What Is Soul Food Cooking?

Soul Food Cooking – Everyone’s Comfort Food

Have you just been feeling miserable lately? Have you been longing for some food that makes your tummy feel all warm and satisfied? If so, the cure may lie in soul food.

Soul Food Cooking

Soul food cooking started in the 1960s. It started with African Americans during the Black Nationalism movement. They wanted to reclaim their culture in America, and soul just seemed the best name for it. With everyone walking around calling each other soul sister, soul brother, and loving the African American music often known as soul music, soul food just seemed like the natural fit.

Some will say that the first person to use the term soul food cooking was Amiri Baraka in 1962. It was during this year that “the Queen of Soul Food” Sylvia Woods opened up her famous soul food restaurant.

Soul Food Cooking


Soul Food Cooking: What Is It?

Soul food cooking is homemade food with African American roots. When you think of rich, creamy macaroni cheese, its origins come from soul food cooking. When you think of crunchy, juicy fried chicken that makes your mouth water, you are thinking about soul food cooking.

Here is a list of soul food:

  • Green beans
  • Collard greens
  • Cornbread
  • Hush puppies
  • Johnnycakes
  • Pork
  • Fried fish
  • Pigs feet
  • Ham hocks
  • Pig ears
  • Chitlins
  • Hog jowl
  • Sweet tea


Soul Food or Southern Food

Many people think of the south when they think of soul food. However, soul food cooking is a bit different from southern food. Soul food cooking is something the African Americans of the United States have made all their own. Southern food is from the Caucasians in the United States.

When slavery began, those who were sold from Africa and brought to the United States, also brought with them soul food cooking. They made it for their masters, and others living there, and it instantly became a hit.

However, since they were slaves, they were not free. This meant the recipes remained within the household that each slave lived in.

Upon the end of slavery, African American women were not only free to do whatever they chose to do with their life, but they also were able to start cooking for everyone. They were able to open restaurants, share recipes with others, and really make a name for themselves in soul food cooking.

It was a great feeling for African American women back then. They finally were able to deliver the delicious food from their youth to their children. And from that, their culture could repair, renew and live on for many generations.

Today, soul food cooking is popular in many African American households. Families come together for a great feast during special holidays. It really connects families, and reminds them of their roots.

If you’re ever in a place that has a restaurant serving African American soul food cooking, give it a try. You will instantly understand why they love it so much, and why people reach for it in times of distress. It’s the ultimate comfort food.

Where to Find Soul Food

You can find many places that serve soul food cookingin New York City, Atlanta, Chicago and many other places that have a high population of African American. Some of the places you might want to check out include:

Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles in Pheonix, Arizona

Nellie’s Soulfood Restaurant & Bar in Oakland, California

Manna’s Soul Food in Harlem, New York

The Five Spot in Brooklyn, New York

Mississippi Rick’s in Chicago, Illinois

Don’t forget the most popular of them all – Sylvia’s Harlem Restaurant

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Soul food queen, Dancing Queens

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