352 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 16 halftones, 1 line drawing, 4 maps, 22 recipes, 11 sidebars, notes, bibl., index
The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time
Honor Book for Nonfiction, Black Caucus of the American Library Association
In this insightful and eclectic history, Adrian Miller delves into the influences, ingredients, and innovations that make up the soul food tradition. Focusing each chapter on the culinary and social history of one dish--such as fried chicken, chitlins, yams, greens, and "red drinks"--Miller uncovers how it got on the soul food plate and what it means for African American culture and identity.
Miller argues that the story is more complex and surprising than commonly thought. Four centuries in the making, and fusing European, Native American, and West African cuisines, soul food--in all its fried, pork-infused, and sugary glory--is but one aspect of African American culinary heritage. Miller discusses how soul food has become incorporated into American culture and explores its connections to identity politics, bad health raps, and healthier alternatives. This refreshing look at one of America's most celebrated, mythologized, and maligned cuisines is enriched by spirited sidebars, photographs, and 22 recipes.
"An engaging, tradition-rich look at an often overlooked American cuisine--certainly to be of interest to foodies from all walks of life."
--Kirkus starred review
"[A] fascinating look at the cuisine known as soul food and its close cousin, southern cuisine. . . . Photographs and recipes add to the allure of this well-researched look at the past and future of soul food."
--Booklist Starred Review
"[A] comprehensive and entertaining history of soul food. . . . A lively and thorough account for fans of food literature and of African American history. Recipes included. Highly recommended."
"Focusing each chapter on the culinary and social history of one dish--such as fried chicken, chitlins, yams, greens and 'red drinks'--Miller uncovers how it got on the soul food plate and what it means for African-American culture and identity."
--The Philadelphia Tribune
"A wonderful combination of sociological examination of African-American culture and identity, travelogue and cookbook. . . . It's exactly this combination of earnest curiosity and an unwillingness to take his topic too seriously that makes Soul Food such a great read. . . . I highly recommend this book!"
"Miller moves way past common notions about soul food to offer a fascinating look at the cuisine and its close cousin, southern cooking."
--Booklist Top 10 Food Books of 2013
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