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Soul food, an african american legacy

Soul kitchen or soul food dishes are truly part of the American gastronomic culture. Let us discover together this culinary tradition inherited from the African slaves diet during the slavery period.

The term “soul food” appeared in the 1960s in the United States to describe the typical cuisine of African-Americans from the southern states of the country. It’s a mix of African specialities, imported by the slaves, and the diet imposed on them by their masters. Thus, in addition to vegetables and cereals of African origin – such as cassava, sweet potato, plantain, okra, maize, sorghum, etc. – that they managed to plant, the slaves used to content themselves with cattle offal – the only pieces of meat available to them. This is why guts, pigs feet and oxtail are classics of this gastronomy. Other popular dishes were made with crustaceans which the slaves managed to hunt or fish.

Evolutionary cuisine
Renowned spicy, very caloric and flavored, soul food has evolved over the centuries, enriching itself with the passage of other contributions, including Amerindian culinary traditions.

Today, it is regularly criticized for the systematic use of animal fats and the omnipresence of frying. Practices and techniques that are deemed harmful to health and incompatible with a balanced diet. However, it is not impossible to adapt certain recipes (event if it meansbetraying the original flavors) by using, for example, vegetable oils (healthier than animal fats) for frying, white meat rather than red meat, as well as soy or tofu substitutes. One can even increase the nutritional value and vitalizing potential by adding superfoods… A pinch of moringa leaf powder just before serving and you’re done!

Françoise Diboussi

ME Editor

Françoise Diboussi

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