Soul Food Cuisine
A Black History Tribute to Soul Food Cuisine.
During the cruel period of slavery, African American had enormous trials and struggles to overcome. Africans had to make do with the leftovers their white slave owners didn't want to eat. They had to learn to prepare meals for their families with little food and limited supplies and resources. This was the start of the soul food era.
In the 1960‘s , Southern-style cooking of Black Americans, now labeled as “Soul Food” was due to its roots in American slavery. It was also a reminder that African American slaves paved the way in the development of African American style cooking.
Traditionally soul food cuisine back then was cooked and seasoned with pork products, and fried dishes were usually cooked in lard, because they had to use what was available at the time.
While soul food originated in the South, soul food restaurants—from fried chicken and fish "shacks" to upscale dining establishments—exist in virtually every African American community in the USA, especially in cities with large African American populations, such as Charleston, Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Detroit, New York, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Miami, Baltimore, St. Louis and Washington, D.C.
Poor whites and blacks in the South ate many of the same dishes, but styles of preparation sometimes varied. African American soul food generally tends to be spicier than Anglo-American cuisine. The recipes and cooking techniques was generally handed down orally.
Soul food cuisine uses a large variety of dishes and ingredients, some unique, some shared with other cuisines. But Soul Food stand uniquely on its own. It has strong roots in African American history and has been enjoyed by many cultures for many generations.
Recipes for example, were not written as you see them today, but were prepared by memory and by adding a pinch of this and a dash of that to their cooking pots and the bottom line was true soul food cuisine.
Today, as a result, some African Americans use methods of cooking soul food different from those employed by their grandparents, using more healthful alternatives for frying by using vegetable oil, canola oil, or olive oil for cooking and stewing. They also use smoked turkey instead of pork. Critics say that the move to healthy soul food have the undesirable benefit of robbing blacks of their culture. However, many seem to forget that other cooking methods were used by the slaves for preparing soul food such as roasting, steaming, boiling, and grilling.
Today, we have healthier alternatives to eating soul food cuisine, alternatives that were a lot different from how it was prepared during slavery. We can slim down soul food by being creative in our cooking methods and learning to live a healthier lifestyle and keeping soul food alive. "None of us is responsible for the complexion of his skin. This fact of nature offers no clue to the character or quality of the person underneath." Anderson, Marian Singer (1897-1993)
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