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lindagray

Cornbread, Fried Fish & Red Drink

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  • 7. Cornbread

    corn-bread
    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 using cornmeal as a substitute. Soul-food cornbread is distinguished from southern cornbread by the fact that it always has some sugar in it. Some misguided souls believe this transforms soulful cornbread into cake. No matter. Whether it's hot water cornbread, Jiffy mix, or spoonbread (a cornbread soufflé), cornbread is the staff of soul-food life.

  • 6. Fried Fish

    fried-fish
    Image via Getty/The Washington Post

    Traditionally, West Africans made seafood their protein of choice, and African Americans have carried on that culinary tradition. Even during slavery, the weekend fish-fry was a much anticipated event. On a typical plantation, the field work schedule stopped by noon on Saturday, and the enslaved spent the rest of the day doing chores and food-gathering activities like fishing. Catfish gets the most press these days, but any number of fish would be gobbled up depending on what was available: buffalo, mullet, perch, porgy, and whiting, to name just a few. Frying was the preferred way to cook fish because it allowed the food to be enjoyed on the spot. This gives further proof to the old saying, "Fish should swim twice—once in water and once in grease."

  • 5. Red Drink

    red-drink
    Image via Yelp

    In soul-food culture, "red" is a color and a flavor. We don't get caught up in discerning whether or not something is cherry, has hints of cranberry, or is a tropical punch. It's just red. The enduring popularity of red drinks is a nod to two traditional red drinks—kola tea and hibiscus tea—that came to the Americas during the Atlantic Slave Trade. Red drink can take several forms, but it is often served as Kool-Aid or as a punch.

    firstwefeast.com

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