The traditional Sacred Harp singing includes Dinner on the Grounds. Local singers bring dishes from home which are set up outside on tables or trestles for the mid-day meal. It is not unheard of for people uninterested in singing per se to attend a singing to partake of the dinner on the grounds.
At yesterday’s 24th Annual Michiana* All Day Singing & Dinner on the Grounds the dinner was both delicious and bountiful. Dr. Warren Steel reported today on the fasola-singings mailing list that:
“a striking feature was the ”green“ dinner on the grounds, with washable plates, cups, silverware and cloth napkins, all collected at the end of the meal. This is not a regular feature, at least in Mississippi, so it seems worth comment, though it should not detract from the delicious qualities of the meal, which as always included copious seasonal fruits and berries.”
Dr. Steel, professor of music at the University of Mississippi and widely known in the Sacred Harp community for his comprehensive Sacred Harp Singing web pages and his book The Makers of the Sacred Harp, also appears to be a connoisseur of dinner on the grounds. He has both a web page devoted to dinner on the grounds (with recipes!) and is the primary speaker in Dinner on the Grounds: A Soul Reviving Feast, a documentary short on the topic.
*Michiana is a portmanteau of “Michigan” and “Indiana” and is a region in northern Indiana and southwestern Michigan centered on the city of South Bend, Indiana.