Books: Cooking by Cuisine -> Cooking American
Soul Food : Recipes and Reflections from African-American Churches
Published: February 11, 1998
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From Publishers Weekly
Intended to please a congregation of palates, these church-supper recipes possess a simplicity that suits the accompanying stories about their contributors. After sending forth a call for Sunday favorites to churchgoing folk in
cities big and small, White, a freelance food writer, received scores of letters from Harlem and Tyler, Tex., and Biloxi, Miss., and Detroit. The responses embrace a range of dishes suitable for kettles, warming trays and big-handled spoons: Pineapple
Cornbread; Fried Green Okra; Baked Chicken and Gravy; Salmon Croquettes; Love-Glazed (pineapple juice and brown sugar) Ham; Hush Puppies. Paprika is fairly ubiquitous; a cup of ketchup features in both Barbecued Shrimp and Neat Meatloaf. In the
narratives accompanying these 150 recipes, the cooks are presented as busy, generous, hard-working and religiously devoted. One is "a poet, Sunday school teacher, legal secretary and meeting planner." Of another White wonders how she "has time to cook,
considering the wide array of church activities and community projects that she is involved in." The book is more notable for its cultural trimmings than for its recipes. Some readers may find themselves longing for the company of just one lazy sinner
with a booty of Italian sausage.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
When Joyce White moved to New York City from Alabama, she left small-town life behind and landed ajob as a food editor at a major women's
magazine. Weekends, however, found her visiting churches in Harlem and Bedford-Stuyvestant, looking for a taste of home. Food has long been a part of the spiritual life of African-American churches, and what she found there, along with what she missed
from home, was the comforting blend of cooking and fellowship that feeds both the body and soul.
In this warm and joyful collection, White offers more than 150 recipes for the foods that worshipers look forward to after services, and she captures
the spirit of these sociable meals with warm, conversational and occasionally poignant reflections from African-American churchgoers around the United States.
"We don't just come to church service and leave," says a retired nurse who directs
hospitality for a large church in Los Angeles. "Many of us stay here half the day. That way we get a chance to rub shoulders and see what is going on or going wrong with each other."
From delicious renditions of classics such as Sugar-Crusted
Biscuits to updated favorites such as Black Beans with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, as well as special fare for entertaining and Kwaanza, the pages of Soul Food are alive with the spirit and love of African-American churches -- and the terrific food to be found
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