This is one of the first books I read on African American cooking and culture and I still highly recommend it. While I think some readers find that covering American foodways and race relations in the same discussion can be awkward at best, Mr. Miller discusses his chosen topics thoroughly, directly, and with amazing cultural breadth. The results of which direct the reader along two main themes: that African American cooking is American cooking at it's core and that Americans are all connected by our shared communities, history, and by the foods we eat.
From the Publisher:
2014 James Beard Foundation Book Award, Reference and Scholarship
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, catfish, chitlins, greens, black-eyed peas, macaroni and cheese, cornbread, hot sauce, banana pudding, peach cobbler, pound cake, sweet potato pie, 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 twenty-two recipes.
About the Author:
AdrianMiller is a food writer, attorney and certified barbecue judge who lives in Denver, CO. Adrian received an A.B. in International Relations from Stanford University in 1991, and a J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1995. He is currently the executive director of the Colorado Council of Churches and, as such, is the first African American and the first layperson to hold that position. Miller previously served as a special assistant to President Bill Clinton with his Initiative for One America--the first free-standing office in the White House to address issues of racial, religious and ethnic reconciliation and a senior policy analyst for Colorado governor Bill Ritter Jr.. He has also been a board member of the Southern Foodways Alliance. Miller's first book, SoulFood: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time won the James Beard Foundation Award for Scholarship and Reference in 2014. His second book, The President's Kitchen Cabinet: The Story of the Africa Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, From the Washingtons to the Obamas was published on President's Day, 2017.
In 2018, Adrian was awarded the Ruth Fertel "Keeper of the Flame Award" by the Southern Foodways Alliance in recognition of his work on African American foodways. In 2019, Adrian received the Judge Henry N. and Helen T. Graven award from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, for being "an outstanding layperson whose life is nurtured and guided by a strong sense of Christian calling and who is making a significant contribution to community, church, and our society." Adrian is currently working on a history of African American barbecue, tentatively titled Black Smoke.
Release Date: Feb 2017