Soul food is an ethnic cuisine traditionally prepared and eaten by African Americans in the Southern United States. The expression "soul food" originated in the mids, when " soul " was a common word used to describe African American culture. The term soul food became popular in the s and s in the midst of the Black Power movement. Soul food restaurants were Black-owned businesses that served as neighborhood meeting places where people socialized and ate together. The origins of recipes considered soul food can be traced back to before slavery, as African mostly West African and European mostly British foodways were adapted to the environment of the region. Enslaved people were typically given a peck of cornmeal and pounds of pork per week, and from those rations come soul food staples such as cornbread , fried catfish , barbecued ribs , chitterlings , and neckbones. Enslaved people needed to eat foods with high amounts of calories to balance out spending long days working in the fields. This led to time-honored soul food traditions like frying foods, breading meats and fishes with cornmeal, and mixing meats with vegetables e. Impoverished whites and blacks in the South cooked many of the same dishes stemming from the soul tradition, but styles of preparation sometimes varied.
If you're thinking ham hocks and hush puppies, you're on the right track
Also known as Freedom Day, Juneteenth is an American holiday that commemorates the official end of slavery. Despite the Emancipation Proclamation two years prior, Texas was the most remote of the slave states with a low presence of Union representation and increasing slave population. On June 19, , Union soldiers arrived in Texas to announce that the Civil War was over and that the enslaved were to be freed. With 47 states observing Juneteenth, the day is a symbol of total freedom from slave trade across all states. A Soul Food Bistro plate of oxtails, rice, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, cornbread and sweet tea. Many celebrate Juneteenth by serving or enjoying traditional soul food dishes like fried chicken, red velvet cake, macaroni and cheese, collard greens. The origins of soul food, including foods such as okra and rice, are common elements of Gullah Geechee cuisine. Historically associated with the coastal region stretching from Wilmington, North Carolina to St. Augustine, the Gullah Geechee are descendants of Central and West African ancestors who arrived in America through the transatlantic slave trade.
“Southern food isn’t one thing. Louisiana isn’t Georgia isn’t the Carolinas.”
Soul food , the foods and techniques associated with the African American cuisine of the United States. The term celebrated the ingenuity and skill of cooks who were able to form a distinctive cuisine despite limited means. Although the name was applied much later, soul food originated in the home cooking of the rural South, using locally raised or gathered foods and other inexpensive ingredients. Following their emancipation from slavery in the s, African American cooks expanded on the coarse diet that had been provided them by slave owners but still made do with little. Most of the foods they prepared were common to all the rural poor of the South—light- and dark-skinned alike—but these foods and food-preparation techniques were carried north by African Americans during the Great Migration and thus became identified with African American culture. Although there were regional variants, such as the Creole influence from Louisiana, many of the same foods were eaten throughout the South. Corn maize was raised as a staple, to be ground into cornmeal for cornbread and its local variants hoecakes, baked on a griddle, and hush puppies , usually fried with fish. Corn also provided hominy grits, to be eaten as a breakfast food or a side dish. Biscuits were a popular form of bread.
You bake your cornbread in a cast-iron skillet. Your kitchen is stocked with grits and greens and grease. More and more Southern cooks are chipping away at that stereotype, both in who they are and what they cook. Two cooks based here — Todd Richards and Virginia Willis — have published cookbooks this year that reflect new ways of thinking about Southern food and the terms that have come to define it. His book is both a manual and meditation, in chapters moving alphabetically from collards to potatoes, on the forces of history that made him the cook that he is. Willis, 51, is a Georgia native, taught the classics by her mother and grandmother, and polished by years spent cooking in France and working in food media in New York.