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African American Soul Food

African American Soul Food or Soul food refers to a selection of foods traditionally prepared by African Americans. Soul food recipes are closely related to Southern Style cooking from the United States. Soul food cooking was developed by the African slaves of the southern states of America. Hoppin’ John, Country fried steak, and pickled pig’s feet are some of the popular dishes that make up African American Soul food.

Ingredients used in Soul Food Recipes

Since, African American Soul food evolved in the kitchens of African slaves from the Southern states of the US, most Soul food recipes include the meager ingredients that were available to the slave and sharecropper black families. Less desirable cuts of meat, offal, poultry giblet, locally available fish, local and wild vegetables, black eyed peas, and other such inexpensive ingredients form the basis of Soul food cooking. Also, fats like lard and tallow being readily available, fried meat was and still is a staple of African American Soul food.

Dietary Routine Based on Soul Food Recipes

During the days of slavery, women were often overworked and too tired to make full meals. Hence, most African American Soul food consists of one pot meals. Even today, the contemporary soul food cooking practiced by many African American families consists of such easy recipes.

A typical Soul food based meal would consist of one pot meals prepared using soul food recipes for Red Beans, Collard Green, Gumbo, Brown Beans, and Fried Bologna served with rice, corn bread, or corn meal mush. Desserts served at African American Soul food based meals are usually quite simple and may include local fruits and berries or a jelly pudding. However, on festive occasions like Kwanzaa, special desserts like cheese or pecan pie, caramel cake, or chocolate fudge may be prepared.

Soul Food Trivia

Since, before Emancipation, it was illegal for the slaves to read and write, most of the recipes were passed down orally through the generations. The first African American Soul food cook book was published in 1881 by Abby Fisher.