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Soulful Event Celebrates Black History Month
Smells of fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, collard greens and other homemade dishes tempted a crowd awaiting tasting at the Soul Food Cookoff February 5, 2010, at the Kelley Club. <br /> <br />The event kicked off a month of celebration,
STUTTGART, Germany - Master Sergeant William Bertelson and his daughter Emma, 5, help Christina Madrid make punch at the Soul Food Cookoff that kicked off Black History Month for the Stuttgart community February 5, 2010, at the Kelley Club. The event featured guest speaker General William E. Ward, commander, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), gospel music, and soul food dishes judged for best main dish, best side dish, and best dessert. Bertelson and Madrid work with the Commander&#39;s Action Group, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). U.S. Africa Command, U.S. European Command, and the Stuttgart Garrison will host other activities throughout February to honor the heritage month themed, &#34;Strengthening our Community through Unity.&#34; For more information about upcoming events, visit http://www.africom.mil/getArticle.asp?art=3953&lang=0. (Photo by Nancy Hudson, U.S. Africa Command)
2 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 1 of 2: STUTTGART, Germany - Master Sergeant William Bertelson and his daughter Emma, 5, help Christina Madrid make punch at the Soul Food Cookoff that kicked off Black History Month for the Stuttgart community February 5, 2010, at the Kelley Club. The event featured guest speaker General William E. Ward, commander, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), gospel music, and soul food dishes judged for best main dish, best side dish, and best dessert. Bertelson and Madrid work with the Commander's Action Group, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). U.S. Africa Command, U.S. European Command, and the Stuttgart Garrison will host other activities throughout February to honor the heritage month themed, "Strengthening our Community through Unity." For more information about upcoming events, visit http://www.africom.mil/getArticle.asp?art=3953&lang=0. (Photo by Nancy Hudson, U.S. Africa Command) Download full-resolution version
General William E. Ward, commander, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), speaks to a group gathered at the Kelley Club February 5, 2010, for a Soul Food Cookoff event that kicked off Black History Month for the Stuttgart community. Attendees feasted on soul food dishes such as seafood gumbo, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, and sweet potato pie. U.S. Africa Command, U.S. European Command, and the Stuttgart Garrison will host other activities throughout February to honor the heritage month themed, "Strengthening our Community through Unity." For more information about upcoming events, visit http://www.africom.mil/getArticle.asp?art=3953&lang=0.(Photo by Nancy Hudson, U.S. Africa Command)
2 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 2 of 2: General William E. Ward, commander, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), speaks to a group gathered at the Kelley Club February 5, 2010, for a Soul Food Cookoff event that kicked off Black History Month for the Stuttgart community. Attendees feasted on soul food dishes such as seafood gumbo, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, and sweet potato pie. U.S. Africa Command, U.S. European Command, and the Stuttgart Garrison will host other activities throughout February to honor the heritage month themed, "Strengthening our Community through Unity." For more information about upcoming events, visit http://www.africom.mil/getArticle.asp?art=3953&lang=0.(Photo by Nancy Hudson, U.S. Africa Command) Download full-resolution version
STUTTGART, Germany - Master Sergeant William Bertelson and his daughter Emma, 5, help Christina Madrid make punch at the Soul Food Cookoff that kicked off Black History Month for the Stuttgart community February 5, 2010, at the Kelley Club. The event featured guest speaker General William E. Ward, commander, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), gospel music, and soul food dishes judged for best main dish, best side dish, and best dessert. Bertelson and Madrid work with the Commander&#39;s Action Group, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). U.S. Africa Command, U.S. European Command, and the Stuttgart Garrison will host other activities throughout February to honor the heritage month themed, &#34;Strengthening our Community through Unity.&#34; For more information about upcoming events, visit http://www.africom.mil/getArticle.asp?art=3953&lang=0. (Photo by Nancy Hudson, U.S. Africa Command)
General William E. Ward, commander, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), speaks to a group gathered at the Kelley Club February 5, 2010, for a Soul Food Cookoff event that kicked off Black History Month for the Stuttgart community. Attendees feasted on soul food dishes such as seafood gumbo, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, and sweet potato pie. U.S. Africa Command, U.S. European Command, and the Stuttgart Garrison will host other activities throughout February to honor the heritage month themed, "Strengthening our Community through Unity." For more information about upcoming events, visit http://www.africom.mil/getArticle.asp?art=3953&lang=0.(Photo by Nancy Hudson, U.S. Africa Command)
Smells of fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, collard greens and other homemade dishes tempted a crowd awaiting tasting at the Soul Food Cookoff February 5, 2010, at the Kelley Club.

The event kicked off a month of celebration, themed "Strengthening our Community through Unity," honouring Black History Month in the Stuttgart community.

"This is a celebration, but not just for Black Americans," said General William E. Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command and guest speaker at the kickoff. "It's a celebration for all Americans because, truly, to the degree that we all understand how we all have contributed, we are all better off. "

Ward also noted that that the diverse makeup of the Stuttgart community, like that of the United States, is part of what makes our nation great.

Diversity was also incorporated in the 23 dishes prepared by members and family of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), U.S. European Command (EUCOM), and the Stuttgart Garrison, which were judged in the categories of Best Main Dish, Best Side Dish and Best Dessert. Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Coleman, Office of Defense Cooperation Division deputy division chief, took Best Main Dish with his seafood gumbo and his sweet potato pie also won Best Dessert by a slight margin. Christina Robinson beat out 11 other sides to win the category for her collard greens.

A winner in two of three categories, Coleman said his secret is he gets a lot of practice at home. His wife, Colonel Cheryl Harris, U.S. Africa Command assistant chief of staff, said her husband's superior cooking skills come from having a wife who doesn't cook.

One wife who did cook a her special version of a classic was Cari Bertelson, wife of Army Master Sergeant William Bertelson, U.S. Africa Command Commander's Action Group. She submitted her famous mac and cheese for judging. With a blend of cheddar and sharp cheeses, pimentos and a cracker crumble on top, her recipe was unique among the other cheesy noodle sides. Her husband also made a dish for guests to enjoy, buttermilk pie.

"My entry may not have won first place in its category, but the empty dish at the end tells me the recipe must be good," said Sergeant Bertelson. "More importantly, all of the empty bowls and plates from the competition entries indicated we had a great turnout for the opening celebration of Black History Month."

Christina Madrid, Commander's Action Group, U.S. Africa Command, and one of the event's coordinators, said the crew responsible for the event had two weeks to put the cookoff together and in keeping with the celebration's theme of unity, said , "It only worked because everybody pulled together to do it."
For more information about upcoming events, visit http://www.africom.mil/getArticle.asp?art=3953&lang=0.
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