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Soul Food - Essay Example

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Soul food is what is often referred to as a type of cultural cuisine which has its origins and roots in the indigenous African-American people of the southern regions of the United States. Through transfer and migration to the northern parts of America, "soul food" is also a part of the regional diets of African-Americans across the nation, as it was handed down from the African peoples who fed many generations with this variation on southern cooking…
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Soul Food
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Download file to see previous pages hered steak; macaroni and cheese; egg custard; bread pudding; sweet potato pie; peach cobbler; pound cake; blackberry cobbler; Red Velvet cake; banana pudding; fried chicken; baked hen and cornbread dressing; okra, corn and tomatoes; and fried corn and fried okra, as well as fried green tomatoes, amongst hundreds of other variations of recipes using different meats, fruits and vegetables.
Soul food, as we now know it, actually came from a combination of foods grown and raised in America coupled with an African and Native American "spin" on the style and methods of cooking. Much of this food was derived from the leftovers from the plates and tables of plantation owners in the south. For instance, slaves who prepared foods for the master's table had to prepare the "better" parts of a ham or chicken for the big house and often found themselves eating the parts of the animal that the master and his family and guests did not care to eat, such as the guts, skin, feet, neck and "cock's comb." The slaves has to find ways to improvise on what was given to them, so they found ways to dress it up and make it taste good.
While it is true that much of soul food was prepared from poorer quality foods that were essentially "throw-outs" given to slaves (in much the same manner as the slaves would "slop" a hog or feed a dog by giving it table scraps), over time the quality got better. These days, soul food is made from much higher quality meats, as well as fresher produce, than the times in which it was derived.
Methods of preparation
African-Americans, just as did many white settlers, adapted much of their food prep and cooking methods from Native American tribes, particularly the Cherokee. Cooking in large community pots and digging pits for underground overnight roasting of pigs are still common ways of cooking for larger crowds in the Deep South. Also adapted were many methods of canning and preserving foods for the long hard winters when little was available, this is how "pickling" and jar foods came into existence.[1] Other methods, such as soaking, basting, and marinating different foods for flavoring also came from the Native Americans; however, it is important to remember that Africans imported to America from the Motherland did not routinely eat raw foods. African people were traditionally taught as youth the importance of using moist heat to keep meats tender and juicy, and of using many different kinds of spices or rubs to enhance the coloring and flavor on what may have been otherwise considered as "bland" unappetizing foods.
The Culture of Soul Food Cooking
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