Soul Food Artist

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Soul food: like Black art or music, embodies transformation



By Michelle Lawrence

Contributing Writer


As Mother Nature has shifted her aura to accommodate the cool, crisp shades of winter, I am reminded that the season of harvest has passed and now is the time for thoughtful reflection, thanksgiving, festivity, and celebration. While watching the withered and snow-dusted leaves dance across the landscape of my back yard, memory took me to an experience in 2008 when I was privy to dialogue among a group of African American elders about culture and cooking. During the dialogue, which flowed like a potluck dinner, the elders dished up stories about the techniques used by their ancestors to transform throwaway scraps into sumptuous delights — techniques that allowed them to transform food once considered garbage into food considered “soul.”

Entranced by the rhythm of the dancing leaves, I suddenly experienced a flash of insight, an epiphany: Seeds planted in my mind three years earlier by that group of elders were coming into fruition as a personal harvest. At that instant, one solid question emerged in my mind: Why is the term “soul food” unique to African American people? The elders had answered the question that day. Continue Reading →

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