Day one: Last-minute shopping

IMG_3092Don’t worry – I’ll help you get it all under control. For the next few days, I’m going to give you great gift ideas for food fans that you can grab locally.

I’m going to start with a book that’s educational and delicious, and will upend your thoughts about a well-known type of food. If you think you know all about soul food, read “Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine” by Adrian Miller (University of North Carolina Press, $30). You’ll realize just how little you knew before reading this well-researched and entertainingly written book.

Miller, a lawyer-turned-food-historian that I met through the Southern Foodways Alliance, deftly digs into the roots of African American food and offers thoughtful commentary on soul food’s place at the table. No stereotyping here. And I had no idea that red Kool-Aid possessed such significance.

Miller also addresses the changing nature and definition of the cuisine, as cooks adapt it to new tastes and nutritional issues, while expressing the hope that “soul food can keep its flavor without losing its soul”

This is not a cookbook, but it does contain 22 tested recipes that bring important parts of the story into the kitchen. Give this book to anyone who wants to know more about the culture and roots of an important cuisine.

 

 

 


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