Celebrating Black History Foods With Soul (and BBQ)
Food is an integral part of every culture. It’s often the foundation of many traditions, making it part of a culture’s community and identity. This is why food is a great way to celebrate and even gain a better understanding of cultures you may not be familiar with. Black American culture and history is no exception, so in this article we’re talking about Black history foods like soul food and BBQ and their roots in Black history and American history as a whole. Because, like Congresswoman Yvette Clarke said, “We must never forget that Black history is American history.”
Black History Foods: The Roles of BBQ and Soul Food
Both soul food and BBQ are what can be considered “Black history foods” because they are closely tied with Black American culture. This is largely because Black Americans created and shaped it into what it is today. These food traditions were started by enslaved people, which is why they combine African tribal foods with European and American ingredients and techniques. As Christina Regelski puts it in U.S. History Scene’s The Soul of Food: Slavery’s Influence on Southern Cuisine, “ Southern food reminds Americans of this difficult past but it can also help us understand it and respect it.”
These foods essentially originated in Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama states that are known as the Deep South. Enslaved people were typically provided with very limited and restricted food rations that lacked quality and nutritional value. However, enslaved people were able to take these rations and preserve their traditional African recipes using their skill and ingenuity. Now, we know these dishes as soul food and they continue to preserve Black history. This history of struggle is also intertwined with BBQ’s history. Pigs became staple livestock in Southern colonies because they could be set loose in forests to eat if farmers couldn’t afford to feed them. However, this made pigs very lean when slaughtered, which is why the slow cooking method of barbecue was used to tenderize pork.
Staple foods include okra, greens, yams, black-eyed peas, and cornbread. Favorites like fried chicken, cakes, and pies, were added to these staples as Black Americans became sharecroppers and gained access to more resources. Soul food and BBQ evolved further during the Great Migration when the cultures and traditions of the Northern cities that Black Americans moved to influenced these dishes. This was when spaghetti, macaroni, and chili began to be included as part of soul food.
You can learn more about the history of soul food and BBQ here and here on our blog.
Felix’s BBQ With Soul Celebrates Black History Foods in Southern California
As a Black-owned restaurant, celebrating these Black history foods is important to us. We understand the importance of keeping these traditions going as well, which is why our mission is to provide quality BBQ and soul food as well as Southern hospitality.
Preserving this rich history is also why we’re dedicated to creating an authentic experience for every customer that visits any of our four locations. It’s why we take extra time to make our food with care and it’s why your food isn’t ready until you’ve ordered it. We know that barbecue fresh off the grill and warm, freshly made soul food can’t be compared to food prepared ahead of time and we know that our customers understand that top-quality food is worth the wait.
So if you’re looking for authentic BBQ and soul food in San Diego, we’d love to see you! And remember, you can order online to make your visit more convenient.