“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

Finding Comfort in the Culinary

enchilada plate

Cheese Enchiladas with Spanish Rice

“When disaster struck, it didn’t surprise me that the people of New Orleans yearned more than ever for that taste of home…”

––Amy Cyrex Sins

After the floods caused by Hurricane Katrina, New Orleanian Amy Cyrex Sins was left with a deep sense of loss from both her destroyed home and, more poignantly, her devastated recipe collection. In her essay, “Doberge Cake after Katrina,” Sins longingly reminisces about such family classics as cheesy “Birthday Chicken” and, of course, “light, fluffy, and moist” Doberge Cake (45). Sins goes into detail about the specific foods and memories of her hometown, but she is ultimately writing about the same hunger we all feel when we are away from home and can’t find comfort on our foreign plates. Continue reading