19 Bella Tapas BYOB Restaurant

The Truth About Soul Food

The Truth About Soul Food

Author Celia Barbour and Oprah.com gives us The Truth About Soul Food.  She says “Eating organically, sustainably, and locally is just the latest eco-foodie trend—right? Hardly. African-Americans have been doing it for 200 years, and their vibrant, veggie-centric traditions are worth reviving. Celia Barbour heeds the collards.
Here’s a confession: I thought I knew a thing or two about soul food, but I didn’t. I assumed, for instance, that it originated roughly 200 years ago, give or take a few decades. I believed that its essential ingredient was pork—especially the less savory cuts: trotters, snouts, tails, and entrails—and that deep-fat frying was its definitive technique. And I presumed that this cuisine was responsible, in some vague and sinister way, for the rash of obesity-related health problems that have beset African-Americans.

Fortunately, my journey to enlightenment was neither arduous nor greasy, though it did require frequent stops to sample—er, research—the subject.

It was set in motion by an offhand remark. “Soul food didn’t even exist before the 1960s,” said an in-the-know friend over lunch one day. Huh? So I looked it up. Turns out she was half-right: The term was coined in 1964, according to Webster’s—though the cuisine has features that go back millennia, to precolonial Africa. The soul food I thought I knew, however, turned out to be little more than a grease-spattered cliché.

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