Living By Sweet Potatoes Alone

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“If the human being is viewed merely as a physiological object, it is impossible to produce a coherent understanding of diet. When bits and pieces of information are collected and brought together in confusion, the result is an imperfect diet which draws away from nature.” -Masanobu Fukuoka, “Living By Bread Alone”

 In an excerpt from his book The One-Straw Revolution titled “Living By Bread Alone”, Masanobu Fukuoka describes the nutritious fare of farmers past in the Japan area: rice, barley, miso, and pickled vegetables. “This diet gave long life, a strong constitution, and good health,” Fukuoka exalts (139). But a diet with four staple ingredients is very different from the Western relationship with food today, when we walk down grocery aisles that have not only a million options, but a million options for the same product. But while we have been raised on the values of full, varied grocery carts and eating a “well-balanced diet,” Fukuoka rejects this logic on the basis of two claims (140). Continue reading

“Hearty Soul Food:” Healthy Pan-Fried Grit-Cakes

“Rather than portray the complexity of this cuisine and its changes throughout the late 19th and 20th centuries, many writers played up its more exotic aspects (i.e., animal entrails) and simply famed the cuisine as a remnant of poverty-driven antebellum survival food.”

Bryant Terry

grit cakes

In Bryant Terry’s article “Reclaiming True Grits,” he claims that, in the past several decades, soul food has become synonymous with comfort food—fried chicken glistening with grease; starchy, creamy macaroni and cheese; and, of course, grits, typically instant—and many in the African American community are suffering for it. However, this soul food, the sort romanticized by food writers, is not the soul food of tradition, but what Terry calls “instant soul food” and “a dishonest representation of African American cuisine.” It’s the food you find on a Cracker Barrel plate, not a traditional Southern meal. Continue reading