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Soul food
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Soul food

Soul food describes food traditionally eaten by African Americans of the Southern United States. The style of cooking originated during the time of slavery, when slaves were given only the "leftover" and "undesirable" cuts of meat (while the white slave owners got the meatiest cuts of ham, roasts, etc.), and only had the vegetables they grew themselves. Later, after slavery, many, being poor, could only afford the off-cuts of meat, along with offal, catfish, chickens they raised, and only certain vegetables.

Dishes or ingredients common in soul food include:

Soul food restaurants are mostly located in the South, but can also be found in major northern cities such as Chicago and Los Angeles and Washington, DC. With the exception of chitterlings (which are usually characteristic solely of African American cookery), the term soul food can also apply to white Southern cuisine.

Traditionally, as noted above, soul food is cooked and seasoned with pork products, and fried dishes are usually cooked with pork/animal fat (lard). Unfortunately, cooking with these ingredients often contributes to disproportionately high occurrences of obesity, hypertension, cardiac/circulatory problems and/or diabetes in African-Americans, often resulting in a shortened lifespan. More modern methods of cooking soul food include using healthier alternatives for frying (vegetable oil or canola oil) and cooking/stewing (smoked turkey instead of pork), none of which ingredients adversely affects the flavor -- or savor -- of the food.

See also