Soul Food

Recent Articles

The Good Wife Works – On soul food

 

 

 

Filmmaker Byron P. Hurt (born 12/31/69) presented his documentary Soul Food Junkies at Macalester College in St. Paul during Black History Month 2013. The film was also shown at the Merriam Park Branch of the St. Paul Public Library during Black History Month, and on PBS. While attending Northeastern University, Hurt decided to discuss his concerns with his father about his father’s health and diet. Continue Reading →

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Collard greens and chicken sans fat

 
Soul food reinvented using a blend of cultural flavors
 

Growing up during a time where the daily aroma of fried chicken drifted throughout homes seldom locked, I recall the magical experience of tasting those crispy morsels, prepared ever so carefully by hands that had worked on railroads and cleaned the homes of wealthier families. But times have changed, and now that we are aware of the negative health effects such as high cholesterol, heart disease and diabetes that accompany deep fried delicacies, it’s time to reinvent those delicacies that connect us to our past and heritage but also compromise our physical well-being. A few weeks ago while listening to Leela James’ “Soul Food,” where she sings, “Sip me up like lemonade from a mason jar. Make it good like some chicken fried in a pan of lard,” I suddenly got a huge craving for fried chicken and collard greens. Yes, yes. Continue Reading →

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Cooking from the essence: Who we are is in what we eat

While good nutrition is certainly important, and the food that we eat influences our health, so does the essence of the cook who prepares it — an essence which not only affects the flavor of the food, but which also determines the overall mind-body-spirit reaction we have to it. Cooking is an act of personal power, and eating allows our bodies to undergo a biochemical process that affects our moods, influences our behavior, and ultimately shapes our identity. In a sense, we are not only what we eat: We are who we eat. Food expert Christina Pirello agrees and writes: “We run a risk of giving our destiny to any chef who claims to know how to cook a pot of rice. He or she is in charge of who we are and what we feel and how we behave. Continue Reading →

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Restaurant visit sparks battle of the palate versus the soul

 

 

 

 

By Michelle Lawrence

Contributing Writer

 

A few weeks ago, a fellow food enthusiast and I sat down over a plate of bleu cheese-slathered hot wings to talk shop and all things food. Indulging ourselves in a ritual feast of the high-cholesterol bar favorites, she suggested that I try Victory 44 — a chef-run gourmet restaurant in the Victory/Camden neighborhood of North Minneapolis — a neighborhood known for being a “food desert” due to its shortage of places offering quality produce and nutritious foods. So, acting on her suggestion, one Saturday evening my husband and I decided to take a trip to Victory 44 — an oasis in a food desert. As my husband and I entered the restaurant through its rear door, we were immediately greeted by chefs who were busily cooking up dishes in the open kitchen lined against the western wall. With its high ceilings, hardwood floors and airy atmosphere, Victory 44 oozes urban chic. Continue Reading →

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Changing diet doesn’t have to mean sacrificing cultural identity

 

 

By Michelle Lawrence

Contributing Writer

 

 

If music is the language of the soul, then cooking is the language of the heart. Incidentally, it is the heart which is most affected by the type of food we eat. Yvette Salter, 42, of Winston-Salem, NC is one of many African American women who have begun looking for alternative ways to prepare food that is tasteful and heart healthy: foods such as her crab-stuffed tilapia. “I love fish, especially fried fish, but when my blood pressure began to go up, I had to start looking for different ways to make it. That’s when I started researching different recipes and found one for crab-stuffed tilapia. Continue Reading →

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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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