Soul food has been around for a very long time. It was the original cuisine of slaves and their masters back in Africa. It is southern cuisine that developed out of the Black communities in the United States and throughout the rest of the world. Soul food recipes and food are known to be some of the oldest recipes in history. This southern cuisine has its roots from simple foods and ingredients that have been passed down from generation to generation.
In the olden days, soul foods were simple and very simple. This is because early Americans were forced to eat very little, if anything, in order to survive. Because of this, these traditional recipes developed to make do without so many ingredients that are usually found in soul foods today.
These simple southern dishes often had vegetables and meat as the primary ingredients. Most vegetables were considered taboo, like spinach, cauliflower, onion, and garlic. In fact, vegetables were almost completely shunned in the beginning of the last century. Traditional recipes would include corn, beans, rice or other grains as side dishes or served with a southern dish.
Back in the day, soul foods did not have a variety of dishes. People would have one style of gumbo or fried chicken and then go with another for lunch and dinner. They didn’t have fancy restaurants that they could visit for lunch and dinner. This was one reason why home remedies were used for indigestion as well as for home healthy living.
The most common item in this southern cuisine was ham hocks or fatback. Fatback was typically eaten on top of a pot of jalapeno or red or green peppers. The other main ingredient of soul food was always something cooked in a pig’s stomach. This would include all sorts of dishes including collard greens, onions, peas and beans, okra or black beans, corn, and even candied pecans.
Another big change in soul food cooking came about when spices became more widely used. After the Spanish explorers brought large chili peppers with them, many people started combining different types of spices to create new flavors. For example, instead of using just cayenne pepper, which is the main ingredient in today’s famous spicy dishes, people started adding red pepper flakes and then black pepper. Black pepper gives this popular southern cuisine a hint of spiciness without being too hot on the tongue. Today, you will find cayenne pepper in many soul food recipes and is used to give food a smoky flavor.
In addition to the main staples, many of the dishes in this southern cuisine are made with vegetable stock. This is usually made by boiling vegetables in water with various seasonings. This stock is often used in a soup or stew and is sometimes used as a base for cornbread, biscuits and corn chips. There have been many changes to the way that this stock is used, but one of the most popular is the use of vegetable fat to cook the stock.
Deep fried foods are a big part of the soul food tradition as well. The earliest deep fried chicken was created around the same time as the first cornbread kitchen, and these were often served as a special holiday meal. Other popular choices for deep fried foods include shrimp, fish, hamburgers and hot dogs. You will also find various versions of cornbread and jello doughnuts being eaten during the festivities. There is no doubt that this popular southern cuisine has evolved over the years, but the classic dishes are still being enjoyed today.