Adrian MillerAndreea KindrydBryant Terry
I ASKED PEOPLE WHO grew up with soul food, cook soul food, and who eat soul food, the same question: 'What does soul food mean to you?' And as I travelled around the USA I spoke to soul food cooks, chefs, bloggers, authors, a soul food scholar, a culinary historian, and folks who remember their own folks' home-cooking.

Soulicious celebrates the heritage of soul food, and shares with you some of the memories and insights of people I met on my journey.

Each person I interviewed knew the history of the soul food they grew up eating even if they didn't call it 'soul food' then.

Soul food has its beginnings in America, but it evolved from African cooking styles and skills, and African foodways that brought okra, peanuts, and 'yams' (most recipes substitute sweet potatoes for true African yams) to the Americas.

Before the 1960's, African Americans didn't use the term. It was simply "food you grew up eating".

Since the 1970's, traditional soul food has been transformed in cookbooks and on restaurant plates. You can eat vegan, vegetarian, low-fat and low-salt, neo-soul, and deconstructed gourmet versions of soul food classics.

In the USA I spoke with Tia Bazelle at Mert's in NC, Norma J. Darden of Spoonbread in NYC, writer Lutishia Lovely, soul food scholar Adrian Miller, Nellie Ozen of Nellies in Oakland, CA, cook and culinary historian Leni Sorensen, author and food justice activist Bryant Terry, and in Australia, I spoke with chefs Frank Nicholas and Dan McGuirt, and others.

Soul food is as simple and as complex as its ingredients. The flavours are like a warm hug, and its history reminds us to both celebrate its heritage of resourcefulness and overcoming, and to be mindful of the injustices it originated from.

From home kitchens to commercial kitchens, everyone adds their own 'pinch of soul' to what they cook, whether it's cornbread, potato salad, kale chips, or even chitlins! Food is an important part of cultural identity and community, and it brings people together to eat at the same table.

I think that's a good starting point.
'Pass the greens'.

  • rlem and s
    Billie's Black restaurant in Harlem / Interviewees include: soul food scholar Adrian Miller; Andreea Kindryd shares her memories of growing up during the civil rights era; and vegan cook Bryant Terry talks about soul food and food justice / Takeout from Miss Nellie's Soul Food restaurant in Oakland...

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    SOULICIOUS – Recipes and Interviews from my Soul Food Journey to the USA. ISBN