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lindagray

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  1. 1. Fried Chicken Image via Flickr/stu_spivack Fried chicken is one of the most glorious things ever created. It's one of the few foods that could be served for Sunday dinner, at church functions, or for other special occasions. Though it is beloved by many cultures, there are several bones of contention as to exactly who should get credit for inventing this dish. Whether it was a cook in West Africa, Western Europe, or Southeast Asia, fried chicken has become an African-American favorite. Classically fried in a cast
  2. 4. Peach Cobbler Image via Adrian Miller Peach cobbler can thank technology, in part, for its elevated status over other soul-food desserts. Cobblers were once a seasonal fruit dessert only enjoyed during late spring and the summer months. It typically was made in a large cast-iron pot set over a fire. The pot was filled with any available fruit, some additional sweetener, and some spices, and then the entire thing was topped with a crust made from leftover
  3. 7. Cornbread Image via Getty/Tom Williams There was a time when cornbread was so essential to a soul-food meal that certain foods like greens wouldn't be served unless cornbread was present. Cornbread is just one example of the influence that indigenous people in the Americas have on this cuisine. In addition to making traditional Native American corn-based breads like pone (later called hoe cake), enslaved Africans made familiar breads from West Africa usi
  4. 10. Chitlins Image via Yelp/Jerome G. Without a doubt, chitlins (a.k.a. chitterlings) are the most controversial choice for this list, since they are the most divisive and misunderstood item on the soul-food plate. People either love them or hate them (count me on the "love" side) because of what they are (usually pig's intestines), or because of how they smell when being cleaned, cooked, or eaten. Regardless of the intense feelings, it's undeniable that ch
  5. Soul food prepared traditionally and consumed in large amounts can be detrimental to one's health. Opponents to soul food have been vocal about health concerns surrounding the culinary traditions since the name was coined in the mid-twentieth century. Soul food has been criticized for its high starch, fat, sodium, cholesterol, and caloric content, as well as the inexpensive and often low-quality nature of the ingredients such as salted pork and cornmeal. In light of this, soul food has been implicated by some in the disproportionately high rates of high blood pressure (hypertension), type 2 di
  6. Soul food originated in the southern region of the US and is consumed by African-Americans across the nation. Traditional soul food cooking is seen as one of the ways enslaved Africans passed their traditions to their descendants once they were brought to the US, and is a cultural creation stemming from slavery and Native American and European influences. Recipes considered soul food are popular in the South due to the accessibility and affordability of the ingredients, as well as the proximity that African-Americans and white Americans maintained during periods of slavery and reconstruction.
  7. Because it was illegal in many states for slaves to learn to read or write, soul food recipes and cooking techniques tended to be passed along orally, until after emancipation. The first soul food cookbook is attributed to Abby Fisher, entitled What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking and published in 1881. Good Things to Eat was published in 1911; the author, Rufus Estes, was a former slave who worked for the Pullman railway car service. Many other cookbooks were written by Black Americans during that time, but as they were not widely distributed, most are now lost. Since the mi
  8. Scholars have noted the substantial African influence found in soul food recipes, especially from the West and Central regions of Africa. This influence can be seen through the heat level of many soul food dishes, as well as many ingredients found within them. Peppers used to add spice to food included malagueta pepper, as well as peppers native to the western hemisphere such as red (cayenne) peppers. Several foods that are essential in southern cuisine and soul food were domesticated or consumed in the African savanna and the tropical regions of West and Central Africa. These include pigeon p
  9. Southern Native American culture (Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Seminole) is an important element of Southern cuisine. From their cultures came one of the main staples of the Southern diet: corn (maize) – either ground into meal or limed with an alkaline salt to make hominy, in a Native American process known as nixtamalization. Corn was used to make all kinds of dishes, from the familiar cornbread and grits, to liquors such as moonshine and whiskey (which are still important to the Southern economy). Many fruits are available in this region: blackberries, muscadines, raspberries,
  10. The term soul food became popular in the 1960s and 1970s in the midst of the Black Power movement. One of the earliest written uses of the term is found in The Autobiography of Malcolm X, which was published in 1965. LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka) published an article entitled "Soul Food" and was one of the key proponents for establishing the food as a part of the Black American identity. Those who had participated in the Great Migration found within soul food a reminder of the home and family they had left behind after moving to unfamiliar northern cities. Soul food restaurants were Black-owned b
  11. Soul food is an ethnic cuisine traditionally prepared and eaten by African Americans in the Southern United States. The cuisine originated with the foods that were given to enslaved West Africans on southern plantations during the American colonial period; however, it was strongly influenced by the traditional practices of West Africans and Native Americans from its inception. Due to the historical presence of African Americans in the region, soul food is closely associated with the cuisine of the American South although today it has become an easily-identifiable and celebrated aspect of main
  12. 23. DON'T CALL US DEAD // DANEZ SMITH Don’t Call Us Dead is a cathartic series of poems that imagine an afterlife where black men can fully be themselves. Danez Smith's poignant words take heartbreaking imagery of violence against the bodies of black men and juxtapose it with scenes of a new plane, one that is much better than the existence those men lived before. Upon arrival, it's a celebration, as men and boys are embraced by their fellow brothers and are able to truly experience being "alive." Smith's prose sticks, and you will think more deeply about the delicacy of life and deat
  13. 20. THE HATE U GIVE // ANGIE THOMAS Angie Thomas is part of a new crop of African-American authors bringing fresh new storytelling to bookshelves near you. Her 2017 debut young adult novel, The Hate U Give, was inspired by the protests of the Black Lives Matter movement. It follows Starr Carter, a 16-year-old who has witnessed the police-involved shooting of her best friend Khalil. The book, which topped the New York Times bestseller chart, is a timely fictional tale that humanizes the voices behind one of the largest movements of present times. 21. NOT WITHOUT LAUGHTER // LANGST
  14. 17. I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS // MAYA ANGELOU If you're going to read anything by the late, great, prophetic poet Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings should be at the top of your list. It provides an in-depth look at the obstacles that shaped her early life. Angelou's childhood and teenage years were nomadic, as her separated parents moved her and her brother from rural Arkansas to St. Louis, Missouri, and eventually to California, where at different times she lived in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Oakland. Besides the blatant racism she saw unfold around her in the
  15. 14. BROWN GIRL DREAMING // JACQUELINE WOODSON Jacqueline Woodson's children's books and YA novels are inspired by her desire to highlight the lives of communities of color—narratives she felt were missing from the literary landscape. In her 2014 National Book Award-winning autobiography, Brown Girl Dreaming, Woodson uses her own childhood story in verse form to fill those voids in representation. The author came of age during the Civil Rights Movement and, subsequently, the Black Power Movement, and lived between the laid-back lifestyle of South Carolina and the fast-paced New York Ci
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