Soul Food Advice Column

Soul Food Advice Column


October 12, 2016

Why Are One-Pot Meals So Popular in the South?

One-pot meals are basically putting savory ingredients into a single vessel and cooking them together including meat, vegetables, beans, rice, pasta, or potatoes which are usually considered “the meal”, because it is a meal in itself.  You can serve this as it is, or you can add a fresh salad, dinner rolls, or homemade corn bread to make the meal complete. 

Many years ago, one-pot meals were popular because women worked long hours in the fields and were often too tired to make a complete meal for their family. So instead they made meals (with whatever they found around the kitchen) that were quick and easy to put together.

Well, that was then; so what’s the deal now? So, why are one-pot meals still so popular in the south?  Because this concept still applies when it comes to making quick and easy meals while saving time in the kitchen.  Even though most women don’t work in fields like they did back in the day, I feel that one-pot meals will always be popular no matter where you live because they are more family-oriented and always include foods that go well together, like red beans and rice, macaroni and cheese, homemade beef soup, and spaghetti and ground beef to name a few.

In my new cookbook, I have an entire chapter devoted to one-pot meals with great recipes for you to try, such as Mamie’s Turkey Pot Pie, Tennessee-Style Chicken Wings and Vegetables, and Chicken and From-Scratch Dumplings just to name a few.  Mamie was my mother and her turkey pot pie recipe is simply to-die for.  I also explain in the cookbook where the concept of one-pot meals first originated and why they are embedded in our history.  These all-in-one meals have been a lifesaver for me over the years and I know you will benefit from making them too.

Sample One-Pot Meals

  • · Red Beans and Rice
  • · Cabbage with Okra or White Potatoes
  • · Collard Green with Turnips and Smoked Turkey
  • · Meat and Vegetable Gumbo 
  • · Mamie’s Turkey Pot Pie
  • · Spaghetti and Ground Beef

These meals can be served with dinner rolls or homemade corn bread.

Cassandra Harrell is a Soul Food Advisor and recently owned a soul food restaurant and catering service. She has conducted cooking classes and one-on-one sessions on preparing great soul food cuisine. Her new book,Soul Food Advisor is filled with her authentic recipes that she passed down to her family along with soul food cooking history. Please visit The Cookbook Page and Author Bio.