When you think of soul food, you might think of creamy macaroni and cheese, the smell of cayenne pepper, or bursting butter. And yet it is something more. This is a unique style of food that carries history, taste and, of course, soul. Often found in the southern states, soul food has become a popular cuisine in America and around the world. Originating from African cuisine, soul food brings people together and is a way to preserve black culture.
Because of its influence, June is recognized as National Soul Food Month, and here are five ways to celebrate it.
A Brief History of Soul Food
Soul food arose during one of the most grueling times for blacks. During slavery, enslaved people received meager rations such as rice, sweet potatoes, and cornmeal. Rarely were they given meat, fruit, or vegetables. However, they made up for this by combining the resulting leftovers with food that grew on the ground. Over time, many African Americans gained freedom, and the enslaved culinary style evolved into haute cuisine.
The name “Food for the Soul” comes from the importance of food for the body and soul. It lifts your spirit and fills your belly. The cuisine consists of staples such as cornbread, fried okra, breaded fish and black-eyed peas. Many other dishes have grown and expanded through various repetitions.
Food for the soul is often prepared during holidays, family gatherings and celebrations. Here are some ways to celebrate this month in or out of the kitchen.
one. Cook soul food for friends and family
While blacks still face racism and discrimination, the culture has advanced in many ways. This is an occasion to celebrate. Use the progress of the culture to celebrate with friends and family. You can even use this month to invite friends over, introduce them to the wealth of soul food and share some of its history.
2. Learn more about the history of Soul food.
The general history of soul food may be well known, but there are depths to that history waiting to be explored. To dive into this history lesson, you can start by watching a Netflix documentary series. High on a pig. In the series, chef and writer Steven Satterfield traces the origins of black food from Africa to some of the farthest corners of the southern states.
If you have already seen the movie, you can trace the history of soul food in your family. Start talking to your parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts about their connection to soul food. What recipes did they grow up learning? What memories do they have because they all came together to taste food for the soul?