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Soul food

Soul food is an American cuisine, a selection of foods, and is the traditional cuisine of African-Americans of the Southern United States and of black communities beyond. In the mid-1960s, "soul" was a common adjective used to describe black culture, and thus the name "soul food" was derived.

The term soul food became popular in the 1960s, when the word soul became used in connection with most things African American. The origins of soul food, however, are much older and can be traced back to Africa. Many culinary historians believe that in the beginning of the 14th century, around the time of early African exploration, European explorers brought their own food supplies and introduced them into the African diet. Foods such as turnips from Morocco and cabbage from Spain would play an important part in the history of African American cuisine.

When the European slave trade began in the early 1400s, the diet of newly enslaved Africans changed on the long journeys from their homeland. It was during this time that some of the indigenous crops of Africa began showing up in the slaves' new home in the Americas.

As slaves, African Americans would "make do" with the ingredients at hand. The fresh vegetables found in Africa were replaced by the throwaway foods from the plantation house. Their vegetables were the tops of turnips and beets and dandelions. Soon they were cooking with new types of greens: collards, kale, cress, mustard, and pokeweed. African American slaves also developed recipes which used discarded meat from the plantation, such as pig’s feet, beef tongue or tail, ham hocks, chitterlings (pig small intestines), pig ears, hog jowls, tripe and skin. Cooks added onions, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf to enhance the flavors. Many African Americans depended on catching their own meat, and wild game such as raccoon, opossum, turtle, and rabbit was, until the 1950s, very popular fare on the African American table.


The article above is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Soul food".