Soul Food
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"Soul food is an American cuisine, a selection of foods, and is the traditional cuisine of African Americans in the United States. It is closely related to the cuisine of the Southern United States. The descriptive terminology may have originated in the mid-1960s, when soul was a common definer used to describe black culture (for example, soul music)."

"The term soul food became popular in the 1960s, when the word soul became used in connection with African American culture. The origins of soul food, however, are much older and can be traced back to Africa. Foods such as rice, sorghum (known by Europeans as "guinea corn"), and okra — all common elements in West African cuisine — were introduced to the Americas as a result of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and became dietary staples among enslaved Africans. They also comprise an important part of American southern cooking. Many culinary historians believe that in the beginning of the 14th century, around the time of early African exploration, European explorers brought their own food supplies and introduced them into the African diet. Foods such as corn and cassava from the Americas, turnips from Morocco and cabbage from Portugal would play an important part in the history of African American cuisine."

When the European slave trade began in the early 1400s, the diet of newly enslaved Africans changed on the long journeys from their homeland. It was during this time that some of the indigenous crops of Africa began showing up in the Americas."

"Enslavers fed their captives as cheaply as possible, often with throwaway foods from the plantation, forcing slaves to make do with the ingredients at hand. In slave households, vegetables were the tops of turnips and beets and dandelions. Soon, slaves were cooking with new types of greens: collards, kale, cress, mustard, and pokeweed. They also developed recipes which used lard; cornmeal; and offal, discarded cuts of meat such as pigs' feet, oxtail, ham hocks, chitterlings (pig small intestines), pig ears, hog jowls, tripe and skin. Cooks added onions, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf to enhance the flavors. Some slaves supplemented their meager diets by maintaining small plots made available to them to grow their own vegetables, and many engaged in subsistence fishing and hunting, which yielded wild game for the table. Foods such as raccoon, squirrel, opossum, turtle, and rabbit were, until the 1950s, very common fare among the still predominantly rural and southern African American population."

Meats: A great example of soul food is a Traditional New Year's Day meal: black-eyed peas, ham hock, and pepper sauce

Barbecued ribs, rib tips
Chicken gizzards, batter-fried
Chitterlings ("chitlins") (the cleaned and prepared intestines of pigs, slow cooked and often eaten with               vinegar and hot sauce; sometimes parboiled, then battered and fried)
Country fried steak, also known as "chicken fried steak" (beef deep-fried with a crisp flour or batter coating,       usually served with white gravy)
Chicken livers
Cracklins (commonly known as pork rinds and sometimes added to cornbread batter, also eaten by other          cultures)
Fatback (fatty, cured, salted pork; used to season meats and vegetables)
Fried chicken (fried in grease with seasoned flour, eaten by southern Whites as well) or chicken in a basket
Fried fish (any of several varieties of fish—especially catfish, but also whiting, porgies, bluegills—dredged in      seasoned cornmeal and deep fried, eaten by southern Whites as well
Ham hocks (smoked, used to flavor vegetables and legumes)
Hoghead cheese (made primarily from pig snouts, lips, and ears, and frequently referred to as "souse meat"      or simply "souse", derived from European cooking techniques)
Pig ears
Hog maws (the muscular lining of the stomach of a pig - sliced and often cooked with chitterlings)
Hog jowls, (the cheek of a hog, which is usually cut into squares before being cured and smoked)
Neck bones
Oxtail soup (a soup or stew made from beef tails)
Pigs feet (slow cooked like chitterlings, sometimes pickled and, like chitterlings, often eaten with vinegar          and hot sauce)
Pork sausage and gravy
Pig tail stew

Vegetables: The beans, "greens" and other vegetables are offten cooked with ham or pork parts for flavor.

Black-eyed peas (cooked separately, or with rice as Hoppin' John)
Butter beans
Collard greens
Turnip greens
Green beans
Field peas(seasoned with pork)
Okra (vegetable eaten fried in cornmeal and flour or stewed, often with tomatoes, corn, onions and hot              peppers)
Succotash (originally a Native American dish of yellow corn, tomatoes, and butter beans, usually cooked in      butter)
Sweet potatoes (often parboiled, sliced and then baked, using sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter,                 commonly called "candied yams"

   * Biscuits (a shortbread similar to scones, commonly served with butter, jam, jelly, sorghum or cane syrup, or gravy; used to wipe up, or "sop," liquids from a dish)
   * Cornbread (a shortbread often baked in a skillet, commonly seasoned with bacon fat); a Native American contribution.
   * Hoecakes(a type of cornbread made of cornmeal, salt and water, which is very thin in texture, and fried in cooking oil in a skillet. It became known as "hoecake" because field hands often cooked it on a shovel or hoe held to an open flame)
   * Hushpuppies (balls of cornmeal deep-fried with salt and diced onions); slaves used them to "hush" their dogs yelping for food in their yards.
   * Sweet bread (bread with a certain sweetness, presumably from molasses)
   * Dumplings (homemade flat square noodles boiled with stewed chicken.
   * Waffles

   * Sweet potato pie (boiled, then pureed, seasoned and baked into pies—similar in taste and texture to pumpkin pie).
   * Rice pudding, with rice and corn-based vanilla pudding.
   * Red Velvet Cake - a popular cake within the African-American culture, in which some say the dark reddish color of the cake symbolizes the struggles of African-Americans during the decades.
   * Banana pudding
   * Peach cobbler

Other items
   * Chow-chow (a spicy, homemade pickle relish sometimes made with okra, corn, cabbage, hot peppers, green tomatoes and other vegetables; commonly used to top black-eyed peas and otherwise as a condiment and side dish)
   * Grits (or "hominy grits", made from processed, dried, ground corn kernels and usually eaten as a breakfast food the consistency of porridge; also served with fish and meat at dinnertime, similar to polenta)
   * Hot sauce (a condiment of cayenne peppers, vinegar, salt, garlic and other spices often used on chitterlings, fried chicken and fish including homemade or Texas Pete, Frank's, Tabasco, or Louisiana brand) A contribution from the Cajun people of Louisiana
   * Sorghum syrup (from sorghum, or "Guinea corn," a sweet grain indigenous to Africa introduced into the U.S. by African slaves in the early 17th century; see biscuits); frequently referred to as "sorghum molasses"
   * Macaroni and cheese

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses some material from Wikipedia/article  soulfood©/ and other related pages. Top Photo: chitlins

"chitterlings are often pronounced as chit'lins."