Every group or community of people residing in any location they have decided to call home have certain food types that they refer to as traditional delicacies and by traditional delicacies, I mean food types that are unique to them. Are you African American? Have you ever wondered if the African American community have traditional delicacies? Have you had such thoughts or similar thoughts? In today’s article, we’ll be looking at the type of food that African Americans identify as traditional African American food.
The census done in 2000 revealed that there were more than 34 million African Americans which made up about 13% of the American population residing in the US. At the time, their population was small, still, that small population was able to influence the American cuisine because their food was flavourful and diverse. The majority of all traditional African American foods come straight from the garden. In their delicacies, you’ll find veggies like cabbage, pepper, tomatoes, okra, collards, dandelion, turnip greens, and mustard.
The question still remains “what variety of food do the African Americans identify as traditional African American food?” The answer is the Soul Food.
The term “soul food” started in the mid-1960s when the word “soul” was used to describe or refer to the African American culture.
Soul food is an ethnic cuisine that is known to be traditionally prepared and eaten by African Americans. History has it that this particular food style or type originated from the Southern United States. In the past, Soul Food was closely associated with the cuisine of the American South but today, it’s a well known and celebrated aspect of the mainstream American food culture.
Soul Food uses many ingredients and cooking styles, some of which came from Africa, brought over by the captured Africans, some were borrowed from the Native American cuisine, and the others came from Europe.
The typical soul food dinner contains some freshly baked cornbread, some greens, and some southern deep-fried chicken. Depending on the style of the cook, some even add green beans and ham or bacon mixed in, black-eyed peas, fried okra, beans turnip greens and could top it up with some homemade macaroni and cheese.
Do you know that all soul foods are southern but not all southern dishes can be considered soul food? Confusing right? Even though soul food can be considered as a southern delicacy, it does have some differences and as such, other food types in the south cannot be called soul food. How can you tell? Many common soul food flavours are usually more intense and are quite similar to the Cajun foods in the southern part of the US. Most of their foods are sweeter, saltier, and even spicier than specific southern dishes.
There are three types of soul food dinners namely: Down home, Upscale soul foods, and Vegetables.
The first type of soul food dinner is the down home healthy which consists majorly of items in margarine or vegetable oils.
Upscale soul foods
Unlike the Down home healthy type of soul food dinner, the Upscale soul foods are more extravagant and as such, they contain vegetables, heritage meats, and the inclusion or the use of duck fat.
This food type represents all the vegan-based dishes. Many of the dishes in this category contain veggies such as turnip greens, okra, collard greens, etc.