A true Southern tradition that came from country churches in the South. This expression defines a well bountiful common meal usually done outdoors "dinner on the ground". They are most of time, right after Sunday's morning service and can last for several hours. It is a time of social conversation, fellowship and always interesting food dishes. Dishes like chicken & dumplings, black-eyed peas and hog jowl, fried okra, corn on the cob, apple cobbler, banana pudding, …..am I making you hungry? There will be rows of tables lined with casseroles dishes served on paper plates with plastic silverware. Many church ladies specialized in a certain dish. This sometimes leads to church-founded cookbooks as fundraisers.
"Dinner on the ground" is normally accompanied with an all-day singing. Ringing out with precious hymns or traditional favorite Southern Gospel Songs. When everyone’s is full, the singing will begin. The singing will continue and could go on to three or four in the afternoon. Since they have been at church all day, evening services will be dismissed. A "dinner on the ground" breaks up gradually, one family packs up and goes home, and then another. Before long, the church-yard is empty and folks are full and satisfied, both physically and spiritually. All is well.