These chefs were simultaneously culinary artists, family confidantes and civil rights advocates. The most important contribution aside from their food is that they gave our presidents a window on black life that they would not otherwise have had. Only a handful of presidents chose to open that window, but it was there nonetheless.
UNC Press has a long history on publishing outstanding work of African American history. In honor of African American History Month, we’d like to highlight some of the amazing new work being done in the field. Here are books on African American history, culture, and modern society that UNC Press has published over the past year.
Video: From his book “Soul Food,” author Adrian Miller reads a selection from the chapter on red drink.
Photos from Adrian Miller’s “Soul Food” launch party extravaganza at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library in Denver
The deep-fried delights, the rich repasts, and the sugary triumphs fall in line with the time-immemorial tendency to show off one’s best dishes to those outside one’s group. That celebration food is not meant to be the sum of the cuisine. Soul food has a strong tradition of making delectable dishes featuring vegetables and unprocessed ingredients. In fact, many of the celebrated and faddish “superfoods” that are good for your body—dark, leafy green vegetables and sweet potatoes, for example—have been soul food staples for centuries.