes and cookies when I needed a heavenly treat.
Several years ago, Diane’s husband died suddenly of a heart attack. A few weeks later, she began to have dreams about baking muffins with cheesecake centers that had scriptures as a sort of fortune included with them.
At the time, Diane worked in downtown Atlanta as an IT manager and programmer, and baking cupcakes was not where she saw herself at all. But as she had more and more dreams with more and more recipes, she began to believe she was receiving a divine message.
When she started cooking up the recipes, she found they were an instant success.
Soon, she and son Augie were in business for themselves, serving up all sorts of things at their Soul Food Market.
Now, she offers breakfast and a full-lunch menu, including homemade sandwiches, salads and soups in addition to her delicious sweets.
The names of her offerings are sparked with her humor, including the “Funky Chicken,” the “Hippie Grandma,” a veggie and hummus wrap with plenty of Nirvana, and the “Omega Three Special,” tuna salad with a special twist.
Made from scratch soups include “Loaded Baked Potato” and “Cowboy Chili.”
For the health conscious, she offers items that can be made “Kinda Healthy,” meaning baked with whole wheat flour and honey, and sprinkled with homemade granola.
On her brochure is a Bible verse. “Jesus answered, ‘It is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4.
Bread is not all we can’t live on alone.
Her cupcakes are in a class all of their own. She even named one recipe “Tall Dark and Handsome” for the Canton firefighters who inspired the delectable treat.
You will also find plenty of Bible verses scattered everywhere in and among Soul Food Market.
Soul Food Market guarantees that every bite of food that leaves their kitchen has been created, stirred, baked and iced in prayer. Diane writes that as they do the cooking, they offer continuous prayer that the receiver will be filled with the Holy Spirit and allow Him to bring the promise of eternal life.
Her brochure continues that she and her staff cannot guarantee that life on earth will be free of pain and suffering. Hers was not, she says. God uses those things to build inner strength and faith. But she does leave us with God’s promises.
When I was having a tough time in my own life, someone gave me a food gift from Soul Food. There was a Bible verse attached and it really fed my soul that day.
The Bible verse stated “Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you: a prophet to the nations — that’s what I had in mind for you.” Jeremiah 1:5.
That sounds way too lofty for anything I might be able to accomplish, but for some reason it gave me hope for my life and I have hung onto it. It has been on my crowded, messy desk for more than three years now. I guess it really did have a special purpose.
Diane is a lot better writer than I am and she tells her story in wonderful detail in her newsletter she recently started publishing.
I am sure you can pick up a copy when you stop by Soul Food Market. I promise for the few dollars it will cost you, you will get a lot more in return.
Diane surely lives by the verse that it is more blessed to give than to receive.
Rebecca Johnston is former editor of the Cherokee Tribune.