Soul food recipes making a strong comeback? Yes, and not only with African Americans but also with Whites, Latino and other races discovering the deep south inspired menus.
The recipes handed down from slavery, and one of the true American creations continues to make a roaring come back in popularity. “It stays with you longer than most foods,” commented a diner at a popular restaurant.
“If you eat a lunch of fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, black-eyed peas, candied yams, you’re full. Top that same meal off with peach cobbler for dessert, you’re still full at dinner”, chimed in another diner.
What has slowly brought back the popularity of this southern inspired fare? The updated cooking and preparation techniques. Long favored for it’s taste, but criticized for its health hazards, soul food cooking has taken on a healthier change. The change it’s going through continues to attract a larger crowd than before.
Gone are the lard, fatback and animal fat of the past in cooking and preparing soul dishes. Now cooks use peanut, olive oil and other healthier oils. Deep fat frying replaced with pan frying, steaming and baking. Salt replaced by natural herbs and spices. This all adds up to healthier recipe and menu choices.
For people watching their weight, this change continues to have a positive affect. They have more menu choices now than ever. They can enjoy some of their favorite southern dishes without cheating their diet goals with the new healthier menus.
The biggest concerns for adopting the healthy soul food change by leaving out the traditional high fat cooking ingredients? Was the taste left out also? But with natural herb seasoning such as garlic powder, tyme, basil, onion power, and other natural seasonings, the taste remains. The growing popularity of this southern cuisine proves the healthier changes have succeeded.
Because of the health based changes, soul food restaurants report an increase in business as healthier cooking improves. People, especially African Americans continue to have large amount of heart issues, high blood pressure and diabetes and obesity. That’s why more attention to the diet.
This is not your grandmothers soul food cooking. It’s much leaner, less oily and with less or even no salt. As the health concerns of people continue to grow, the health ingredients of recipes will grow as well.
Healthier menus will not only be a marketing slogan, but will reflect in the recipe ingredients, preparation and cooking techniques used. The cookbooks that will sell in the future will include healthy alternatives that don’t compromise taste and satisfaction.
The next frontier to conquer? Desserts, such as peach cobbler, sweet potato pie, sock-it-to me cake, 7-up cake, banana pudding and other favorites. The push is on to find ways to make them healthier too. Health conscious bakers will overcome this challenge like many soul food cooks have, but it will take time, determination and commitment.