National Soul Food Month
Beginning in African-American communities in the 1960s, soul food now calls to mind the mouth-watering flavors of hearty, cheap recipes of all kinds.
The African-American culinary heritage is rich, enticing, and positively delicious!. National Soul Food Month is here to celebrate this long and varied tradition, opening folks up to learn more and show appreciation for this unique food that comes from a rich cultural background.
History of National Soul Food Month
Soul food is a type of cuisine that has been around in the United States since the 17th century. This specialized style of cooking got its start in the southern states, where African and African-American slaves were typically given deeply limited options of food to eat by their owners, mostly starches or perhaps a bit of meat.
The people needed to get creative with the way that they prepared their foods, and sometimes would forage or collect other ingredients to add to their dishes to make them tastier and more nutritious. In addition, some folks had brought several vegetables with them from West Africa, including okra, black-eyed, peas, sorghum and peppers which they could then grow themselves.
It wasn’t until the late 19th century that soul food cooking developed beyond being simply a necessary diet to something that represented culture and cuisine. The term “soul food” came into wide use in the 1960s. It started out as a name for dishes which utilized “poor man’s” ingredients like unusual cuts of meat or unpopular vegetables. However, the inimitable African-American culinary art and knack for turning these unappealing scraps into mouth-watering hearty meals soon transformed America’s view of soul food. Once a less-than positive term, it is now a trademark for a dining experience with satisfaction guaranteed.
National Soul Food Month offers a unique opportunity to reach into some special ingredients and recipes, acknowledging and honoring this delicious style of food. The event is sponsored by the Culinary Historians of Chicago, a city famous for its comfort food establishments.
National Soul Food Month also reminds people to keep traditions alive: many families celebrate with special dishes passed on over generations. Get on the soul food train and join in the culinary celebration. Feel free to extend the month by including soul food dishes into family menus all throughout the year – it’s so delicious you will absolutely want to!
How to Celebrate National Soul Food Month
Get on board with enjoying and celebrating National Soul Food Month in June by incorporating a variety of ideas, dishes and recipes into the regular repertoire. Try implementing some of these ideas:
Go Out for Soul Food
Head on over to a restaurant that specializes in soul food and order up a variety of delicious dishes! Not sure what to order? The server or manager should be happy to provide a bit of National Soul Food Month education for those who are interested in learning more about this cuisine. Try ordering some more common dishes, like cornbread and baked mac & cheese, or get more adventurous and check out collard greens, southern black eyed peas or mustard greens. Whatever it is, it’s bound to be absolutely delicious!
Take a Road Trip for Soul Food
Soul food might be a bit difficult to find in certain areas of the USA, so it might be fun to plan a road trip in advance. Since the Culinary Historians of Chicago are responsible for the day, perhaps it would be fun to head up to Chicago for a taste of some yummy dishes on National Soul Food Day.
Or, head down south, where soul food really got its start. Try Louisiana, Tennessee, or Mississippi. New York’s Harlem wouldn’t be a bad place to find some amazing soul food either!
Try Cooking Some Soul Food
Comfort food is the name of the game when it comes to cooking southern soul food. National Soul Food Month provides thirty separate days to try out a new recipe that will keep the family coming back for seconds! Find a whole host of new soul food recipes online that can be tried out with ease.