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Soul Food: The Surprising Story Of An American Cuisine, One Plate At A Time (2013)

by Adrian Miller(Favorite Author)
3.87 of 5 Votes: 1
146960762X (ISBN13: 9781469607627)
University of North Carolina Press
review 1: Defining "soul food" is a task that others have attempted; yet a precise definition remains elusive. Author and "soul foodie" Adrian Miller meticulously and lovingly researches the complex history and traditions of this uniquely American cuisine. Miller compares and contrasts soul food with southern and down home cooking. He does this through planning a hypothetical, traditional soul food meal and then dedicating an entire chapter to each of its components. With this method, Miller weaves African American culinary history from West Africa, the Atlantic slave trade, the antebellum era, post Civil War poverty across the South, Jim Crow, the Great Migration, the Civil Rights era, to modern attempts to revive soul food. Other ethnic foods have found a niche in the American fas... moret food and medium food markets (think Olive Garden, Applebees as "medium"). Yet soul food remains largely regulated to homes, church dinners, and small, local restaurants. Miller's last chapter is appropriately titled, "Whither Soul Food?" as he explores the future of soul food.Yes, there are recipes at the conclusion of each chapter! This is an excellent history book with flavor. I recommend this for book clubs for adults and teens, as the meetings could include sharing of recipes from the book.
review 2: I love good food history. Miller examines (with scholarly footnotes) iconic soul food dishes, with marvelous sidelights like the politicizing of the term "soul food" in the 1960s, the Orisha connections to chicken (which I knew from Sundiata) and black-eyed peas, the off-post restaurants in Vietnam serving chitlins and red Kool-Aid to African-American soldiers, the sweet-savory cornbread divide, the Harlem Macaroni Factory (and macaroni and cheese), Nilla Wafer's advertising in black newspapers (which leads to banana pudding), Tabasco in Space! and the total inseparability of church and plate. Which all makes me miss Whispering Oaks in Opelika, AL, where the waitress would lean down and pronounce, "Honey, you're too thin. We have pie." less
Reviews (see all)
Very interesting perspective on African American culture. Some pretty good recipes, too!
Great scholarship & lively writing in this food history!
Denver author.
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