Many Americans believe that soul food originated in the United States. But, many culinary historians believe that European explorers introduced Africans to it. Foods such as corn, turnips, and cabbage are popular. These foods and others would later become an important part of African-American cooking. When European slavemasters brought African slaves to America, they fed them cheap foods such as beets, dandelions, and others. The first group of Africans arrived in Jamestown, Virginia in 1619. The slavemasters would feed the Africans food that they found to be undesirable. The slaves would experiment with these leftovers and invented some delicious foods and recipes. For example, fufu is made with vegetables and pounded yams. This dish could be served with roasted meat, stew, or soup. They were also masters at grilling, boiling, and steaming foods. They often barbecued their food on grills. Cucumbers, onions, and garlic are also of African origin. Oranges and wild lemons also originated in Africa.

The slaves would often work 16-18 hour days. Women would come home and prepare meals for their families. When preparing dinner, they used their taste buds to determine satisfactory taste. They would share recipes with each other. Slaves passed them down to their children and grandchildren. They were self-taught cooks. When slavery ended in 1865, these recipes became an inexpensive way to feed their families.

This is a cuisine that celebrates African-American culture. It is a term used to honor African-American cooks of the past and present. It is also known as comfort food. It is widely celebrated, especially in the southern United States. Soul food includes the frying of pork chops, fish, chicken, and shrimp. Desserts include sweet potato pie, peach cobbler, pecan pie, and layer cakes. For special occasions such as weddings and family reunions, you can almost be assured that African-Americans will be celebrating with some of these dishes. African-American cuisine was renamed "soul food" during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960's. It was a source of black pride and during this period, these restaurants were established all over America. They employed black people and improved the economy of African-American communities.

I personally love cabbage. I can eat a pot full of it by myself and it is low in fat and healthy. I also like collard greens and chitterlings. To me, they are even better with some cornbread and some sweet potato pie for dessert. When I eat chitterlings, I like to add hot sauce to them and the flavor is delicious! Macaroni and cheese with meatloaf is also a good combination meal.

Today, soul food is still a big celebration of African-American culture. Americans from all walks of life enjoy this comfort food. The African slaves made a big contribution to American culture and their legacy lives on.

Down Home with the Neelys: A Southern Family Cookbook
Amazon Price: $28.95 $2.38 Buy Now
(price as of Mar 12, 2016)
The New Soul Food Cookbook for People with Diabetes
Amazon Price: $14.95 $7.84 Buy Now
(price as of Mar 12, 2016)