Well to begin with, soul food comes from within. It is a particular style of cooking which gains its roots from the deep American South, when Black folks were enslaved. Given the ‘left over scraps’, the slaves didn’t complain about what they got ; they just got on with cookin’ up some of the tastiest food in giant seasoned cast iron pots.


Traditionally their rations consisted of corn, bacon or salt pork, molasses, flour, seasonal fruits and vegetables. With these few items a variety of wholesome dishes were created. Black people learnt how to use everything ; nothing was wasted. If the master ate the leg of pork, the slaves enjoyed a succulent pig’s foot, and the delicious innards of the pig, the intestines, commonly known as chit’lin’s (my favourite).

These dishes along with many others were passed down from generation to generation. So too was the sheer pride in knowing how to live off the land and the ability to hunt. Slaves weren’t allowed to bear arms, so they developed the skills to hunt. If it moved they caught it. Squirrels, racoons, rabbits, and an assortment of wild birds, chickens, turkeys, ground hogs, and even the occasional bear. They would plant the fields with whatever seeds were made available to them. They learnt how to use what many people would regard as weeds, using the tops from many root vegetables.

Now while all this creative cooking was happening, there was an awful lot of singing and dancing going on. Mostly spiritual singing from the soul, asking the Lord to set them free and give them the strength to endure their entrapment. Although most of the music was gospel there was also a lot of jiggin’ going on, with a jazzy and blues feeling to their songs.

As the years went by this blues sound was evolved into what we now call soul music. Music sung from the soul to accompany our food…Soul Food.